I don’t know exactly when it was that I became such a fan of Christmas music, but 10 years ago I decided to create a mix of my favorite holiday tunes.
A friend of mine suggested I give it out to people as a sort-of Christmas card, and she even gave the mix the name A Very Marty Xmas.
The rest is history.
With the exception of 2008, I’ve made a mix every year for the past decade.
I say humbly that these compilations have become as much of a beloved holiday tradition as A Charlie Brown Christmas or the all-day A Christmas Story marathon on TBS.
And yes, I’m Jewish, which makes the whole thing even more fun. (Then again, so was Irving Berlin, and he wrote “White Christmas!”)
Which brings us to A Very Marty Xmas 2010, the special, extra-festive tenth-anniversary edition.
This year’s CD is one of my better efforts, if I do say so myself — and yes, I do say that every year.
But it’s true: I think the collection somehow gets better every year, and that’s an amazing feat considering that after all this time, you’d think I’d have exhausted all the good stuff. If you think that, you’re wrong.
All it takes is a browse through iTunes or the far reaches of the Interwebs to discover unheard riches that have yet to be included on one of my mixes, and that makes the compilation of each year’s mix unpredictable and a project I look forward to all year long.
Great discoveries on this year’s mix
For example, this year I found Trijntje Oosterhuis, a Dutch singer, whose cover of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” is one of my favorite tracks.
I also discovered a rare, unreleased recording of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performing “Merry Christmas, Baby” live in Asbury Park on December 17, 2000, and a nice cover of “Fairytale of New York” by Bob Schneider.
There are great holiday songs by Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Owl City, Lenka, and Straight No Chaser. New releases this year from Mariah Carey, Train, Indigo Girls, Lady Antebellum, and the cast of Glee are all represented. Harry Connick Jr. returns after a couple years off, the Jackson 5 make another appearance, and Big Al Carson with Lars Edegra bring the New Orleans sound.
The mix even includes a Hanukkah tune by Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, and a fun version of the Band Aid classic “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by a guy named Richard Cheese.
Talk about a diverse mix of music.
So alright, enough teasing. What exactly is the track listing for this year’s mix?
Here you go:
“I Wish It Was Christmas Today” — Julian Casablancas
“Shake Up Christmas” — Train
“Deck the Rooftop” — Cast of Glee
“I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” — Gretchen Wilson
“Fairytale of New York” — Bob Schneider
“All My Bells Are Ringing” — Lenka
“Step Into Christmas” — The Puppini Sisters
“Hey Santa!” — Straight No Chaser
“Oh Santa!” — Mariah Carey
“The Christmas Song” — Owl City
“It Really Is (A Wonderful Life)” — Indigo Girls
“Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects” — Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
“This Christmas” — Trijntje Oosterhuis
“Winter Wonderland” — Tony Bennett
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” — Harry Connick, Jr.
“Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” — Wilson Phillips
“Can I Interest You in Hanukkah?” — Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart
“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” — Sheryl Crow
“All I Want for Christmas Is You” — Lady Antebellum
“Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” — Big Al Carson with Lars Edegra
“Do They Know It’s Christmas” — Richard Cheese
“Someday at Christmas” — Jackson 5
“Merry Christmas, Baby” (live 12/17/2000) — Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
“Auld Lang Syne” — Pink Martini
And of course, there are also little sound clips peppered throughout.
In short, the 2010 edition of A Very Marty Xmas is nearly 80 minutes of fun from start to finish, and I think people will really enjoy listening to it.
Now that this year’s mix is done, I can start working on next year’s mix. I’ve already got half of it ready to go, and I’m sure I’ll find more than enough tracks to fill out the rest.
Are there another 10 editions of A Very Marty Xmas to come? Is Santa Claus real? (Yes.)
So stay tuned, Virginia. There’ll be another mix next year.
Till then … I’ve made 11 mixes (including my best-of mix). That’s nearly 15 hours of music, or enough to last all day long on Christmas Day if you have the complete set. It’s quite impressive, if you think about it.