Archive | Very Marty Xmas RSS feed for this section

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

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

It Wouldn’t Be the Holidays Without Her

23 Dec

A few years back, I got into a discussion with a friend when I told her how much I love Christmas.

“No,” she clarified. “You love the Christmas season. You don’t have to deal with the family and the religious stuff.”

She was right about all of that. I’m a huge fan of the season, with the pagentry and the lights and the deals and the happier mood and the lighter workload and the food and the celebrations and the traditions and yes, the music.

Oh, how I love the music of the Christmas season. Continue reading

A Very Special Xmas for Me

16 Dec

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. Continue reading

Step Back Into Christmas with Me

16 Nov

This really is the most wonderful time of the year. In fact, every year I can’t wait to get past Halloween because that means one thing: It’s time to start work on the year’s edition of A Very Marty Xmas. 2010 will actually be the 10th anniversary edition of my annual mix. That’s right, I’ve been making holiday mixes for 10 years (that is, if you don’t count 2008, which I skipped), and many folks have told me my mixes have become an essential part of their holiday. That’s pretty amusing — and impressive — considering I’m Jewish and all.

Anyway … I’m now waist-deep in the compilation of this year’s mix. I’ve been scouring the Interwebs and iTunes, and it’s amazing to me that even after all this time, there’s still plenty of good stuff to be found. I think this year’s mix is going to be another winner — it had better be, given how good last year’s mix was.

You’re probably gonna hear Train’s new song, something off Mariah Carey’s new Christmas album, another cut from Straight No Chaser, and others. I spent a good chunk of the past weekend listening through a few new albums to see what I could pick out. The Puppini Sisters earned a spot, as did Pink Martini, and so did the cast of Glee, albeit it just barely. Yes, the Glee Christmas album isn’t all I’d hoped it’d be. It’s an overly serious and not very fun collection. The best track, “Last Christmas,” was already on last year’s mix.

But I’ve found some other good stuff, like a track by a singer named Lenka and a cover of “Fairytale of New York” by a guy named Bob Schneider. I may throw in Neil Diamond’s version of Adam Sandler’s “Chanukkah Song,” and pair it with a Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert duet called “Can I Interest You In Hannukah?” Right now, Gretchen Wilson’s “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” is on the list, but it’s early in the process. Who knows if she’s got staying power. Maybe I’ll bring back a song by Harry Connick Jr. after a few years’ absence. Maybe this will be the year that Dido’s “Christmas Day” makes it onto the mix after many years of near misses. And maybe I still haven’t even found that instant classic I’ve never heard before. Even after 10 years, I’m blown away by the amount of music I have to choose from.

Point is, it’s the most wonderful time of the year right now because I’m immersing myself in these awesome, fun tunes and I’m enjoying the process of narrowing down the list to only the best songs I can find. The goal is to have the mix locked down or near-final by the time Thanksgiving rolls around so I can crank out the mixes and get ’em into people’s hands by mid December. Tough decisions will be made between now and then, but in the end, it’ll all be worth it.

Got any recommendations or songs you hope will make the cut this year? Let me know.

A Very Marty Xmas 2009
The Best of A Very Marty Xmas
A Very Marty Xmas 2007
A Very Marty Xmas 2006
A Very Marty Xmas 2005

An Xmas You’ll Always Remember

11 Dec

Here’s something you may not know about me: I absolutely love Christmas music.


There’s just something about it that I can’t get enough of.

The jingle-jangley tuneage permeates the malls and dominates the radio waves from Thanksgiving to December 25, and it just makes me feel so festive — and yes, I’m Jewish!

To spread that joy, I’ve been making a mix of holiday music every year since 2000, and those who’ve been listening have told me that A Very Marty Xmas just makes the holiday for them.

They say it’s as much a tradition to listen to my mixes as it is to trim the tree or party down or bake cookies (no kidding) — which, of course, is partly why I’ve kept this fun annual project going for almost a decade, and why I’ve amassed a collection of Christmas music that’s larger than any Jew should have. Continue reading