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Can I Interest You in Hanukkah Songs … that Aren’t Sung by Adam Sandler?

8 Dec

sharon jones 8 days1
Anyone who knows me knows there are few things I love more than Christmas music. I made Very Marty Xmas mixes for 10 years, and continue to maintain an “Ultimate” playlist version of the mix on Spotify that includes everyone from Mariah Carey to Andy Williams to Harry Connick, Jr. to Darlene Love singing festive tunes, and is updated all the time to include new tracks.

But here’s the rub: I’m Jewish. And one thing that bothers me every year is that, despite how much I enjoy the Christmas season and all the music, I wish Hanukkah was better represented. Unfortunately, while Jews have written many of the most beloved Christmas songs (it’s true!), we haven’t done a very good job of writing songs for our own holiday. So those Members of the Tribe who are looking for seasonal music are often stuck with Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah Song” — which was funny the first few times, but now, 13 years later, it’s just tired (not to mention totally outdated). Continue reading

This Is the Best Christmas Music Playlist of All Time

15 Dec
Photo credit: TSgt Suzanne M. Day/Creative Commons

Photo credit: TSgt Suzanne M. Day/Creative Commons

True story: If you want to know what the best Christmas music is, you should ask a Jewish person.

Why is that? Honestly, I really don’t know. Perhaps it has something to do with, as Sarah Spigelman Richter recently wrote on, a deep-seated sense of FOMO for “a culture that is in no way destined to be mine.” Feeling left out can be hard, so we appreciate the “Americanized, agnostic version of the Christmas season” that much more because it’s not really ours.

Or maybe that has nothing to do with it.

What I do know is that were it not for the Jews, we wouldn’t have some of the best Christmas songs of all time. “White Christmas,” anyone? “Silver Bells?” “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)?” Etc. Etc. All written by Jews. So clearly, we know our holiday tunes. Continue reading

The Ultimate “Very Marty” Holiday Spotify Playlist

4 Dec

My blog readers have landed on Santa Claus and Hanukkah Harry’s “Nice List” this year.

So as my present to you all, I’ve compiled what may be the ultimate “Very Marty Xmas” playlist, using Spotify.

That right: It’s three hours of some of my favorite holiday songs — I say “holiday,” because the playlist does include some Hanukkah and New Year’s songs too. (Screw you, Fox News.)

Nearly every track from my best-of compilation is here, as are a bunch from other years, plus a few tracks that never made it on to a mix in all my 10 years of making them.

Unfortunately, some tracks had to be excluded because they’re not on Spotify. Specifically, that includes what may be the best version of “O Holy Night” I’ve ever heard, the one Trombone Shorty did on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Oh well. I’ve embedded the video below because this wouldn’t really be an “ultimate” playlist without it.

(I also wish the Stephen Colbert/Jon Stewart duet “Can I Interest You in Hanukkah” was on Spotify, but maybe that was hoping for too much.)

So without further ado, here’s the mix. Hopefully you have a Spotify account so you can enjoy it. Continue reading

The 7 Things on My Holiday 2012 Wish List

19 Nov

Where does the time go?

Seriously. How is Thanksgiving already this week?

And of course, then there’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Then Hanukkah is a week and a half later, and not long after that is Christmas. And then before we know it, it’ll be New Year’s Eve.

Holy crap, the year is almost over.

But on a happier note (I think), the holiday season is now officially here.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or something else (Festivus, anyone?), it’s likely you’re going to be buying and receiving lots of gifts over the course of the next month.

I’ve been saving up to buy all kinds of things for my niece and nephews.

Yes, I have a list of things I want too, but it’s not exactly the kind of things you might expect. Here’s what’s on my Holiday 2012 Wish List …

Continue reading

10 Is Enough

30 Nov

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge fan of Thanksgiving.

Yes, I love me some turkey and gravy, a couple days off from work, time to see friends, maybe hang out in New York City and see a show, and just generally have fun.

But one of the best things about Thanksgiving is that when it’s over, that’s when the coast is clear to break out the holiday music and play those songs on repeat for a month straight.

That’s basically what I’ve done since Friday, and thankfully, I’ve amassed quite a collection so there’s a lot to listen to. Many of those songs have been included on my Very Marty Xmas mixes over the years. Continue reading

Happy Hanukkah, Greenberg’s Delicatessen!

24 Dec

On this, the day of Christmas Eve, allow me to wish all my non-Jewish readers a very merry Christmas.

My “gift” to you is this clip from Turner Classic Movies, which shows It’s a Wonderful Life as it was originally intended: As a Hanukkah story.

Enjoy, and ho ho ho!

What’s Your Favorite Part?

22 Dec

“I appreciate Hanukkah because it’s the only Jewish holiday that doesn’t encourage the ruthless consumption of gefilte fishes.”

Tell Your Friend Veronica

21 Dec

Hanukkah starts tonight at sundown, so to get you in the spirit, here’s Adam Sandler’s song. Oh boy! I hope I get a harmonica on this lovely, lovely Hanukkah.

What Fun It Is to Buy and Buy

23 Dec

Who says it’s hard to be a Jew on Christmas? The truth is, what fun it is. There’s no pressure to buy last minute gifts, no wrapping, no tree to trim, no big meals to prep … just a lot of festivity to take part in. To wit: I spent part of yesterday and some of today at the malls (Cambridgeside and Arsenal), braving the crowds and taking advantage of some great discounts at Old Navy and other stores. Parking was difficult, but for some reason I have a great deal of patience and skill when it comes to finding a spot, so it wasn’t impossible. I kept my bags close by so as to avoid any trouble. And when all was said and done, I spent about $100 on a ton of clothes and almost felt guilty for not buying more. Here’s one example of the folly of holiday shopping: Old Navy is selling boxer shorts 3 for $12. But if you buy them in a pre-selected gift box, three boxers are only $10.80. And it’s fun, when the salesperson asks if you want gift boxes, to tell her “No thanks. It’s all for me.” I even tried a gingerbread donut at Dunkin’ Donuts. Even more fun than all that is walking from store to store, listening to the holiday tunes. U2’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” in one place. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” in another. It’s a good time. How sad it is that just like that, on Wednesday it’ll all be over. So I’m of the school of thought that says you should enjoy the season and make the most of it while you can. Especially since Hanukkah, with its nine days and all, is long over. And my wardrobe is better off for it.

On the Ninth Day of Hanukkah …

18 Dec

Not sure how many of you folks missed the memo or something, but apparently, Hanukkah is now nine days long. Thanks, Bill-o.

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