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This starts out like that Martin-Short-as-Ed-Grimley on Christmas Eve sketch on SCTV, a throbbing piano and spoken delivery conjuring the singer’s too-excited-to-sleep thoughts:

Yeah, I know, it’s Christmastime
And I don’t care
Because I don’t ever get anything I want

Among the the things he does get: videogames, toys he’ll only play with once, and advice. (I think he says “bikes” but I prefer hearing “advice.” I personally hate getting advice for Christmas.)

But then he catches himself:

Of course I’m kidding
I love this freaking day
In fact the whole month leading up to it is great

…and then surrenders entirely:

Oh baby, baby, baby I can’t wait!

The song slows down, background voices enter, and the singer starts to actually sing, enumerating the stuff about the holiday he loves. Which, unimaginatively, turns out to be the same stuff about the holiday all of us love or say we do, snow, the skating rink, the Christmas tree, the whole “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” shtick.

All right fine, we have the same small town in all of us (thanks, Don Henley) and have all been sold the same dream of Christmas (RIP, Greg Lake). But what’s great about the song is that the singer doesn’t stop there with the standard-issue Christmas trappings (okay, I love them too!) but throws in enough quirky details to convince me Christmas really is his favorite time of year. Being together with people he’s not together with often enough allows him to let down his guard enough to dance to a Billy Joel song. Taking a break from all those people for a long walk in the cold with a special person, holding hands through gloves.

This comes from a mix CD I made about 10 years ago of Indie Rock Christmas songs. They are not genres that mix well. Indie rockers are generally too self-conscious and suspicious to give up much ground to a holiday like Christmas, and the result tends toward the morose or snarky. These are not the qualities I look for in my holiday music. I don’t play the CD very much.

But I love this song, which you can find on Youtube but not Spotify. I have no memory of where I originally stumbled over it or who Andrew Dost is or what else he’s recorded. But I hope Christmas is still his favorite time of year and that this holiday is the best he’s ever had, and I wish the same to you.

billyjoelxmas

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