25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 21

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

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I will admit it:  I was never enjoyed watching “Frosty The Snowman”.  Quite frankly, the Scarecrow who needed a brain in “The Wizard Of Oz” had more sense to me than Frosty.  I never understood the whole “Happy Birthday” exclamation every time he came to life.  I guess I was spoiled.  The first snowman I saw on television was the wise, articulate and adorably handsome Sam from “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”.  He was so dapper with his hat, pocket watch, vest & umbrella.  He was like the animated version of another sage soul, Mr. French from “Family Affair”.

I also liked the song Sam sang much better over the one about Frosty.  Actually Sam sang three in the special:  the title song, Silver & Gold and today’s pick, which is my favorite.  In fact, it is in my top five list of Christmas songs and it is this song that I need to hear for it to officially feel like the holiday season to me.  Written by Johnny Marks in 1962 & made famous by the very cuddly Burl Ives in 1964, it is such an incredibly festive and happy song full of good wishes to everyone who hears it.  And I just love it.

Sam the Snowman

Burl Ives:  “Holly Jolly Christmas” (1964).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

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25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 20

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

I follow a lot of unbelievably talented & creative women on Instagram, and since their pictures are so beautiful, I wanted to share a few with you.

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Courtesy of Julie @ Little Farmstead 

If you like simple rustic farmhouse elegance, then you need to visit Julie’s Instagram page, @littlefarmstead.  Her neutral palette is punctuated with natural elements and lots of texture.  She also shares life on her farm with her beautiful family.  If all that were not enough, this year they added a few baby doll sheep to all the fun.  And yes, they are as adorable as they sound.  Visit her IG page to see them & the rest of her pretty pictures.  Thanks, Julie, for letting me share your picture!!!

Now to today’s song.

Remember when we were kids and we had to wait ALL YEAR to watch the Christmas specials-Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town and my all time favorite, A Charlie Brown Christmas?  Once a year was never enough for me.  I hummed the music all year long, danced the same dance as all the characters did when no one was looking and replayed the ice skating scene over and over again in my head in the middle of the summer when winter seemed years away.

Over the years I bought the corresponding book, the DVD and the music CD.  I probably watch the special on average once a month and I never tire of it.  When I am having a bad day and cannot adult another second more, I climb into bed, get under my covers and escape into that beautiful world of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and the rest of the gang.  And after 30 minutes in the safest most perfect world I have ever known, all becomes a little easier in the one I have to live in.  And I make no apologies for that.

Here is my favorite song from this heartfelt special along with a few covers that deserve honorable mentions.

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The Peanuts by way of the Vince Guaraldi Trio:  “Christmastime Is Here” (1965).

Anita Baker:  “Christmas Time Is Here” (2005).

Shawn Colvin:  “Christmastime Is Here” (1998).

Diana Krall:  “Christmastime Is Here” (2005).

Kenny Loggins:  “Christmastime Is Here” (1998).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 19

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

I follow a lot of unbelievably talented & creative women on Instagram, and since their pictures are so beautiful, I wanted to share a few with you.

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Courtesy of Christine @ Little Brags

Today’s picture is from Christine Vandormolen @littlebrags.  She calls her style “boho” but I just call it pretty.  I love how she uses natural elements to create her designs, and her simple. easy approach to decorating combined with her impeccable eye for detail makes for a great room, or porch, as is the case with the picture above.  Her IG page is filled with other pictures like this, and some of her cuddly little rabbit, too.  Thank you for letting me use your picture, Christine!!!

Now to today’s song.

If “White Christmas” is the premiere holiday song, the today’s pick has to be a solid second.  Written in 1945 by Mel Torme (lyrics & music) & Bob Wells (music) and recorded by a slew of performers over the last 60 years, but my favorite is by the man Frank Sinatra called “the best in the business” followed very closely by the most popular version of the song and the one by the songwriter himself.

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Anthony Dominick Benedetto a/k/a Tony Bennett:  “The Christmas Song” (1968).

Nat King Cole:  “The Christmas Song” (1961)

Mel Torme:  “The Christmas Song” (1954, 1961).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 18

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

I follow a lot of unbelievably talented & creative women on Instagram, and since their pictures are so beautiful, I wanted to share a few with you.

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Courtesy of Debra @vintagecrushin

Today’s picture comes from Debra @vintagecrushin who shares my affinity for white Ironstone among her many loves.  She creates such pretty vignettes in her home (like the one above) and is so creative she celebrated Thanksgiving in her garage which was decorated in classic vintage style (with an assist from her equally talented sister) complete with mismatched china, old silver and glass goblets.  All the pictures are up on her page for your enjoyment!!!  And my thanks to Debra for letting me share her beautiful picture!!!

Today’s song was a suggestion to me in 2016 by a reader (thank you, Michael!!!) and I have been addicted to it ever since.  It was written by Joni Mitchell in 1971 for her album “Blue” and quoted by Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly in “You’ve Got Mail” ( “It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees. Do you know that Joni Mitchell song? ‘I wish I had a river I could skate away on?’ It’s such a sad song, and not really about Christmas at all, but I was thinking about it tonight as I was decorating my Christmas tree and unwrapping funky ornaments made of Popsicle sticks, and missing my mother so much I almost couldn’t breathe”).  I do love a good pop culture reference  🙂

This song has been covered by such diverse artists as Sarah McLachlan, Barry Manilow, James Taylor and Sam Smith.  But this version is my absolute favorite and something this good needs to be shared.  And it is from of one of my favorite shows ever, Ally McBeal,  when this actor/singer/hottie played Attorney Larry Paul.

