An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Baby, it’s cold outside

This weekend we finally carved out several hours to set up Christmas decorations, and I am not at all exaggerating when I refer to that time in hours. I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to buy 25 boxes of round ornaments, or why I thought the tree would have enough branches to hold that many, but we hadn’t been hanging ornaments for thirty minutes before Leta announced she was bored. There were still 17 or 18 boxes of ornaments waiting patiently for a place on the tree, 17 or 18 boxes that I did not have the heart to send back up into that freezing attic space, and I suddenly remembered having this exact conversation with my own mother. I always got tired of helping her hang ornaments and would wander off to play with a box of Barbies, leaving her to do the bulk of the work. And since my mother was too generous to say what she was thinking, I went ahead told Leta what my mother should have said to me all those years: SUCK IT, KID.

You’re welcome, Mom.

We’d been watching episode after episode of Spongebob all morning, and as Jon twisted a section of the artificial tree into place (he’s allergic to real ones) he suggested I turn on some festive holiday music. And as I walked back to my computer to sift through our music collection I realized we don’t have much to choose from. In fact, in the years that Jon and I have been together we’ve purchased only one album of Christmas music, A Charlie Brown Christmas, which has to be the most depressing Christmas music of all time. If you weren’t on Prozac before you listened to that album, you’ll be begging your therapist for a prescription by song two. That little bald kid cannot catch a break, and the whole album sounds like someone just beat him up and stole his lunch money. If the album were a Christmas card it would say, “I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas despite my raging insecurities and social awkwardness.” Basically, a sentence out of my diary in college.

After doing a quick search on iTunes, I realized I had no idea what I was looking for. Because whatever we play during this season is going to form lasting memories for Leta. I can appreciate the classics by Nat King Cole and Dean Martin, but my most fond memories of Christmas are always to the soundtrack of a kooky Osmond Family holiday album, or Alvin and the Chipmunks. I want to find something as equally nutty because, come on. THIS HOLIDAY IS NUTTY. Think about it. We’re telling our four and five-year-olds that a fat man breaks into the house by sliding down the chimney. AND WE DON’T SHOOT HIM. We’re asking them to believe that deer can fly. Seriously. This is not much different than telling them that once a year millions of people across the world strip naked and hop into a bathtub full of mustard. Why? Because Christ was born!


The one album I did find that looked interesting is called Merry Mixmas, basically all the holiday classics remixed by DJ’s in a thoroughly modern way. It’s fantastic, very catchy, and I downloaded the entire album from iTunes within minutes. But nutty it is not.

So I’m looking for suggestions, even though the answer may be to stick with The Chipmunks. Do you know of a Christmas album we should not live without?

  • Anonymous

    Your child seriously needs to hear some chanukah songs along with all that yule log music.

  • Apart from Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas boxed set, which has been mentioned, and Mariah Carey’s “Merry Christmas,” which should go without saying, Rosie Thomas released a nice Christmas album this year (“A Very Rosie Christmas”). “Why Can’t It Be Christmastime All Year” is a great song, anyway, even if some of the rest of the album skews a bit morose.

  • I love love love Aimee Mann’s Christmas Album:

    It might be the perfect thing for when you want some holiday music that doesn’t scream HOLIDAY MUSIC at you. It was on repeat last year in my household. (And by the way if you ever have a chance to see her holiday variety show live, do it!)

  • Lissa

    Perhaps just select the types of songs you like on Pandora….FREE !


  • Jen

    The one nutty Christmas song from my childhood I can’t live without is “Six White Boomers” by Rolf Harris.

    Other than that, we were tortured annually with the Boney M Holiday album.

  • Lida

    I second the New Orleans Christmas music. I also like the Elf Soundtrack (Zooey Deschanel’s voice is amazing on “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”)

  • La Gitana

    You’re gonna think I’m CRAZY, but my favorite Christmas album is A Very Ally Christmas. It’s a Christmas album featuring a lot of the Ally McBeal cast. My favorite rendition of “River” is on that CD and it’s sung by Robert Downy Jr. I fully realize how wacky I sound, but this is really an interesting album.

