Christmas tree

Here we are in mid-December. By now, you’ve probably got a couple of holiday parties under your belt, with a few more to knock out before we cross the finish line on January 1. How’s your liver? Holding up? Good, good. We’ll get through this together.

Recharge your holiday spirit by pouring yourself a glass of eggnog (yes, you can — this is for conditioning purposes) and throwing on more of my favorite classic holiday jams. Between the tunes and the nog, we’ll get you feeling warm and fuzzy one way or another.

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

Christmas with Bruce and the E Street Band would be a hell of a time, don’t you think? Rocking out to their Christmas hits is the next best thing. (Yes, a far next, but you’re definitely not cool enough to spend Christmas with Bruce and the E Street Band, so just let it go.) “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” edges out “Merry Christmas Baby” only because it’s so much fun to imagine Clarence Clemons unwrapping a new saxophone on Christmas morning.

“Wonderful Christmastime” – Paul McCartney & Wings

My ears are divided on “Wonderful Christmastime.” The left one hears a fond Christmas classic that inspires it to wax nostalgic of Christmases past. The right one hears a pile of crap shot through with tinsel that plays every ten irritating minutes in the mall. They may never agree, but as the days grow closer to December 25th, advantage goes to left ear more and more frequently.

“Please Come Home for Christmas” – The Eagles

I’ve mentioned before that when it comes to the Eagles, I much prefer the Glenn Frey years. Of course, as a white person, I’m bound to love them either way — it’s in the handbook — and so “Please Come Home for Christmas” makes the list of Don Henley-sung tunes that I find acceptable. I think DH would have been better off as a blues singer. You know, if he wanted to do better than fronting the biggest American band of all time.

“Merry Christmas, Darling” – The Carpenters

No more jokes. The Carpenters’ “Merry Christmas, Darling” is nothing to joke about. Karen Carpenter’s voice was sent from Heaven to soothe the pounding headaches and gurgling guts of our holiday hangovers. It’s easy to doubt whether there’s a God from where you’re crouched in front of the toilet; one good listen to “Merry Christmas, Darling” should squash any Satanic urges your plight may have brought on.

“Blue Christmas” – Elvis

Bring it on home, Elvis. “Blue Christmas” is the closest thing there is to a Christmas drinking song. Hell, Elvis even sounds half-drunk singing it. Fitting, since the only suitable place to sing “Blue Christmas” is from a bar stool. There’s no better way to toast the King of Kings — assuming He accepts nontraditional Christmas songs as tribute — than by belting out The King.

“Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” – Bing Crosby & David Bowie

If David Bowie and Bing Crosby doing “Little Drummer Boy” doesn’t make you feel a little warmer toward your fellow man around this time of year, then you need to lay off the peppermint swizzle sticks, my friend, because you’ve gone ice-cold inside. Get a load of David Bowie in that square outfit, too! In that getup, he almost looks more like a human being than a fabulous rock god from outer space.

Is your hangover just too godawful to consider even goodwill towards men, let alone contemplate holiness of any kind? Try this seven-year-old’s rendition of “O Holy Night” on for size. Fall on your knees? Yeah, I bet you did. Welcome back, holiday spirit.