Christmas/Holiday Cheer: This Year’s Missing

Last year I won “Whamageddon,” the game whose only rule is to avoid hearing the original Wham! version of “Last Christmas” during the month of December (there won’t be a repeat victory for me this year). I’ve been listening to plenty of Christmas music in the car these last couple of weeks, generally tuned in to SiriusXM’s Holly. Like so many SiriusXM stations, the playlist is far too short, and any number of songs get played every four hours or so (the surprisingly bland “Christmas Tree Farm” has been notable in this regard). But I’m also noticing what I’m not hearing so far. Yes, this is only one person listening to one station at selected moments, but I am wondering if most of the following songs are not on Holly‘s 2019 playlist (not that I’m complaining in some instances):

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “Christmas Canon” and “Wizards of Winter”
Biggest surprise on this list–these seemed inescapable just a year ago. In addition, I’ve only heard Mannheim Steamroller once.

Percy Faith, “We Need a Little Christmas”
Greg Lake, “Father Christmas”

Holly doesn’t just focus on stuff released from the last quarter-century–I’ve heard Ray Conniff, Dean Martin, and Nat ‘King’ Cole, among others–but these two older pieces haven’t hit my ears yet.

Bob Seger, “Little Drummer Boy”
Eurythmics, “Winter Wonderland”
Barenaked Ladies/Sarah McLachlan, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings”
Rod Stewart, “My Favorite Things”
Wilson Phillips, “Hey Santa”

Gloria Estefan, “Christmas Through Your Eyes”
On the other hand, I think that maybe there is a generation gap opening in a number of cases…

Kelly Clarkson, “Underneath the Tree” and “My Grownup Christmas List”
This could just be bad luck on my part, as Holly is playing other Clarkson tunes. But the first of these is one I wouldn’t mind hearing.

Whitney Houston, “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
A couple of points about this one: 1) My wife has observed that Holly doesn’t play all that many religious Christmas songs; 2) I actually have heard it once this year. Last Friday night I happened upon the end of a rebroadcast of the Casey-hosted American Top 10: The Top 60 Christmas Songs, from 2005. I was plenty surprised to hear Houston at #2, but it also underscored to me how tastes can shift suddenly–has Whitney’s untimely death meant she is already going down the memory hole a bit?

I’m going out for what I hope is a final round of shopping today. I think I’ll put up with the ten-minute long commercial breaks and switch over to the Lexington station that’s been playing holiday favorites since November 1. I’m guessing I’ll run into a few of the above there; perhaps there’ll be an update…

Christmas Day update: Spent time since this was posted listening to stations from Lexington (in the car) and Madison, WI (streaming at home). Heard “Christmas Canon” and a few other T-SO pieces, “Father Christmas,” the Barenaked Ladies/McLachlan, and “Underneath the Tree.” Those last three were about the only ones I wanted for Christmas, anyway…

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