Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cool Yule [Mandy's Fourth Annual Christmas Album] + My Favorite Movie

It’s that time of the year again.

It’s the time where I can finally be honest and openly embrace my love of all things Christmas!

I'll start with this. Here is a still-shot from my favorite movie of all time.
Do you know what it is? It was the first EVER movie taped in Vista Vision. It was also taped in 1954.

[Cue big old multi-colored lights illuminating a 6 foot 2 inch balsam fir, snow falling softly through the windows, the smell of freshly baked sugar cookies tickling your nose hairs, a comfy oversized scarf, thick wool socks, fingerless gloves, red waffley-long underwear with white snowflakes and a little Bing Crosby on the record player]

I'm so excited you guys! 

(About as excited as these guys.)
Can I just say how attractive Danny Kaye is? He's a 1950's version of Conan O'Brien. Funny, tall, looks good in a suit.

 Even though I’ve been listening to Christmas music on the reg (regularly) since the beginning of October (That statement had to have elicited some major eye rolling from a certain percentage of the population currently reading this, but I don't care. Christmas music can turn just about any bad day on its head! It's better than ibuprofen, your libation of choice, a foot massage or any other self-soothing activity you may make during the next few weeks. Trust me. Plus, 3 out of 4 doctors agree.), I can now openly skip down the dirt road behind my house hand-in-hand with school children singing anything by Bing & Danny and it’s perfectly acceptable.

Actually, here in Tonga it was probably acceptable to do that in September, but now I could do it anywhere in the United States. Fist pump. Deep lunge with arms in the air!
Have I told you how I especially can't get enough of Danny.
Soooo good looking!

Friends, Family and other not-yet-but-definitely-someday-friends from the interwebs, it is time for your early Christmas gift… 

Mandy's Fourth Annual Christmas Compilation.

The title for this year's mix? A Cool Yule.

And aren't you lucky? You will be receiving this little gift right before Thanksgiving, which gives you enough time to download it, upload it to your iPhone/iPod/mp3 player of choice and have it ready for all your Black Friday shopping adventures. And if you aren't a fan of Black Friday and you'd rather sit in your pjs and order off of, donate money to a charitable cause (like this one, this one or this one) or something else that's cool, too.

Or maybe you could watch my favorite movie (after listening to the album, of course). Here's another picture. In case you have forgotten.
I think we all need to dance a little bit more!
Side note: I have no plans on stopping this little tradition any time soon and cannot wait until next year when I can get back to sending out actual CDs. It's one of my favorite things to do! Even if some day I get married and make a cute little family I imagine that this little tradition will continue on. Family photo? Yeah right. Here's a CD instead!

Ha. Anyhoo. The title: A Cool Yule.

Cool, Mandy?

The temperature here might be described as anything but cool (ha. I typed that as I watched beads of sweat develop on my forearms.), but it is a cool season. It doesn't matter where you live. The Christmas season reminds us to love big and be grateful for everyone and just about everything, be kinder than necessary, and to spread joy wherever we go! That's the plan here in my corner of the world. My students are almost done with school. We are practicing for the final day - singing Christmas songs (inspired by Glee mash-ups) and getting excited for summer break (I still feel weird typing that).

The track list: 
1. Main Title (Theme from Elf)
2. Cool Yule by Louis Armstrong
3. It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams
4. Mele Kalikimaka by Bing Crosby
5. Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives
6. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Kenny G
7. Merry Christmas Baby by Otis Redding
8. White Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald
9. Baby, It's Cold Outside by Zooey Dechanel + Leon Redbone
10. So This is Christmas by John Lennon + Yoko Ono
11. Do You Hear What I Hear? by Eclipse
12. We Three Kings by Claymation Christmas (1980's throwback)
13. Oh Holy Night by Pentatonix
 14. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Mannheim Steamroller
15. You Make it Feel Like Christmas by Neil Diamond
16. What Are You Doing New Years Eve? by Zooey Dechanel + Joseph Gordon-Levitt
17. Joy to the World [Remix] by Eye Hahvnoh EiDia

Total time you will be transported to the North Pole: 53 minutes and 20 seconds.

