Trade your Christmas music up

It's inevitable. You will attend a party this holiday season and the music playlist will include some God-forsaken Christmas album that you will drive you up the wall. Main offenders (in my opinion) usually include Kenny G, Mannheim Steamroller or The Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Don't let your party get to this point! Instead of playing these worn out, tasteless choices, why not something interesting and fun?

I've never been a fan of Christmas/holiday music, not even a little. It's been a topic of loathing for me ever since I was old enough to develop opinions. I guess the whole "Christmas Creep" thing is a sore subject for everyone. Artists usually turn out a holiday-themed album as a secure entry into their cannon as a marketing ploy. After all, Christmas music sells at least once EVERY year, so why not? Right? Unfortunately, most of this music (also: movies) really REALLY stinks. So, why not trade that bad music in for something better?

For an incredibly thorough list, check out eMusic's Ultimate Guide to Holiday Music. But I'll list just a couple here:

For the traditionalist

Vince Guaraldi Trio, A Charlie Brown Christmas Elvis Presley, Elvis' Christmas Album (and subsequent reissues) A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector

Rock, R&B, Soul & Jazz Rockin' Little Christmas Joey Ramone, Christmas Spirit...In My House Stax Records, Christmas In Soulsville James Brown, James Brown's Funky Christmas Jimmy Smith, Christmas Cookin'

For the Classicist

J.S. Bach, Christmas Oratorio Benjamin Britten, A Ceremony of Carols Christmas With The Symphony Brass Of Chicago Ludwig Guttler Brass Ensemble, Christmas Brass Music

An Esoteric Christmas Various Artists, Badd Santa The Mexicali Brass, Christmas With The Mexicali Brass Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra, A Very Ping Pong Christmas: Funky Treats From Santa's Bag Andy Cirzan's Annual Holiday Mixtape (for a limited time!)

Let it Snow, Caroling in the Heights on 19th Street

Well, it's been a week since (what just may be) our annual snowfall here in Houston. Personally, I enjoyed the day and took some time off to walk around in the snow while it lasted. A good friend and I even got together that evening to play Christmas carols and some other tunes on 19th Street in the Heights for their annual "Holiday on 19th" celebration. We a blast playing for strangers in the holiday spirit and attracted quite a crowd of singers and dancers. Unfortunately, the overall turnout was a bit down from its usual commotion. I guess people didn't want to risk it out there on the roadways. Oh well, better safe than sorry, I suppose...

I hope everyone had a great time nevertheless, and a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas!