Tag Archives: Christmas music

Merry Christmas 2010!

Just finished cleaning the kitchen and prepping the meat and beans for tomorrow’s enchilada fest, and as I turned off the radio (thanks for another amazing year of Christmas jams, KOST!) and that last light in the kitchen, I couldn’t help thinking of how lucky I am.

It’s been a long, strange year, but I have amazing friends, the coolest family in the world and a wife and little girl who make every single day that I am alive truly magical, even when it’s totally not.

And now, as I drift off to sleep with the smell of Christmas in the air — who says Christmas can’t smell like enchiladas? — I just want to thank everyone I know and love, those sleeping under our roof tonight and those who aren’t, for everything you do to make my life…well, kinda rad. You guys rock!

So, before my pot of holiday cheese totally bubbles over I’ll leave you with Greta’s 2010 Santa pic. As you can see, she refused to smile, but, on the upside, she didn’t cry like last year either. So, I call that progress!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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“Merry Swiftmas” to all…

As you know, Christine and I are crazy Christmas music geeks with KOST 103.5 playing non-stop in the casa and XM Radio’s handful of holiday-themed channels pre-programmed in the Chenbot. And though we usually pick up a couple of new songs and CD’s here and there every year, it is very rare that a song strikes a chord like the one we just heard tonight.

Recorded by Avril Lavigne’s former musical director and lead guitarist, Evan Taubenfeld, “Merry Swiftmas” is a sweet, goofy ode to 2009’s cutie of the year, Taylor Swift. And not only is it funny as hell, but it’s also a genuinely catchy song with some great hooks. And best of all, it is now available on iTunes, so, yay!

Check out Taubenfeld’s new “Swiftmas” video below and if it doesn’t have you reaching into your pocket for 99 cents, well, maybe you just don’t love Christmas as much as you thought you did…

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Amazon’s 25 Days of Free!

One of the only things we love more than Christmas music this time of year are freebies — actually, who am I kidding, we love freebies all year long! — so when our friend, Ginger, told us about Amazon.com’s “25 Days of Free” Holiday Music downloads, we couldn’t click over there fast enough!

Not only do they have a wide array of tunes available, with everything from Sinatra to Lady Gaga ready to rock your Christmas playlist, but they also add new songs every day. So, by the time Christmas arrives, well, hot damn, you’re gonna have yourself a pretty substantial collection of free Christmas tunes, yo.

And lest you think this is the only deal on Amazon right now, they are also offering something called the “12 Days of Christmas 2009”, which offers daily deals on music downloads and actual CD’s through the 17th of December. For example we scored the new Bob Dylan Christmas album, “Christmas in the Heart” for $6.99 yesterday. Pretty cool, huh?

So, if freebies and discounts are your thing, get yourself to Amazon.com pronto. Oh yeah, and just for the record, Amazon did not pay us for this post, we just love them that much. Yay!

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Enya: “And Winter Came…”

OK, I know I can’t be the only Enya lover out there…I mean, the woman has four Grammy’s and an Oscar Nomination for God’s sake. But in our circle of friends and family (barring my Grandma Romero and my Dad), I am the only hard-core lover of all things Enya.

It’s not that Christine doesn’t appreciate some fine Celtic songsmithery now and again, because she does, but, for some reason…she’s just not that into Enya. Sad, huh? All I know is that before our little girl arrives on March 8th, my goal is to have her hooked on Enya…big time!

Enya "And Winter Came" #1

Seriously, I’ve been blasting those New Age Irish jams in the general direction of Christine’s belly every chance I get. And though our baby girl had no reaction to speak of when I played her Enya’s dreamy 2005 release “Amarantine”, she did kick up a storm to Elvis a few nights later. So…I have the sinking feeling she shares her mother’s feelings towards my beloved songbird.

Either way, Enya has a new CD out this year and for New Age Christmas music fans, it’s a doozy! Yep, that’s right, she may have put out a couple of holiday singles over the years, but 2008 marks the first time the fair maiden from Gweedore, County Donegal has released a full-fledged Christmas album.

And lemme tell ya, this record delivers on all fronts. Casual fans will love it, Enya haters will gag on their eggnog and true, dyed-in-the-wool Enya lovers from way back will be in weepy tune heaven. Seriously, there are some beautiful, shimmery Christmas jams here, amigos. Really lovely stuff…

Enya "And Winter Came" #3

Enya "And Winter Came" #2

Working once again with longtime-producer Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan, Enya belts out some amazing songs here, and even if they weren’t composed in the haunting Loxian language Roma Ryan and Enya invented for “Amarantine”, they do the trick. I mean, hey, if you dig the music, does it really matter what language the gal is singing in? Hell no!

So, if you’re in the mood for some sweet, Middle-earth-friendly Christmas tunes, pick this album up, pronto. I promise you, it’ll be the talk of the Shire…every Hobbit you know will be dying to burn it off you.

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Christmas Wishes on KOST FM

OK, I know I sound like a broken record going on and on about the all-Christmas playlist at KOST 103.5, but, seriously, the only thing Christine and I love more than their non-stop Christmas jams are the sad-ass Christmas Wishes that the station grants their listeners every holiday season.