  • Robert Allen Keen’s ‘Merry Christmas From the Family’ is pretty funny. Granted it is pretty country and ridiculous. But still, so very funny.

  • Raffi’s christmas CD. It is christmas music with a folksy style to it! It’s for kids, but I have to admit i love it along with my 2 year old. We bought this when I realized we didn’t have any christmas music either.

  • it’s not nutty, but over the rhine is an amazing band and I’m fairly positive that they have a christmas album or two. The lead singer, Karin, is amazing. I have one of their live albums, it has some christmas music on it, and I have never loved christmas tunes more than I do when I hear those songs.

  • Sufjan Steven’s Christmas album is beautiful

  • Corinne

    Dr. Demento’s Christmas album.

    It has “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”. Enough said.

  • Our family favs are the Carpenter’s Christmas Portrait and Rocky Mountain Christmas by John Denver. It’s just not Christmas without them.

  • Welcome to the hard, boring reality of Christmas decorating, Leta 🙂

    I am partial to Jingle Cats, but I’m pretty sure that’s no less annoying than Chipmunks.

  • “A Rat Pack Christmas” is fantastic!

  • Vanessa

    The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas album, of course. Like you have to ask!

  • Amanda

    I really love the mixes from Nettwerk Records–Maybe this Christmas, Maybe this Christmas Too and Maybe this Christmas Tree. They make me laugh (Ben Folds’ Bizarre Christmas Incident) and sing along (Barenaked Ladies & Sarah Maclaclan) and take pause (Rudy by the Be Good Tanyas).

  • Johnny Mathis and yes, dear dooce, the (sorry) Mormon (sorry) Tabernacle Choir! Bruce Cockburn’s album is not nutty, but it is indeed fantastic. Manhattan Transfer also has one that I dig.

    Oh, these probably aren’t what you’re looking for but they’re what I grew up listening to. I’m excited to see what your readers come up with!

  • Hotel Cafe – Winter Songs (GREAT!!!)

    Bird and the Bee – Carol of the Bells (it’s a single, not an album) but I got it from last year’s Starbucks christmas album

    Dean Martin – Baby it’s cold outside

    Martina McBride – O Holy Night. I’m not a country music fan, but I love her version of this song.

    Pick through Jewel’s Christmas music. Some of it sucks, but some is fun.

    Sarah McLachlan’s Winter Songs

    And all of the “A Very Special Christmas”. I like “Run Rudolph Run” by Sheryl Crow.

  • Jim Brickman has some holiday CD’s that are really nice. He is a composer and plays the piano and has a couple of songs with a few famous singers here and there. But its just nice enough to blend into the background or not to toy with your emotions. Happy Holidays!

  • Disney’s version of the Christmas classics, of course! What can be nuttier than Goofy, Minnie, Mickey and the rest of the gang singing Christmas songs? 🙂

    I always had fond memories of that album growing up.

  • I can’t live without Jim Brickman’s Peace holiday album. It’s piano and pretty mellow, but I can’t do Christmas without it. Good background music for everything holiday. 🙂

  • I swear, as I finished reading your post, Chipmunks floated out of my living room singing Sleighride, courtesy of the newly minted teen!

    Surreal. 3-D post.

  • Ciara

    I am no help at all as I have only recently been able to stomach Christmas music this year. Whatever satellite radio has to offer as far as seasonal music is concerned did help me decorate the tree over the weekend. I can’t wait to see pictures of Leta’s reaction on Christmas morning!

  • Laurence

    You want nutty? Get “Riders in the Sky Christmas The Cowboy Way”

  • Anonymous

    Maybe Stephen Colbert’s Xmas album?

  • Hollie (#2) stole my answer! He’s not really kooky though, unless being SUPER in love with Jesus is kooky. Which… ok. It’s kooky, but really, really good.

  • Kristen

    We always listened to the Holiday Sing Along with Mitch Miller. Nutty? I don’t remember it being so. Lame? Probably. You should probably just stick with the Chipmunks. Merry Christmas!

  • Kels

    Three suggestions: Sufjan Stevens Songs for Christmas, A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, and Christmas in Soulsville. Or I could make you a Christmas mix that would blow your mind.

  • Dan

    Monster Ballads X-Mas

  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas albums are a must. They are clever, they are catchy, and they rock. Great for kids and adults alike.

    Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas albums are the other one. Classic and beautiful.

  • I am obsessed with holiday music, and have a bunch of albums. And I really think the best are:

    * A Very Special Christmas – there are a lot of volumes, but I like the original the best. Plus, proceeds go to the Special Olympics!

    * Now That’s What I Call Christmas! Volumes 1 – 3. I kind of hate the NOW! albums, but the Christmas albums have a great mix of classic songs, nutty ones, and modern versions of classic songs. Volume 3 has “The Chipmunk Song” AND “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

    * Christmas with the Rat Pack. The classics at their best!

  • heather Boaz

    John Denver and the Muppets “A christmas together”
    oh yes.

  • I recommend any of the Ultra Lounge Christmas Cocktail CDs, or there is an awesome one called Martinis & Mistletoe, which is very funky.

    Otherwise just get one of those ones where all the songs are done by dogs barking… Leta will probably hate it, but thats the point right? 😀

  • Sufjan Stevens! You will LOVE it.

    I also love the classics: Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr, etc

  • Dari

    I grew up with the Carpenters Christmas Album and I still love it… also, this is kind of embarassing to admit but I love the Amy Grant Christmas album as well! Classics.

  • Erin M

    Muppets + John Denver = A Christmas Together. Super-fun!

  • here are three:

    john denver & the muppets
    kenny burrell “have yourself a soulful little christmas
    new orleans christmas by the putumayo world music people


  • Patty

    I love the Roches Christmas album, We Three Kings. It has a bunch of songs on it, so it seems to just go on and on. It also has just the right mix of nutty and reverent. But then, you might think it’s totally something you would hear in an elevator. I will always like the Roches because my high school music teacher, who I had a huge crush on, introduced them to me in 1978. Good times.

  • katliz

    I stopped buying Christmas CDs when started their annual holiday mixer channel. A good friend of mine programs it every year and he includes indie hits as well as Regis and Kathy Lee cheese. It’s priceless.

  • lizandboys

    Are you kidding me?? You don’t have a recording of this

    I love the album by Jim Nabors (sounds crazy, but he has a wonderful voice (

  • New Kids Christmas album, that’s what I always go with …HEY DONNIE!

  • Natalie

    John Denver and the Muppets.

    DO IT.

  • Victoria

    I’m partial to Raffi’s Christmas and John Denver and the Muppets. Miss Piggy singing Twelve Days of Christmas has to be the best ever!

  • Rebecca

    I don’t know what’s any kookier than Jingle Dogs. Such awesomeness!

  • If it’s nutty you seek, perhaps “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas“?

    As for me, I’ve been sticking with SIRIUS XM’s non-stop, commercial-free, holiday-music channels … although I did get so sick of the genre last night, I actually downloaded and played repeatedly a song by the rapper T.I. … which, if you knew me, would be about as random as if I had decided to suddenly shave all of my body hair.

  • I like BNL’s Bare Naked for the Holidays. It’s a bit nutty. I don’t think it is on iTunes though. It wasn’t last year, I had to go and actually buy the CD.

  • Marigoldie

    Despite his bizarre hair and violent ways, Phil Spector’s Christmas Album from 1963 always does it for me.

  • jaja

    BONEY M. I repeat, BONEY M. A staple of my childhood.

  • My husband is a big music nerd and he writes at for kids music he put up a list of some cool kids Christmas music.

    (the list does in fact include Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Muppets)

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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