It’s the big day.
Christmas day 2017.
We’ve been on a journey, haven’t we. We’ve seen highs, lows, and a whole lot of Christmas clichés, but we’ve made it through, and here we are on the last day.
How has it been for you?
For the few among you who still somehow have no idea what I’m talking about, over advent, I have been sharing some of my favourite Christmas music. A mix of carols and pop songs, and old and new music, alongside reimagined classics, I have tried to share what Christmas has sounded like to me this year.
But now, without further ado, let’s look back over the last 7 days of Christmas.
Can’t Wait For Christmas – TobyMac
We’re starting off the week with some cheerful pop from TobyMac. Hearing this one a few days ago really put me in the mood for Christmas. Yes it’s kind of cheesy, but I am willing to overlook that because you can tell that this man genuinely loves this time of year.
This song is taken from his seasonal album (Light Of Christmas) which also features a song with Owl City, who you might remember featured on day 12 of our countdown. I genuinely never thought that I would be able to make a non-ironic list of music in 2017 that includes Owl City twice and, quite frankly, I’m delighted.
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – Ingrid Michaelson
You’ve definitely heard Ingrid Michaelson’s music, but you probably don’t realise it. She has some success with her indie acoustic music in the early noughties and you’ll definitely remember hearing Be OK or The way I Am on adverts on TV shows at the time.
Today’s song is a modern cover of the Irving Berlin’-written classic, I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm. Michaelson’s guitar brings some warmth to the classic song, as well as a simple, yet lively modernity.
This is a very, very sweet song about love. But let’s face it, the couple in the song are very clearly in the honeymoon stage. A few months and a few fights on, it’ll be something along the lines of “my love keeps me warm because it’s like being in hell”.
Sorry, I’m an old cynic at heart….
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve – Tori Roper
The first time I heard this song was when Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (take a moment to appreciate how posh those names sound) shared an adorable acoustic cover on Youtube in 2011.
Annoyingly, they didn’t record their version properly so, instead, I just Googled ‘what are you doing new years eve acoustic’ and this version from, up and coming singer, Tori Roper appeared.
While lacking the duet element of Joe and Zooey’s version, it retains the song’s vulnerability and openness. We can all relate to feeling out of someone’s league, but the singer here decided to go for it anyway and shoot their shot.
I’m almost certain that they were immediately shot down after posing this question to their crush, because that’s how life is. But this is still a lovely, lovely song. Enjoy Zooey and Joseph being cute below.
Carol Of The Bells – Libera
This is one of my favourite Christmas songs of all time. Last year, the a capella Pentatonix version featured on the list, but today I have decided to keep things slightly more traditional with a version from boys choir Libera.
It cannot be denied that this song is at least a little bit creepy, and the music video below which features the boys singing ominously in a forest does little to dispel that image.
Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful song about being excited for Christmas – something that I can definitely relate to today.
I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Michael Bublé
Try as you might, it is pretty much impossible to compile a list of Christmas music without somehow involving Micahel Bublé. This man has somehow positioned himself as the King of Christmas and his covers of classic Christmas songs have gone on to eclipse the originals in modern day popularity.
If you read the blogs on last year’s countdown, you may remember that I have a, shall we say, interesting relationship with Mr. Bublé. To cut a long story short: I don’t like him (or at least, I don’t want to like him). I should note that this is through no fault of his own, and in fact exists despite his immense talent and the beautiful music he makes that I begrudgingly enjoy.
One thing I can proudly hold against him is his ill-advised cover of Santa Baby (that basically amounted to a series of ‘no homo’s), which I imagine must have been intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but in my opinion, just turned out uncomfortable.
Regardless, I can’t argue with his catalogue of work, especially the Christmas stuff which truly is some stellar stuff. There is a reason why he is trotted out every year at Christmas time with his non-threatening good looks and almost aggresively smooth voice.
At this point I’ve run out of space to talk about today’s actual song, but rest assured that, much like the other Sinatra-esque covers in the crooner’s canon, it is a heartwarming treat for the ears.
Gloria – Josh Garrels
Our countdown started off with a song from Josh Garrels, so it is only fitting that he appears again toward the end to sandwich in our playlist. I hesitate to call this song a cover, as it sounds miles apart from the Gloria In Excelsis Deo hymn that we know, so let’s just say that today’s song was inspired by the centuries old song.
I enjoy the indie folk vibes and Garrels’ earnest vocals, as well as how the music builds into a joyous chorus of “gloria”s that sounds thoroughly modern but still echoes the same spirit of people singing the original hymn hundreds of years ago.
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
‘Twas the night before Christmas… I think I actually enjoy Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day. Anticipation is almost always better than the things itself.
Some of the more organised types will have their presents all wrapped up days, even weeks, before the big day, but I love wrapping gifts on Christmas eve, knowing that, in a few short hours when they’re opened, I’ll be able to see my family’s faces of delight, shock, horror, revulsion, and eventual acceptance. (You really don’t want to receive one of my gifts…)
Fittingly, I chose this iconic 80s jam for today’s song, but I have come to realise that this song has little or nothing to do with Christmas wrapping, but instead focuses on a woman who is unable to take hints as to when someone isn’t interested.
O Come All Ye Faithful – Pentatonix
It’s the big day. I LOVE Christmas! I really hope you have had a delightful day, wherever you and whatever you’ve been doing.
I contemplated putting a sombre song that contemplates the deep, intensely theological ideas, but today is a day for celebration. So instead, here is a lively gospel cover of Joy To The World from everyone’s favourite a capella group, Pentatonix.
So there we are. 25 days of music. i hope you guys have enjoyed it as much as I have.
My little brother has the misfortune of being born on December the 26th. So for him, Christmas is just a warm-up for his big day, but a warm-up that (let’s face it) will always eclipse his birthday.
To try and and combat this, my parents would always buy him a big present on his birthday. A huge remote-controlled car, or a bike or something large and ostentatious, so he would feel special.
One year in particular when he was very young, I remember he got something really big. Ironically, I can’t actually remember what that thing was, and I don’t think that he can either, because what he really enjoyed, what he really valued in that gift was the box.
He loved that box. I vaguely remember playing with him in it. We probably pretended it was a spaceship or something like that. And, as much fun as it was, we can’t escape the fact that he had wasted a wonderful gift.
I wonder if sometimes we can be like my little brother, getting caught up in the packaging of Christmas, but ignoring the amazing gift that’s right there.
Christmas isn’t about the presents, or the food, or the Christmas music (as much as that pains me to admit). It isn’t even about seemingly noble things like spending time with loved ones, or being kind to strangers, as great as those things are.
Christmas is about God loving us so much that he refused to be aloof and disconnected so came to earth as a human. Born in abject poverty, forced to seek asylum in a foreign country as a toddler, persecuted as an adult, and eventually killed, he most definitely experienced the lows of human life.
But this means that it can’t be denied that Jesus is for everyone. Young peasant couples raising a child born out of wedlock (Mary and Joseph), poor outcasts (the shepherds), rich, wise intellectuals (the Wise Men), even people who work in hospitality but aren’t very good at their jobs (the innkeeper). Everyone.
So when you think about it, Christmas is actually, dare I say it…
It’s about all of us. God thought we were worth coming to earth in poverty, scandal and shame, and ultimately worth dying for. So really, we’re the meaning of Christmas.
God thinks we’re worth knowing, so isn’t it mabe worth trying to get to know him?
So I implore you this Christmas. Have a think about all of this. Please feel free to message me, comment or whatever if you want to chat more.
But whatever you do, don’t just play with Christmas’ packaging. I can tell you from experience, the gift is so much better than the box.