Mall World: sidewalk

The Mall Santa is way over a hundred years old, despite the ‘A Christmas Story’/The Simpsons pilot/Billy Bob smearing you’ve recently seen. Check out 1947’s ‘A Miracle on 34th Street’ for heaven’s sake. But whether it was Colonel Jim or someone else, keep in mind the dressed-up fakir you sat on to snap a cry-your-eyes-out pic started as a Salvation Army recruit ringing a bell and begging alms for the poor outside the meccas of marketing.

Check out the bell-ringer folk ballad from Larry Nestor: “The Kettle.” This finger wagger should tweak your capitalistic conscience, but tends to fall flat. Proselytization should bring a little more impact.

A sad, tinny recording of the Yogi Yorgeson revisitation of “The Street Corner Santa Claus” barely does justice to the classic sentimental 1954 oompah novelty.

Merry Criminals! prison

Locked up for the long haul gets old. Days come, days go. Then Christmas is in there somewhere. No family. No festivities. Hmm.

The Professor Brothers get oddly falsetto bee bop calling out roll on who’s in a worse mood for “Prisoner Christmas.” Tone down that boo hoo in the refrain, guys.

Charlie & the Bhoys get lugubriously Celtic with “A Prisoners Christmas.” A little boy gets a lecture in how they endure Xmas in lock down. Political prisoners, actually. Tiocfaidh ár lá!

Showtime at The 4th Annual Joe Iconis Christmas Spectacular, December 18, 2011. “Prisoner’s Christmas Song” from Ray Munoz chains swamp blues to musical. A bit scary for all its silliness.

Bashing and crashing on the guitar Matt Roach offkey-rocks “The Inmates Holiday.” There will be orange violence.

Christmas in Prison” is the appropriate dirge to count the lost time to. John Prine has just the right gruff hoarseness to bring you way down from the merriment. The Boxmasters add a bit more life to it, though. Maybe a skoosh deadpan. My favorite cover of the Prine pining comes from Doug Legacy and the Legends of the West. Sad, yet a party.

Then i discovered this monster concept album Payday 2, A Merry Payday Christmas, the soundtrack to a videogame. Simon Viklund is the composer at Overkill/Starbreeze which developed ‘Payday 2.’ So he made this bad-ass musical about a caper and the resultant “Christmas in Prison.” Rock the prison blues, man.

Xmas Tech Support: email

A handy dandy means of communique since the 1970s (for some), the elctronic-mail didn’t quite bury the USPS but it has become the default unfiltered word vomit for our age. Whatever you think–there it is! (It’s replacement is in the works.)

Rosie O’Donnell’s “I’m Gonna Email Santa” actually was a cover (duet) of little Billy Gilman’s hit(?) from 2000, aka “” Gareth Pritchard adds the honky tonk.

More giggly silly children’s drek from some Broadway lyricist sung by 13-year-old Kara Oates (voice of Dora the Explorer), “S.A.N.T.A. Dot Com” is all show tune (piercing, man, piercing).

Even worse is the so-called precociousness of Treypac McKaughan, who at not-quite-three, squalls “I Wrote an Email to Santa Claus.” I hope he asked for ADHD treatment.

Son of Hog gets the snotty kid routine down with “I’ll Just Send an Email to Santa,” a bouncy beerhall twist of sarcasm we can all sing along to.

And a Party in a Pear Tree: coworker convivialty

Ahh, the office Christmas party… a fine tradition since –1945?? Certainly offices have been our lot since before Scrooge and Cratchit. And parties are a staple of the Roaring ’20s. But the idea of stiff, formal relationships unbuttoned for an evening revealing the inner reveler–that comes down hard for the returning WWII vets, the sudden money Mad Men.

What do we have to look forward to at such a spree?

Some songs carefully document the beginning, middle, and urrgh! Like Ray Stevens’s “Annual Office Christmas Party.” Our humorist counts out the hours: from hopeful (easy listening) to crazy (jazzy conga). Kick line!

Canned Hamm & Friends (Neil Hamburger) introduces the usual suspects at a carnival rouser, “Office Christmas Party.” It’s a comedy song and wants you to know it.

Lauren Robb’s “Office Christmas Party Song” partakes of parody (‘Santa Baby’) detailing the horrifying hookups, inappropriate jokes, overdrinking, and exhibitionism. Cutesy.

More upbeat parody from Goddammit Jeremiah wherein the “Office Christmas Party” sounds lovely, just lovely. Pop con gusto.

The complaint of the salary man finds salve “At the Office Christmas Party” by Supposably. Kicking alt rock swing and sway. He got it out of his system ’til next year.

After an impressive bass intro, Roseate makes social commentary about her “Office Christmas Party.” But it seems to be with love. Or it’s the alt-jazz bounciness that defuses. I’d go.

Let’s go back to 1949 with Yogi Yorgesson’s “Christmas Party.” This Swedish big band burner is sexist and dismissive of overdrinking, but that’s the fun of comedy!

And a Party in a Pear Tree: Grandma, Nick Kwas, Mrs. Miller

It’s not just any Christmas Party.

