Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas OCD, Conundrums, And That Ruddy Music

Our living room is filled to brimming with cardboard boxes; some are empty, some are set aside for unknown purposes, and some are filled with empty boxes, which are then set aside for further unknown purposes.
I have always been proud of my talent of packing boxes/grocery sacks. It's a useful life skill, and something college can't teach you.

Yes, Christmas has descended upon Fusspot Farm.

We've been pottering about with the decorations since last month (who cares if we're only four days into December, it was still last month, dag nabbit!), but we're getting there. It's quite a lot of work for just a month (since, come midnight on December 26th, I switch off the Christmas radio, exchange it for some Jim Morrison, and start pulling out those wretched cardboard boxes to pack all this festivity up for another three hundred thirty-five days [it's the one day I'll voluntarily get up early, come to think of it]), yet I take the task of putting up the tree and wrapping the gifties very seriously. As in, 'do you REALLY want to move that red ornament? Well, do ya, PUNK?!', or 'no, we put tags on the back of the present, so as to look better for the entire sodding month it's taking up floorspace'.
That's right, kiddies, it's Holiday OCD!
Of course, if the person that made this actually had OCD, they would not have omitted two commas; nor would they have capitalized the first letter of each word inside the sentence, as it isn't proper.

So what if I line all of the ornaments up by color and shape?
It makes decorating easier! Cross me heart and hope to fly!

Overall, I think the tree turned out very nicely this year.
Even if it is short on tinsel, in my opinion.
This tree needs more tinsel.

Overall, it took about six hours to complete; but it was incredibly fun!
Now, once the tinsel box has been completely emptied, that's when the real fun begins for me.
I have this thing about wrapping presents. I mean, it's really something I look forward to, and Christmas is the gift wrapping mecca. Sure, there's the occasional birthday to wrap for, but nothing compares to Christmas. It's gotten so bad that I'll even wrap my own presents, as long as they're properly covered (don't want to ruin any surprises, doncha know). I can usually wrap about six presents before my back gives out, so this task takes about a week, but I really, really dig it; it's my favorite thing to do at the holidays. Cooking? Can do all year. Baking? Most Mondays during the year (I participate in Meat Free Monday by making us a lovely TVP-laden dinner, and making some kind of dessert). Caroling? Pfffffft. Wrapping gifts? VEGAS JACKPOT!
From making out the tags...

To the giant box of bows...
Oooooo... shiny!

It somehow just makes my season brighter.
Yeah, ho, ho, ho, a'ready.

I have this thing about using "scraps". I take very good care of them, just in case there's a small gift, or one that needs to be patched together with a seam (you know, where you cut the paper just a little too short). This is my scrap bag.
I get excited to see this every year. I spent fifteen minutes alone just looking through my inventory this afternoon.

Of course, I don't understand why I have some of the things I've got in that scrap bag...
We haven't had this paper in years, but I'm positive I'll use it somewhere... just give it time, Grasshopper.

I hit my six gift limit this evening, but I'm quite optimistic about tomorrow's endeavors. Let's be honest, I'm excited just thinking about it.
You have your holiday hobbies, I've got mine; and, though I complain about the Christmas/holiday season, I enjoy the OCD-ness of it all. It's kind of like this...

Reginald Kitty can attest to this fact. He is also not amused.

Now, with the decorating, and the wrapping, we also get the music.

Perhaps you'll remember from last year that I have great issues with Christmas music.
The "best" station for such evil... I mean, music, is our local Mix station. During the rest of the year, they play old, new, and annoying; but now, it's HOLIDAY EDITION. That being said, they play what has to be the most aggravating Christmas songs known to man. And they play them over, and over, and over. You will hear the same song, by the same artist, several times a day. You'll hear the same song by different artists several times a day, too, never fear.
Being that they play older music mixed in with the newer drivel, I'm often surprised not by what they do play, but, rather, what they don't.
No Partridge Family, no New Kids On The Block, very little Carpenters, incredibly little Gene Autry, limited crooners (Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, et al), a single Chipmunks number out of at least three Christmas albums, and that's just what I can think of right off the top of my noggin.
This holiday music season is even starting to wear on my sister.
I got this one-line email from her yesterday afternoon :

Subject : Ahhhh!
From : Seester
To : Archibald Heatherington Nastyface

Vince guaraldi trio wins the award for the most annoying version of little drummer boy

To which I responded :

Taylor Swift wins the award for worst cover of Wham!'s "Last Christmas".

Do they have a problem playing Taylor Swift?
Does the radio station have a problem playing decent Christmas music?
Now, admittedly, I hadn't heard the lass sing before. Girl singers give me the creeps for many unknown reasons (excluding Cass Elliot and Karen Carpenter), so I usually shy away from them with holy water and crucifix in hand. When one unexpectedly comes across the radio, though, there isn't much you can do about it.
So, when I heard the abomination described in that email, it got me to thinking of even the modern stuff they don't play, in place of the rubbish they do.
So, here's a sound for sore ears; here's to hoping they give this more airplay in future.

Yes, I chose a live version over the studio cut. I am of the opinion that Tom Higgenson's voice sounds better with acoustic accompaniment, rather than electric. I have studied this subject objectively, and come to this conclusion after much research.

Since it's past Thanksgiving, it's time to strike up the Turret Full Of Ravens Christmas Tradition! You know, the one you were hoping I would forget?
If you were reading this blog last year, you may fuzzily remember what I'm about to say; if not, settle in for a surprise!
My favorite guys, and, hopefully, yours, The Beatles, would release a Christmas record exclusively for their official fan club every year. It's absolutely fascinating to see their progression as a band gaining global notoriety, through the recording of their final album, Abbey Road/the Get Back Sessions (i.e. Let It Be/Phil Spector Album/Abomination... and that probably doesn't make sense to everybody, but that's what happened, Amen).
Since Last-Year-Me described this video so well, I'll let her say her piece about it.

We're traveling back to the revolutionary 1967 for this track.
Originally spliced and used sporadically throughout the psychedelic Christmas record, this cut of Christmas Time (Is Here Again) features the spoken word wishes of merriment from the lads which weren't included on the original record.
Until the 1970 bootleg, The Beatles Christmas Album, a compilation of every Christmas flexi-disc, this had only been available as a special order item from the fan club.
This was also the last Christmas record where each member of the band was present at the same time to record, in case you were wondering.
So, sit back, and enjoy this little snippet!

Well said, Last-Year-Me, well said.
Really, enjoy it, and don't blame me if you're singing it all season.

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