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Robert Downey Jr. & Calista Flockhart from “Ally McBeal” circa 2000 (original source unknown).  

Robert Downey Jr. “River” (2000)

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 17

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

I follow a lot of unbelievably talented & creative women on Instagram, and since their pictures are so beautiful, I wanted to share a few with you.

real simple pic.JPG Photo courtesy of Debi @realsimplestyle

This one is from Debi Cook Rosin @realsimplestyle.   It may be simple to use her description, but I love the rustic elegance of it.  It is true authentic farmhouse style, not the staged type you can buy at a store.  That look is fine if that is what you want, but I prefer the real thing.  And Debi’s style reflects it so beautifully.  Her IG feed is lovely, so if you like this type of decor, give her page a look.  And thank you, Debi, for letting me share your beautiful photo!!!

Today’s song is by another New Jersey legend.  This one did it all.  He sang, wrote songs, acted, was a Las Vegas showman and went on to become and remain an iconic figure in American pop culture.  One critic labeled him the greatest singer of the 20th century.  I imagine all that led to him becoming Chairman of the Board.

He co-wrote today’s song  with his longtime musical associate Hank Sanicola & Dok Stanford in 1957.  Francis Albert Sinatra, we lost you 20 years ago, but we still miss you.  Ti vogliamo bene.  Buon Natale.

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Frank Sinatra:  “Mistletoe and Holly” (1957).

The link above is to a live version showing Frank singing a shorter version of the song.  For the entire song, here is the full studio version.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 16

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

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Adorable shadow box DIY Christmas craft found on Pinterest (original source unknown). 

From the first time I heard “Mandy”, I was in entranced by this singer.  Then came “Weekend in New England”, “Trying To Get The Feeling Again”, “Could It Be Magic”, and a slew of others.  He also wrote the “American Bandstand” theme for Dick Clark.  He was the premier voice of pop music throughout the 70’s & 80’s.  Some call liking his music as a guilty pleasure, but I don’t.  I am a Fanilow and proud of it.  His take on this Christmas classic is fun, festive and has an old school swing sound.  It’s the grown-up version of the song we all sang as kids.  And I just adore it.

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Barry Manilow:  “Jingle Bells” (1990).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 15

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

day 15

Pretty Christmas decorative display found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

I love soap operas.  Love them.  Notice that I wrote in the present tense, despite the fact that I do not watch them anymore because nearly all my favorite ones were cancelled.  I watched General Hospital for decades but they lost me over the years, especially when Tony Geary (the iconic Luke Spencer) retired.  However, I must admit I find myself tuning into “The Bold & The Beautiful” if I remember it is on since Thorsten Kaye-All My Children’s beautifully delicious Zac Slater-is on it.  I still like the genre for the most part.  Some of the tried & true story lines like- who’s the real daddy of the baby despite what the first blood test results are because we all know so & so switched the DNA samples -should be retired.  But I digress.

I started watching the soaps with my mom when I was little, then when I was home sick from school or on summer vacation and later on when I could record them on my VCR.  Then I would marathon all five episodes on the weekend.  For today’s crowd, marathon was the original term for binge-watching.  I really believe I invented that.  But again, I digress.

My favorite soap of all time is Another World.  I adored that show.  Adored it.  It was cancelled nearly 20 years ago, and I still miss my friends from Bay City.  Every.  Single.  Day.  AW had some of the best (and most underrated) actors & writers in the business, and depicted true solid enduring friendships and love stories in a way that was both believable and touching.

I learned some captivating poetry when a few characters recited some of the best ones (“A Drinking Song” by William Butler Yates and “I Carry Your Heart With Me” by E.E. Cummings are just two the soap introduced me to).  One character-the extraordinary Charles Keating’s Carl Hutchins-in particular even quoted King Lear, among other Shakespeare plays.  And I discovered an absolutely astounding singer thanks to AW, too.

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In October 1995 a beloved character named Ryan Harrison was killed off.  He was the proverbial good guy-nice, romantic, worked as a cop, was adored by his fiance, loved by his family, etc.  The scenes of him saying goodbye to the great love of his life were hard enough, but watching the various people getting the news of his passing was unbearable.  It was done at the end of the episode in a montage of scenes.  But there was no dialogue.  Just music.  And singing.  One voice.  One song.  And it was exquisite.

It was written for a Broadway play, but it fit the scene like a glove.  I had never heard it before but from the first note I was enthralled.  And then I was sobbing, not only because of Ryan’s death, or the other actor’s mesmerizing performances, but because the lyrics  told such a beautiful heart breaking story.  I was so overwhelmed by emotion I actually stood up and applauded the actors, the singer and the genius who brought them both together.  Whoever the person was in charge of the music on AW deserved an award-or perhaps even the Nobel Peace prize-for bringing us such a stunning moment.

I do not know who that person was, but the song was “Once Upon A Dream” from the Broadway hit “Jekyll & Hyde”.  It was written by composer Frank Wildhorn and sung by his then wife, actress/singer Linda Eder.  To this day, I cannot hear that song without wanting to cry my eyes out.  And I can recognize Eder’s undeniably elegant & unbelievably beautiful voice the second I hear it.

Linda Eder

That is why when I heard today’s Christmas song I knew it was her.  She was a guest vocalist on a 1998 classical album by harpist Jung Kwak.  The music is gorgeous to match Eder’s voice and the lyrics exude wishes for the holiday season and always without being overly sentimental:

Let there be peace, let there be love
Listen to the silence, listen for the song

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Jung Kwak featuring Linda Eder:  “The Gift” (1998)

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!