I got your holiday Muzak right here, buddy

Christmas is a conundrum for me. I hate the mall all the time, but I make a special point of avoiding it between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There's a lot about Christmas that I really, really love, but there's a lot that I truly effin' hate. And there's probably no better summation of that than Christmas music. You can't quite get in the holiday mood without it, but when it's bad it's so very, very bad. Even touch a store right now (even the grocery store) and you get cancer of the ear just from the saccharine pouring in from every speaker. What to do?

My iPod has 65 tracks in the "Holiday genre", and none of them give me that cavity-inducing sickly sweetness. Here's a playlist - if your holiday tunes are lacking give them a spin. If you've got your own favorite holiday album give it a shoutout down in the comments!

Barenaked Ladies - Barenaked for the Holidays (Amazon)

Dr. Demento - Dr. Demento Presents: Greatest Christmas Novelty CD (Amazon)

They Might Be Giants - Holidayland (Amazon)

Misc - Santastic Holiday Boots 4 Your Stockings (direct download)

Misc - 8 bits of Christmas (direct download)

The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping (I just bought this individual track from iTunes.)

I don't claim these are the best holiday songs ever, these are just the ones that stay on my iPod from year to year. My "Actual Music" playlist omits the "Holiday" genre, so they rest idle until I marshall them for battle when the tree gets decorated the day after Thanksgiving. In particular I just ordered Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong (Amazon) and that will probably get added to the roster as this year's addition. But these are all worth listening to, and honestly? If you can listen to the 8 bits of Christmas and not smile? You can't be my friend anymore. For reals.

As for the grocery store? Hit it with your headphones on and good holiday music blazing. Maybe you'll lose some of that finer high-range hearing but at least you'll avoid the cancer of the ear . . . .

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