Monday, 20 December 2010

The Season to Be Jolly

Seeing as how Christmas is coming up quickly, I thought I spend this post talking a little bit about just that. Obviously, it is a Christian tradition that has long since also been appropriated as a secular holiday (Santas and Elves often playing a more prominent public part than baby Jesus), and even as such it comes with traditions, both communal and personal.

Obviously, here in Sweden, the big celebration takes place on Christmas Eve (unlike the more Christmas Day-centred celebrations elsewhere). On this day, Swedes meet up, eat good food (usually a smorgasbord of ham, meatballs, sausages, herring, salmon, cheese, and whatnot, although this pescetarian needless to say stays clear of the first three) and get a visit from Santa, who delivers presents (not in socks, but in person).

One of my own (fairly recent, but nevertheless strong) personal traditions is to watch Tim Burton and Henry Selick's wonderful animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas on the day of Christmas Eve (i.e. before meeting up for the family get-together). For some reason, it simply wouldn't seem like Christmas without Jack Skellington's wonderful lament.

Music is, of course, also an important part of setting the mood. This year, I have made a playlist over at Spotify, entitled JJ's Xmas Playlist. It includes cornerstone tracks like "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues, the above-cited track from The Nightmare Before Christmas and some classical Christmas songs like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" in different interpretations. Feel free to check it out and enjoy it from beginning to end!

Unfortunately the Spotify playlist does not include a track I always put on every Christmas Eve (much like The Nightmare Before Christmas), simply because it is not available at Spotify. The song in question is "For Christ's Sake", i.e. IQ's instrumental version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (available on the CD Seven Stories into 98). For those of you not lucky enough to have the currently out-of-print CD, you can always listen to the song here.

Anyway, it's a busy season, and I won't keep you all.

Merry Xmas & a Happy New Year!

I'll see you in 2011.

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