Michael and I are in a hotel in Wichita, Kansas prepping for family Christmas festivities, so I thought I’d use this Musical Me moment to think about some of the Christmas albums that I have listened to over the years. But as I started to write the list, I realized it’s brief – my family has never been all that into purchasing albums of any type. We grew up frugally, and while I’ve never talked about it with the rest of them I know that I have personally thought about the seasonal nature of Christmas albums and their limited value outside of a four week annual window. While frugality has nothing to do with my and Michael’s spending habits, in our 15+ years together we have never purchased a Christmas album.
But I have come up with three:
- My sisters and I were of the societal moment that greatly appreciated the first boy band after the Beatles – New Kids on the Block. While I more or less pretended not to notice, the middle child especially was crazy for them, and brought their Christmas album into our house and into the family vehicles.
- There was a woman named Julia Rahpour (sp?) who was a wonderful vocal talent and member of the church I grew up in – she released a Christmas album that we still dust off some years.
- My sister (the same one who brought us NKOTB) was in a selective ensemble at the high school we both attended, and that group recorded a Christmas CD funded by one of the parents. The group was called The Madrigals.
No Barbra. No Mariah Carey. No Time-Warner special compilations. Just one pop sensation that did not stand the test of time and two personal connections.
Growing up, we made most of our Christmas music ourselves, in church performances throughout the season, and these days I seem to get enough via Muzak (and, new this year, my own squeaky rendition of Oh Holy Night!). As we head over to my parents’ house this morning and my grandmother’s this afternoon, we’ll see what music is in the air. I know that regardless of the ambient tunes, Big Family Cacophony will reign; for me, that’s the most recognizable and welcome soundtrack of Christmas.
Merry Christmas, and thanks for reading.