THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY STARTS HERE:
... with CHRIS ISAAK, live at Universal Studios. Your holiday-themed numbers include "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Hey, Santa," "Last Month of the Year," "Blue Christmas," and "Christmas on TV." Bonus: Dreidel banter! Double Bonus: "It's a Bad Brains Christmas, Charlie Brown."
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about. Mental Floss has "The Real Story Behind A Charlie Brown Christmas (and why it almost wasn't shown)." The WaPo has reflections from producer-director Lee Mendelson.
DARLENE LOVE & RONNIE SPECTOR duet on "Sleigh Ride" and "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree."
THE POGUES: It's not Christmas Eve in the drunk tank (or even St. Patrick's Day) without a "Fairytale of New York." From 2012, here's the backstory. And at The Week, Michael B. Dougherty argues that it's the greatest Christmas song of all time. NME has 25 Things you didn't know about the tale.
ANTON BARBEAU, an occasional collaborator of the late Scott Miller, crafted his own "Xmas Song."
THE CURRENT has your hipster holiday music stream.
THE ALL SONGS CONSIDERED Holiday Extravaganza. THE 10 BEST PUNK CHRISTMAS SONGS, according to L.A. Weekly.
35 ALTERNATIVE HOLIDAY SONGS, courtesy of NME.
NORAD will be tracking Santa, per usual. CNET has a history and behind-the scenes story.
THE 25 BEST CHRISTMAS ALBUMS, according to Complex. BONUS: The L.A. Times rounds up the Merry and the Meh, including the evolving Christmas Time Again, by The dB's and Friends.
15 BIZARRE CHRISTMAS ALBUMS, courtesy of Mental Floss.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY of Christmas Songs.
BILLY MACK: Because "Christmas Is All Around." ALSO: Is Love Actually is an awful movie? PLUS: We now know for sure what happened to Harry and Karen.
THE FLAMING LIPS perform "White Christmas" as only they can.
WHITE CHRISTMAS: A Snapshot Of The Most Successful Song In Music History.
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS: "The Keep That Keeps Giving." Not to be confused with "The Gift," which is not Christmasey at all.
THE COURTEENEERS drop a video for "Winter Wonderland" that's not that Winter Wonderland.
CALEXICO: Speaking of presents, here's their "Gift X-Change."
THE MUPPETS: "Ringing of the Bells." Not to be confused with Super Furry Animals.
MICHAEL CAINE looks back at The Muppet Christmas Carol.
EMMET OTTER's JUG BAND CHRISTMAS Soundtrack.
JON BON JOVI sings "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to R2-D2 in his first professional recording.
AN XMAS FLASH MOB from the Berklee College of Music broke out into an impromptu performance of the classic Christmas carol “O Holy Night” at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
GLAM XMAS: I started the month with Wizzard's awesome "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" and Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody" (1973's UK Xmas No. 1). The circle is now complete.
HALL & OATES: "Jingle Bell Rock," reduced to its molten kitchy essense.
THE MOST COVERED CHRISTMAS SONGS, according to FiveThirtyEight.
16 WEIRD FACTS About Big Christmas Hits.
MARIAH CAREY's “All I Want For Christmas Is You” just hit the top 10 for the first time ever.
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS is airing on TNT — for one night only, tonight, though they're showing it twice. Otherwise streaming on Amazon. Also, a 5-year-old called 911 on the Grinch.
DAVID BOWIE & BING CROSBY'S cross-generational duet on "Little Drummer Boy." This historic event was recreated by Will Farrell and John C. Reilly. Plus, Jack Black and Jason Segel have done a cartoon cover.
NOW SHOWING: Wednesday's wide releses are Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which is currently scoring 77 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; and The Greatest Showman, which is scoring 47 percent. Today's wide releases include Pitch Perfect 3, which is currently scoring 33 percent; Father Figures, which was not screened for critics; and Downsizing, scoring 57 percent. Expanding wide or near wide are Darkest Hour, scoring 84 percent; and The Shape of Water, scoring 94 percent.
THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS: Many people believe human activity is causing global warming. I blame Snow Miser and Heat Miser.
CHICAGO CHRISTMAS MEMORIES: If you grew up in Chicago (and I suspect other places), the season is not complete without watching the short cartoons of "Hardrock, Coco & Joe" (a story fantastic, a story so queer), "Suzy Snowflake" and the jazzy version of "Frosty the Snowman."
THE BEATLES fan club messages for 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969.
TEN OR TWELVE UNDERRATED Holiday Tracks (Some of which already appear here).
A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOU...FROM PHIL SPECTOR: Essayed by Aquarium Drunkard and NME.
THE TRON 1982 HOLIDAY SPECIAL, courtesy of Funny Or Die.
THE SEX PISTOLS & THIN LIZZY played "A Merry Jingle" for Top of the Pops. BONUS: The Pistols' final UK show was a Christmas benefit.
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Pate even had a song titled "Rope Around The Moon," so watch the whole thing. BONUS: Vintage Bailey backlash from warped, frustrated old people at the New York Times and Portfolio. DOUBLE-BONUS: 22 TV variations on It's A Wonderful Life.
ALL THESE KIDS WANTED FOR CHRISTMAS was warm blankets.
RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: Pull up an ice block and lend an ear! Herbie wanted to be a dentist. NTTAWWT. BONUS: The Rankin-Bass classic continues to inspire ads like 2009's Verizon ad, following 2008's Apple ad, even more so 2007's AFLAC commercial, and AT & T bringing in Rudolph, Bumble, and Santa for 2015.BONUS: The restored original Rudlph and Santa can be yours for a mere ten million dollars.
FESTIVUS: For the rest of us. Technically already started, so I can be one of your grievances.
SCARY GHOST STORIES: I overheard Andy Williams crooning "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" in a store this month, and the lyric about "scary ghost stories" never really struck me before. Took me a second, but I supposed he was referring to Dickens. It turns out -- as noted by a coworker -- that this was a thing in Victorian England... and the modern day. BONUS: Krampus, which has now inspired a major motion picture, and a Nativity set. DOUBLE BONUS: NME rounds up 10 Deliciously Scary Christmas Movies. TRIPLE BONUS: 18 Killer Santas From Film and TV.
LIAM NEESON auditions as a mall Santa.
TEN UNFORGETTABLE Musical Christmas Moments On Film.
THE 30 BEST CHRISTMAS MOVIES, according to Empire magazine.
FIVE REASONS Why Die Hard is a Christmas movie, not including the ornament.
HOME ALONE: Did Kevin McCallister grow up to become the Jigsaw Killer?
DRECK THE HALLS: A Holiday TV Specials Retrospective.
23 TV EPISODES based on "A Christmas Carol."
NAT KING COLE: His chestnuts are roasting.
MAYMO THE BEAGLE gets 210 bottles for Christmas.
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, as told by cats.
27 DOGS That Do Christmas Better Than You Do Christmas.
29 CATS Trying To Figure Out This Whole Christmas Thing, and 29 CATS Who Just Want To Help You Decorate Your Tree.
A SHETLAND PONY in a Christmas foursie.
14 ANIMALS Who Tried to Ruin Christmas.
CHRISTMAS ON CHRISTMAS ISLAND involves millions of crabs.
AN AUSTRALIAN FAMILY shot into the Guinness Book of Records in 2011 after decorating their home with an astonishing 331038 Christmas lights. If the video at the link doesn't work, try this one.