December 23rd, 2012
03:04 AM ET

Letters to the President #1434: 'Yule love these tunes'

Reporter's Note: Each day of the year, I write to President Obama. I only write to Santa once a year. He also never replies.

Dear Mr. President,

Each year, if you recall, I send a Christmas playlist your way. As you know, I have a somewhat unrivaled collection of unusual, avant garde, and downright odd Christmas music which I love to plow through each year as the tinsel drifts through the room. I’ve sent some of my favorites your way before such as “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues, so this year I will try to cover new ground to help you expand your holiday audio selections.

So here goes…

1) “Homecoming/Jingle Bells” by Dave Brubeck. Bit of a sentimental favorite to mark his passing.
2) “Stuck at the Airport” by Money Mark. I know nothing about this song’s history, only that Money Mark was part of the whole Beastie Boys cadre. Frankly I didn’t like this song the first dozen or so times I heard it, and then it just got stuck in my head. Now I enjoy it. Go figure.
3) “All I Want for Christmas” by Timbuk 3. Weird. Sort of droning, minor chord stuff, but fun.
4) “Forget December” by Something Corporate. Same thing. Different group.
5) “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” by Gayla Peevey. Yes, it is ridiculous and purely a novelty song, but I laugh every time I hear it and since along loudly. Sometimes even in French because Niles Crane’s spirit lives on!
6) “Blues Christmas” by John Lee Hooker. Do I need to say more?
7) “Feliz Navidad” by Celine Dion. I like this version of this song not because it is any good, but because it makes me stone, out of my mind crazy. It’s like a musical mystery: What the heck if Celine Dion doing singing this tune? Did she lose a bet? She’s Canadian, right?
8) “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Pedro the Lion. Nice. Moody. Perfect antidote to Celine’s dopiness.
9) “Christmas for Cowboys” by Jars of Clay. This was written by a guy named Steve Weisberg and, as best I can tell, first recorded by his pal, the late John Denver. But I like the Jars of Clay version better.
10) “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits. Seriously, this is wonderful. Funny, sad, poignant, touching, pathetic, painful, hopeless, and all the other things that Christmas is all about in our modern times. How can you not love a Christmas song that starts with the line, “Charlie, I’m pregnant…”

Anyway, I hope these tunes help keep your spirits up during all the shopping, wrapping, and egg nog mixing.