Sometimes I think that my wife lives 11 months of the year, only to get to the finish line.
She absolutely lives for the days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
Hold up, people! I’m not goin’ all BAH HUMBUG on you, slamming the door in your face as I crawl back into the dark depths of my house in my crusty robe… maybe I just got sidetracked along the way.
I had a wonderful childhood, full of holiday memories and traditions.
I remember Thanksgiving dinner with my late Nana, Pop-Pop and Aunt Hazel. I remember the Pennsylvania Dutch recipes that we couldn’t live without and that Nana loved a nice Gibson Martini and Pop-Pop couldn’t live without his liverwurst pate. I remember playing ‘Chutes n’ Ladders’ with my cousins and robbing licorice from the glass jar in the dry sink while the adults imbibed and told stories. I remember the long drive home and how it was probably my parents dream that we slept in.
I remember piling into my dad’s work truck the next day, sitting in a row on the bench seat with my brothers, going to get our Christmas Tree from Kohler’s Farm. I remember watching my old man grunt and gripe a few days later while he dragged that ‘live tree’ (root ball and everything) up from the basement and fight us off at arms length as he tried to get it set in the tree stand. Here are my kids, decorating our own tree (sans root ball) yesterday…
I can still smell the cookies baking as me and my brothers decorated that tree, while my mom danced around in the kitchen to her favorite holiday classics. I remember driving around, looking at the neighbors lights…
I remember that specific Christmas morning when I came downstairs and saw a big red bow wrapped around my first BMX bike. I remember getting the Lego Space Station and Michael Jackson t-shirt. Aunt Hazel was always good for a pair of ‘gold toe socks’, a check for thirty dollars and a loving kiss on the cheek. My mom’s sister, Judy, and her husband Kevin always gave us the coolest gifts – something scientific or experimental. It was a beautiful time.
As I got older (my 20’s, don’t laugh), with no significant other, living in Los Angeles with no family of my own surrounding me, I started to lose faith in the season. I only focused on things like ‘am I gonna get a bonus this year?’ or ‘how much am I gonna owe in taxes?’ or ‘which paycheck am I going to use (which bills am I going to neglect) to buy my flight home?’
Life just seemed to get more and more complicated.
As I write this, in my ripe 37th year, I’m glad that my wife is here to keep my grounded, to remind me that life is short, precious and we need to live for the moment. I’m now reliving my childhood through my kid’s eyes and I’d by lying if I said that I didn’t ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.
That ‘childhood feeling’ is back and we’re creating our own traditions, conscious not to leave the old ones behind, but rather integrate them into the now.
That time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is special again and this Target Inner Circle: Party 101 Playlist is something that I can’t live without… hopefully it means something to you too…
- #10 – Chanukah Song, by Adam Sandler – This year it was the Thanksgivukkah song, which hasn’t happened since 1918 and won’t happen again until 2070! I didn’t start working with Adam until the 3rd version of this series of songs came out. I remember working late at night on the Sony Pictures lot in the Judy Garland Building while they were writing this down the hall… with him coming out of his office, into mine and saying ‘Is Houdini Jewish?’ and we all looked at each other like, huh? These songs are awesome.
- #9 – It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, by Michael Buble – We listened to this the first year it came out, all the way to Atlanta, my wife swooning in the navigator seat of the car. Buble has some sweet pipes.
- #8 – Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer, by Elmo & Patsy – As my wife swayed back and forth to the ‘boob-le’, I’d throw this on. A classic.
- #7 – Mele Kalikimaka, by Bing Crosby – I’ve watched ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ every December since I was a kid. I’ve already adjusted my will to have a copy thrown into the casket.
- #6 – Jingle Bell Rock, by Bobby Helms – Way before my time, this guy kills it. I’ve found myself singing this song at parties, with friends and in a field by myself looking up at the stars with a full cup of nog (let’s not talk about that).
- #5 – All I Want for Christmas, by Mariah Carey – My wife loves this song, so I keep driving to wherever we’re going, bouncing my head back and forth like an idiot, because — happy wife, happy life. Go ahead and argue with her, you may never see the holiday.
- #4 – Silent Night, by The Temptations – I remember my brothers and I pausing the destruction of one another because we heard this song blaring from the kitchen and subsequently witnessed our parents dancing… this was unusual, but we respected the moment. We didn’t hug or hold hands or anything, but it was a ‘Wonder Years’ moment and we knew it was special.
- #3 – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Kelly Clarkson – The raspy voice, the holiday vibe… how can you turn this down? Hey Kelly, you can come over and celebrate with us any year.
- #2 – Santa Claus is Coming to Town, by The Jackson 5 – I had the MJ t-shirt, I had his albums. THIS IS ALMOST #1.
- #1 – White Christmas, by Bing Crosby – This sums it all up…my alll-time favorite. Cheers! Happy New Year!
I can’t live without these songs and they contribute to making it My Kind of Holiday. Thanks to Target for inspiring me to share this list with you.