Professor Steve cracks corn with ‘grass folk at “Grandma’s Christmas Party.” The (sartorial) journey is the party.

For Mel Waiters “Xmas Party at Grandma’s House” is an important element in family strength. R+B shivering with the gospel power.

Nick Kwas Christmas Party” is an introspective depressive fever dream that really has no party parts whatsoever. But the alt-rock soldiers on. Try on your gift from Sorority Noise, but keep the receipt.

“Mrs. Miller’s Christmas Party” from Quarrel starts out slow. The polka punk rock, however, increases in tempo and aggro until we know ‘it’s the best party in the land.’ Glad i was there.

ReduXmas: Tree-mendous Holiday Fun

The holiday pine is pretty Christ-symbolic, but we still plonk these songs into the non-denominational bin. Everybody sing sing sing.

Piedmont Songbag a cappellas “Hunt Hunt Hunting” for their Christmas Tree. A manly chant for the whole family.

Bobs and Lolo give us the kidsong of finding and erecting with “Up Up Up.” Dramamine anyone?

The tree gives us a not-safe-for-children lament “Far From Home.” The Rockhogs (by way of Something Awful) weep out the Celtic folk with an occasional BLUE ALERT rock outburst. Memorable.

Much more fun, doo wopping from The Stompers “Stompin’ Round the Christmas Tree” puts the party in parturient.

Also hating, Norick Eve strums the folk out of “I Hate This Tree.” Melodic emo.

Kid pop from The String Beans syncopates their irk from “Upside Down Christmas Trees” they saw in some other country. What’s up with that?

Decorating time! Brian Kinder swings the kidtune “In the Back on the Bottom,” that kidcomplaint about where your homemade ornament went.

Gordy Pratt takes the “Oldest Decoration” POV with a tinkly bit of pop folk. Antique nostalgia to make you take a moment.

Ornaments are one thing, the lights are a nightmare. A nice Argentinian nod in Watkins & the Rapiers’s “Christmas Lights Untango.” Fun frustration.

Here come the instructions from Dr. Duke Tomatoe. Rocking up some jazzy ‘billy, “Turn on Your Christmas Tree” should do the job.

Let’s overdecorate. Yes, i include overall/house decorations with the tree’s biz, but The Therapy Sisters do mention trees in “The War of the Lights.” Down home musical fare, but in war nobody wins.

Closed Heart Surgery gets experimental DJ mashing up old easy listening with exuberant young rap. “I Hope Christmas Lights Burn Your House Down” is more concerned with the rhyme than the reason, but it pops. Shit just got BLUE ALERT.

ReduXmas: Naughty Word List

A natural response to the lovey-dovey songs from previous was to holler shit-piss-fartingdamn. So i scraped the bottom of the undies drawer for some mild profanity.

Trying too hard the Ozzie-styled tart Jenny Talia takes the piss with “I Wish You a Pissy Christmas.” Music hall, now with more sax.

Honorable mention to the comedy routine (not song) from Axis of Awesome, “Silent Night, Holy Shit!” It’s a ‘Cloverfield’-inspired song of noel-interruptus.

Also with less singing, Hunteroninski (BLUE ALERT) goes profane with the story of Christmas in “Shit, Shit, Shit.” They’re not exactly quoting scripture with their caroling.

The metaphor of terribleness gets the raspberry from Dr. Duke Tomatoe. Jazzing up the blues, “Christmas I Can’t Take It” subs in a phbllt! for every mention of the s-word. Cool, man.

The actual shit is addressed in Kristin Key’s “Rudolph, Don’t Go,” a delightful country cautionary about what to do before a long trip. Ha, she said ‘duty-free!’

Fa-la-la-latulence is harder to pin down, so Kevin Bloody Wilson to the rescue with “Grandad’s Finger,” jolly bluegrass about the miserable old cusses with their insipid practical jokes.

And here’s one more tasty morsel: Phil Olson’s “Grandma Cut the Christmas Cheese.” Polka time!

Take a Card: or not

The zen balance of cards you give and cards you get is zen.

So counting becomes a means of exacting justice.

Newby’s Diaries sadly, retro-pop-ly regrets. “I Don’t Expect Many Cards This Christmas” rolls out the punctured inflatable holiday yard art that won’t ever stand tall.

Or just “No Christmas Card,” the chant of children (actually Citizens of Nowhere) in electronica parang.

Watkins and the Rapiers sneak their message “Don’t Expect a Christmas Card from Me” in some serviceable polka. But, (while self righteous) remain vigilant–and hopeful!

Presents of Mine: shopping wherever else

Some specialized shopping destinations for Christmas herewith.

A scary pop song commercial for the UK TV channel Ideal World summons you to spend. Flexi-payments! “The One Stop Shop This Christmas” must not be listened to alone.

The Fallen Angel Choir yuk it up for a Walmart spree with their parody “Achy Breaky Shop.”

How about “Christmas at My Comic Shop”? Joe Quesada and the Idlechatters rock it for the geeks.

Jerry Darlek & The Buffalo Touch have a hint how to help the Christmas party: do your “Christmas Shopping Polka” at the liquor store. A personal message of sumfin er edder.