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I write novels, eat dark chocolate, raise three children, love my husband, scrub toilets, ignore the laundry, and love a good story, but hardly ever in that order.



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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tinsel Tunes

Sleigh bells ring. Are you listening? Well, of course you are not because all you can hear is janky Christmas music blaring out the radio, the mall sound system, and the tinny speakers in elevators. Sleigh bells can't possibly compete.

So can we talk a bit about some GOOD Christmas music? It does exist, and is only slightly more difficult to find than delicious fruitcake. First, I mention again, Sara Groves. No, I am not her personal stalker, though I did make a complete buffoon of myself when we met. I always mean to play it super cool when I meet people I admire, and then I turn into Crazy Yipping Woman who needs to never meet celebrities. This is a recurring theme in my life. See here and here and here.

So Sara. I can call her that, right? Since we're besties? Sara has the best Christmas album ever, no contest. Don't argue. It's my blog.
Secondly, I am not a hipster, but I can pretend and when I'm pretending, I make up a little martini and float some cranberries and listen to this.
Then one of my children asks for a sip or turns off She & Him and changes the music to A Muppets Christmas and the moment is over.

Also, I am enjoying some tracks on this:

Maybe you're thinking I just bought this CD because I knew Sara Groves had been one of the organizers and that she loves International Justice Mission and that I hoped maybe she'd stop by for coffee someday and I'd just happen to be listening to this and we'd totally be ON. THE. SAME. PAGE. If you thought that, you'd be correct. But there are other songs on here that are great too, like Jamie Grace's Away in a Manger. So see? I'm really super stable.

Also, Marc would like to plug this:
I love my husband and my husband loves Neil Diamond. I have a little fear about ND, but I do admire a man who can dye his hair this long and get away with it. Plus he dresses a lot like Marc, which means I owe him a certain amount of loyalty.
(I must point out that Marc received Neil's CD as a gift from his staff this year. He did not, I repeat, did not know he would be wearing Neil's outfit. Be afraid.)

Go, then, and stop listening to Karen Carpenter use fake words like "Christmasing."And please report back on what you find. I can handle Neil for only so long.


  1. The outfit matching is too funny. And the fact that Marc let you take his picture is even funnier.

    I will check out your Christmas selections. I have a few favorites. One being Martina McBride's Christmas CD because that girl can sing. I mean really sing.

    I also enjoy the stations of Bare Naked Ladies Christmas Pandora Station as well as Lady Antebellum Christmas Pandora Station. Of course, that means you have to listen to country. Do you?

  2. Marc is the best sport ever. I love Third Day's "Oh Holy Night" more than one should love a Christmas song, I think. But my favorite Christmas album of all time is an instrumental (called, simply, Christmas) by Synergy Brass Quintet. My son toured with them for three years and plays on this album but I LOvE it it not for that reason (or that it was mastered in my dining room over a week in November of 2008) but because it is truly spectacular, with a great mix of both secular and sacred tunes played and produced to the highest standards. (Jesse doesn't profit from it in the least.) And until you've heard Silent Night as a tuba solo with harp accompaniment, my friend, you haven't lived. :)

  3. The fact that the matching Neil Diamond outfit was not planned made my morning. Really funny.

    Ditto to ML's comment above about the BNL and Lady Antebellum pandora stations. Have had the BNL station for a couple of years (per KTow's suggestion) and Lady Antebellum was new this year via suggestion of brilliant friend who commented above. Have been listening to Lady A more than the BNL this year. Highly recommend! We have an Avalon Holiday pandora station, too, because we love their C'mas album.

  4. J- Great suggestions. And no, I have not heard a tuba/harp combo for Silent Night. I have a feeling it's a little more nuanced than Neil Diamond.

    Also, isn't Neil Diamond Jewish? My Jewish uncle doesn't MIND if I sing "Hava Nagila," but I think he'd prefer I stick with "Joy to the World." And I let him make the potato latkes.

    Of course, I can't talk like that around here. ONE of us likes Neil so much, we happen to dress like him.

    ML: Adding Lady Antebellum right now. Thanks for the tip. Maybe I can edge out "Sweet Caroline, Christmas Remix."

  5. Ha! I don't know about Neil Diamond, but I listened to a NPR interview with Barry Manilow the other day. He has a new Christmas CD out - I think they said his third one! He said, yes, he's Jewish, but loves Christmas music (mostly secular, I think) and likes any way he can sing older Burl Ives or Sinatra-type stuff over currently written music, like a completely new album might be.

    (And, yeah, I have loads of Christmas music - which I LOVE - yet have found myself listening mostly to NPR these days. I'm super cool.)

  6. When I was 13 and so impressionable and world-weary, standing in the aisle of a large jet trying to rest my flattened and then tiny way pre-4 kids backside, I felt my brother try to pull my arm out of its socket as he jerked me towards the back of the plane. Now I love a full-flavored run-on sentence but wasn't that fond of my brother in the moment as he had recently grown an inch and along with that bossy. It's Neil DIAMOND! he whispered. Unimpressed as only recently teenaged girls can be, I shook Neil's hand and he confided that he preferred flying coach because the people were so real. I didn't know what he meant at all and likely said something stupid and embarrassed my brother who was worshipping...we were on our way back to the Philippines as my parents were missionaries there. I was married before I found out who Neil was ::) I just read a book of yours and finally had to put it down because my eyes had dried out from barely even blinking and you must keep writing! May God bless, encourage and warm you along with keeping chocolate from having any negative impact on your body. He has that kind of power.

    1. Leah,
      Thank you for the most powerful of blessings.
      And your story of Neil will make my husband pitifully jealous. Does your brother still worship?
      Also, your compliment about my book is perhaps my favorite ever. A no-blink reading experience? Absolutely awesome.

  7. Ok I am passionate about this and MUST comment.
    Also, I'm passionate about Sara Grove's and her Christmas album is brilliant. Who knew that the lyrics to It Came Upon A Midnight Clear were so devastatingly beautiful? And Toy Packaging? Fabulous.
    I adore Christmas music. Your She and Him suggestion may have just kept my marriage in tact for the month of December. Brian and I don't exactly agree on music. Besides our tacit agreement that he won't play KidA and I'll lay off the George Winston we have a playlist called "Yes We Can." On that list is Mr. M Ward. So the She and Him ... a tonic for my marriage. I am grateful.
    Some of my favorites ...
    Nicole C. Mullen's album Christmas in Black and White has a song called Sacred Night. A take on Away in A Manger that will have you salsa dancing in your kitchen.
    Chris Tomlin's Glory in the Highest album is good, but the gem is a little song by Audrey Assad called Winter Snow.
    Hillsong's We Have a Savior gets the worship on (especially when the kids have changed the ONLY thing they want for Christmas. again). My favorite on the album is Our King Has Come.
    Oh, and Jars of Clay's Christmas Songs will help the hipster vibe continue. Hibernation Day is a pretty cute track from that album.
    Happy caroling!

  8. Rachel!
    You are fantastic! Thanks for the great recs and for giving me specific songs. I do know the Audrey Assad song and think it is sublime.
    Merry, merry Christmas to you and your brood. I'm so pleased to have helped preserve your marriage for another month.