I’ve never called in a wish myself, but it works like this: from Thanksgiving through Christmas day, anyone with a hard luck story and a truly dramatic Christmas Wish can call into KOST at 818-520-2035 and possibly have their wish granted on the air. I know, awesome, right? And as gratifying as it probably is to have your wishes granted by the big-hearted DJ’s at KOST, listening to those teary-eyed phone calls is even better!

Christmas Wishes on KOST FM #2

Christmas Wishes on KOST FM

I swear to God, the stories these people tell will break your heart. And if the wishes don’t move you, than Michael Gore’s classic “Terms of Endearment” theme, which they play in the background during every segment, surely will.

I can’t tell you how many times Christine and I have sat in the car openly weeping to these sobby Christmas Wish segments. And from what we’ve gathered from our many KOST FM-loving friends and family in the Southland, we are not alone.

A favorite wish of ours from a couple year’s back was from the Grandmother who’s grandchild’s bedroom had been infected with toxic mold. Not only was her grandchild sick from the mold, but all of her favorite books and toys were ruined. Like they always do, KOST swept in with a whopping triple digit gift card from Target to replace everything and give that family back their Christmas. So cool!

And while most of the calls involve someone wanting airfare to visit a sick relative or something like that, two of our favorites this year involved something much more simple…

The first was from a woman who’s mother recently passed away. Her sister is the sole caregiver for their ailing father and since they have no money for extras of any kind this year, the woman drives a totally beat-up car with crappy tires. So, the Christmas Wish this lady asks for are new tires for her sister’s car so she can drive Dad to his doctor’s appointments. OMG…I was blubbering so hard I couldn’t even hear everything that KOST offered this poor woman. Sad!!

But, the best one I’ve heard so far this season came from an emotional gentlemen named Rick whose wife is dying of stage four breast cancer. Already, that’s enough to make anyone cry…but rather than one last trip around the world or a fancy vacation, all Rick wanted for his beautiful, long-suffering wife was a new mattress so she could sleep better at night. Gulp…

If I wasn’t crying so hard, I woulda called in and offered to buy that dude a mattress myself. Seriously, what a tearjerker! And, as always, KOST was quick to grant Rick’s wish with a fluffy new mattress from Living Spaces. You go, KOST!

If you’d like to hear some of these touching and insanely-sad Christmas Wishes yourself, check out the live internet feed here. I can’t get it to play on my Mac, but, since every radio in the house is tuned to KOST right now, it’s not a problem. Happy listening, amigos…

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Griffith Park Festival of Lights

The giant Christmas trees at The Grove and The Americana at Brand aside, there are two things that make Los Angeles the coolest place to be at Christmas time. The first is the rocking, month-long Christmas-only playlist on KOST 103.5, and the second is the Griffith Park Festival of Lights.

Griffith Park Festival of Lights #1

Sure, other towns might have festive tree lighting ceremonies in the town square or whole neighborhoods festooned with twinkling holiday cheer, but only L.A., the epicenter of car culture, has a drive-thru Festival of Lights. Yay!

Sponsored by the Department of Water and Power, the Festival of Lights has been an L.A. tradition for the past 13 years and I’m happy to report that Christine and I have yet to miss a Festival.

We’ve found that the best time to visit the Festival of Lights is in mid-December, right before closing time at like, 9:45 or so. The Thanksgiving crowds have died down by then and the Christmas rush hasn’t really peaked yet, so there is usually way less traffic. Emphasis on the word usually.

But, hey, what’s a little traffic when you’re winding through Griffith Park at night looking at pretty Christmas lights? Oh, and did I mention that the lights are timed to music? Yep, you guessed it, the folks at KOST 103.5 pipe in kick-ass Holiday jams from speakers in the trees and bushes all along the Festival route.

Griffith Park Festival of Lights #2

Griffith Park Festival of Lights #3

And even though the cold and the exhaust fumes are a killer, we crank up the heat every year and roll down our windows to experience the Festival of Lights in all its glory. We call this tradition the “cold maker” as inevitably one or both of us will have the sniffles afterwards, but, wow, what a way to get sick!

This year, the Festival went green by including an entire week of Vehicle Free Nights (which we sadly missed!) but there is a walking lane at the Festival as well, so, not having a car is no excuse for missing the Fest!

As you can see from these pics from last year’s Festival, the light displays offer super cool depictions of L.A. landmarks and traditions, celebrating everything from the ships at “America’s Port” in San Pedro to the spanking-new Griffith Observatory just a short jog uphill.

And though all the light displays are awesome, I think my favorite is the LAX display with the miniature towering light pylons changing colors to the music behind the iconic Theme Building. So cool!

Griffith Park Festival of Lights #5

Griffith Park Festival of Lights #4

Griffith Park Festival of Lights #6

So, if you happen to be in the L.A. area in the next couple of weeks, set your dial to 103.5, crank the volume way up and make your way towards Griffith Park at nightfall. You might freeze your ass off, and you might catch a wicked seasonal cold, but you won’t be disappointed!

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