Gee whiz. That is exactly enough time to do one [or more] of the following:
- Bake a batch of sugar cookies, let them cool for 10 minutes, frost and eat them.
- Build a snowman with a corncob pipe and a button nose. (Bonus points if he has a scarf that is buffalo plaid)
- Write a letter to a friend or relative (or many!) that you haven't heard from and put it inside a Christmas Card (include some pine needles and a sprig of mistletoe).
- Put up the Christmas tree and get the lights on. (Put it on repeat so you give yourself ample time to put the cranberry garland on and ornaments)
Wrap 4 large presents, 3 medium-sized ones, and 5 small ones that are all awkwardly shaped. (Challenge: See if you can use only 4 pieces of tape per present.)
- Ice skate with a crush cutie under twinkle lights and then sit and sip home-made hot cocoa. (Red mugs make it taste better. Also, so does sharing the same mug.)
- Make a Santa Hat out of red felt and cotton balls. (Watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" for pointers. Or just use Pinterest.)
- Buy a gift for a kid in need. Or maybe for 3 or 4 kids in need? (Please do not buy a Barbie or one of those weird babies that wets itself.)
- Have a dance party with a best friend. (Dress up in the Santa Hat you made or any red/green/gold you have! The addition of jingle bells will spice things up!)
- Learn the words to "A Night Before Christmas" (See if you can knock your voice down an octave. It makes you sound like Leon Redbone that way.)
- Watch the snow fall outside. (You could also go outside and catch snowflakes on your tongue)
- Cuddle up in front of the television/computer screen/movie viewing device and watch the first 53 minutes of White Christmas on mute. (You could count the number of turtlenecks that Vera Ellen wears in the movie. Seriously. She is NEVER not wearing one.)
Turtleneck #1: This actually looks pretty comfortable.
Turtleneck #2: Lots of lace!
Turtleneck #3: Flowy, sparkly and pink.
Turtleneck #4: Nothing like a little mustard.
Turtleneck #5: Just stylin'.
Turtleneck #6: That's a lot of sparkle right there.
Turtleneck #7: I would actually wear this one now.
Turtleneck #8: Iconic.
...and that isn't even all of them. 

A little back story about this year's album:
I don't like assigning themes when it comes to Christmas albums. I also don't really like listening to Christmas albums that are put together by just one artist/band (However, there are exceptions. Since you were wondering, they are: anything by Neil Diamond, anything by Bing Crosby, and anything by Mannheim Steamroller. That's it - it's a very short list.) In my opinion, the more eclectic the better. A special thanks to my sister who paid attention to this post last year and was able to unearth the craziest Christmas song I have ever heard (#17). Ever. It's played all over Tonga and my students love it so hard. I am still sitting comfortably on the fence regarding this mash-up, but it will forever remind me of my time here so I added it this year. You know, gotta spread some South Pacific love.
Color-coding for Your Listening Convenience:
The Classics: What would a Christmas album be without them? Chances are you know at least 87.43% of the songs coded green.
The Newbies [otherwise known as the slightly-more-obscure-but-equally-as-awesome]: I'm a teacher and my job is to reveal new + interesting information. You don't have to like them, but if there is a particular one that tickles your fancy then I have done my job. It should be noted that my taste in music is... unique. It is most definitely a little bit different than what you'll hear in department stores. These choices aren't going to be found on the radio station that plays Christmas music 24/7. They also sometimes include memories and long forgotten tunes that were popular when stone Pogs, Mouse Trap, Lisa Frank, Walker: Texas Ranger and Steve Urkel were cool.

If you have read all the way to this point in this post then bravo. Good on you.
Here we go, people.
Go ahead. Unlock the magic.

In all seriousness, thank you for reading my blog. You all bring so much joy to my life and I am so grateful to know you [even if we haven't met in real life!].  

Kilisimasi fiefia! (Merry Christmas!)

Check out the album from last year: "Make the Season Bright" 
It even includes a song from this movie.
Sometimes I wish I was alive during this time period. Such cool clothing!
**If you did choose to download this and really want to be placed on the list for 2014 [when I will be returning to hard copy] then either comment on this post, shoot me an email or message me on Facebook.**


  1. You have officially out-Christmased me. Wow.

    1. Haha. You know how much I love it! :-) I hope you enjoy the playlist (my favorites are: #11, 12, & 15).