Been trying to catch the Christmas wave, but it's not that easy in Hawaii. (Well, some waves are, and we've been having some BIG ones.) The commercial shopping stuff fails to light my candle, there are no strong seasonal weather cues, except maybe the big waves...so I turn to music.
Amazon just delivered Bob Dylan's Christmas album to my mailbox, so fast, the appearance of which I predicted (like John the Baptist predicting the Messiah) many years ago...just wait, I said, someday he's gonna...and he did. I think it fits in the baby-boomer nostalgia spectrum somewhere around Polar Express. (If I wasn't deep in a TVB drama, I might watch that movie tonight. I'll save it for Christmas Eve.)
But back to Dylan, hearing all these old classics by someone whose acid laryngytis is even worse than my own is kind of heartwarming. Sometimes he seems to be channeling (some might say ripping off) Leon Redbone. (Really though, who did what first anyway?) And the packaging of the album (a charity fundraiser) has some funny surprises. Front image, a kind of Classic Coke-style/Currier and Ives Christmas sleigh ride; back image, three camels (loving it); and inside...a Christmas pinup of Bettie Page (red-bordered silk stockings, a Victoria's Secret image of the '50s)! The album cover pretty much covers everything Christmas.
I put it on the CD player, along with a new Verve jazz Christmas collection, and Vol. Three of Christmas Cocktails (included in the Amazon shipment, shipping three for the price of one, please do not tell me I should have downloaded them). And pulling from the library, our very favorite favorite, Aaron Neville's Soulful Christmas (someone once said to me at a party I was spinning music for, "That's not Christmas music!"). And our second favorite favorite, The Christmas Collection, with a whole lot of versions of The Christmas Song, with deep-throaty jazz saxophones and Hammond organs with Leslie speakers, the kind of music you would hear at 3 a.m. in a really sleazy bar on Christmas Eve/Morning.
Maybe all this music--five albums I might just keep in the CD changer through Epiphany, despite a collection which includes everything from Gregorian chant to medieval Hungarian carols, Handel to Bing Crosby, and every Windham Hell Solstice album ever issued--with a glassbottle of my favorite cheap cabernet, will get me in the mood. And tomorrow we search for a pre-sacrificed Oregon Noble Fir. It seems like a chore, but then, so does every ritual until you accomplish it.
So, Bob Dylan singing Little Drummer Boy, how bizarre and lovely, starts the holiday, and will see me through it. My only quandary will be when it's all over...do I shelve the Dylan CD with the other Zimmie stuff or store it with the Christmas albums? It doesn't really matter: it'll be available anytime on three iPods and my laptop. It will be a delight to hear Christmas Blues turn up in a shuffle.
6 years ago