Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 Days of Hipster Holiday Music: Day 1

Holiday music. Where do you even start? There is just so much of it. Which is a good thing, since if I hear that Christmas shoes song one more time, just one more time, I am going to set my radio on fire.  But holiday songs, when they don’t inspire acts of arson, are fun and carry feelings of being magical and special since they only come around once a year. I love that there are so many different arrangements and renditions of familiar hymns and songs. It all points to the old the saying that everyone marches to the beat of their own drum. The words can be the same, but the music can really make a song your own. There is no one right way to celebrate the holidays just like there isn’t just one way to sing a song.

Since today starts the countdown of the 12 days of Christmas, and since everyone knows that I love themes, I want to share 12 days of music*. I was going to write one big monster post, but I realized it would be too much all at once (for me and you) and the beauty of the individual songs might get lost.  So each day, along with regular posts about my super fun awesome life, I will post at least 2 of my favorite holiday tunes. One will likely be what that smug hipster on the subway with the huge headphones and skinny jeans is listening to, and the second will be a classic, what that hipster will probably refer to as “vintage.”

On the first day of Hipster Christmas my true love gave to me: Sufjan Stevens and Vince Guaraldi :

No hipster Christmas music list could really start with anyone other than the multi-instrumentalist, hard to describe with words, musical genius, is he wearing wings?,  Sufjan Stevens. 
His five volume Songs of Christmas, is my absolute favorite Christmas album.  It is filled with his beautiful arrangements of classic songs and hymns as well as some his own original holiday numbers. If you promise not tell anyone, I will admit that I listen to it all year along. My favorite song, out of all 42 of them, is the traditional hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". I love the simpleness of his version. It speaks so much to my simple little heart. And ok, I love the banjo too. I picked a live version to post because I love that you can hear the strain in Sufjan's voice, and that the audience is singing along.  

 A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of only two animated holiday specials that I will willingly watch on TV, the other is also going to be featured on this list, so hold your horses!
Every year I am thankful that those in charge haven’t changed a single thing about this beloved special. They haven’t redone or touched up the animation or added celebrity voices,  they haven’t made it live action or in 3D, and they haven’t changed the soundtrack. I love the nostalgic smooth jazz numbers of Vince Guaraldi that bring to life the world of our little friends with their pink Christmas trees and security blankets.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Sufjan Stevens
Songs for Christmas (2 free downloads from the album)

Christmas Time is Here
Vince Guaraldi Trio
A Charlie Brown Christmas

*I haven't completely decided how holidays (plural) this 12 days is going to be (ie Only Christmas music or + others?)


  1. Oooh, I stumbled on Sufjan the other day and I'm already in love! This was one of my faves. Well chosen! (And while I am not a Peanuts fan, the music, I must admit, is pretty fabulous.)

  2. I would like to tell you that I also hate the Christmas shoes song. Bleh.

  3. Does it mean I'm super out of touch to not know what the Christmas shoes song is? I'm thinking I've probably heard it before but don't associate it with the title.

    I also wanted to know, and again maybe showing my out-of-touchness, what qualifies as "hipster" music? Certain bands, certain sounds, certain instruments, combination of all those?

  4. Oh, Jenn, you are cool. Not everyone can pull off the Tipton Tap. (still one of my favorite stories/memories ever)

    A hipster is someone who smugly believes that they are above the mainstream when it comes to all things cultural whether its music, books, politics, fashion, etc. However, most of the hipster mainstays are retro, the thick rimmed Buddy Holly glasses, vinyl record collecting, all the vintage clothing. It’s pretty ironic. And so are they. Sometimes I find myself falling into a lot of this stuff, but then I get over myself.
    (I choose to call my music countdown hipster to just signify that these are songs that you probably won’t hear on the radio. And to over use the word hipster, since hipsters hate being called hipsters. One more time, hipsters.)

  5. Oh man, the Tipton tap. I haven't thought of that in years. Melia just reminded me of the egg story a few days ago. My newest adventure in drooling reminded her of my old fun adventures. What great times we all had.

    Oh, I think I know some people who are hipsters. They kind of annoy me so I hope you aren't a hipster. They are ok for a short time but after a while I get tired of hearing how cool they are and how amazing all their stuff is.