People can get so peculiar and picky over Christmas music.
By JENEÉ OSTERHELDT
The Kansas City Star
When you get a bunch of folks together for the holidays and try to decide on the sounds, its like that scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas with Schroeder and Lucy. He plays Beethovens Fur Elise and she is absolutely appalled. What has Beethoven got to do with Christmas? she demands.
But for Schroeder, it has everything to do with it. Because he loves Beethoven. And thats how we should approach Christmas music: with love. And an open mind.
It took me a few seasons of working at the mall to learn that lesson, because Christmas music can be a cruel and unusual punishment in retail.
Throughout my college years, the Spice Girls and Nat King Cole taunted me. Songs that started out as seasonal fun eventually made me want to smash the bells. Or at least stomp the disc to a billion tiny pieces. Its hard enough to deal with the rush and fight of last-minute shoppers, but then companies go and add a recurring soundtrack to the mayhem.
But there were always bright moments, those shiny songs that could only make me smile. Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige did that. And thats how I warmed up to Christmas playlists, by focusing on the good.
I thank my sister. She loves the carols. She, myself and our mother all have our favorites, leading to bluegrass and hip-hop in the same set. Now, I share music with my husband. For him, its all soul sounds Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, James Brown.
My mama let me add OutKasts Players Ball to our Christmas rotation. I admit its an oddball choice. It has nothing to do with the holidays except for the fact that the ball happens on Christmas Day. And this is why now I dont mind when my nieces want to hear Justin Bieber and One Direction when they open gifts. A sense of humor helps.
Its hard not to smile when I see my nieces jump up and down and sing along to their bubble-gum-pop icons. Compromise is key when compiling your playlist. Its how you make the music harmonious in your household. You give everybody a little bit of what they love.
A few of my favorites
Vince Guaraldi Trio, Linus and Lucy . Its not Christmas season in my mind until I hear this song.
Mary J. Blige, Christmas in the City . You dont have to be from NYC to understand Marys joy.
Mariah Carey, All I Want for Christmas Is You . One of my favorite songs.
TLC, Sleigh Ride . Jingle bells, Batman smells and all that. TLC is fun.
James Brown, Merry Christmas Baby . Sometimes, you want a little bluesy love for the holidays.
Boyz II Men and Brian McKnight, Let It Snow. They manage to make a white Christmas sound appealing.
Stevie Wonder, What Christmas Means to Me . Dinner music doesnt get much better.
Faith Evans, Soulful Christmas . A little funk for your holly and jolly.
Jackson 5, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town . I have to have some kind of Michael Jackson in the mix.
OutKast, Players Ball . Because its OutKast.
Donny Hathaway, This Christmas. There have been multiple covers of this holiday classic, but no one delivers it like the originator, Donny Hathaway.