Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Songs of Christmas

By: Jaymie Leighton
From: Vintage Kitchen Mysteries
Book 3: Freezer I'll Shoot
Publication Date: November 5th, 2013
Author: Victoria Hamilton


I love music, even though my voice is only suited for a part in the chorus. But you will hear me chirping, warbling, and caroling my heart out in December.

My favorite Christmas songs:

My Grown-Up Christmas List – The Kelly Clarkson version… just love her voice, so strong! And the list is so true. It says that on the list would be… “No more lives torn apart/That wars would never start/And time would heal all hearts./And everyone would have a friend/And right would always win/And love would never end./This is my grown up Christmas list.” Chokes me up every time.

River –The Joni Mitchell version is the first (she wrote the song) and the best. The sense of loss in this song is just unforgettable, even the more so because the writer has brought it on herself. “I'm so hard to handle/I'm selfish and I'm sad./Now I've gone and lost the best baby/That I've ever had./Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on.” Hasn't everyone had that feeling, the longing to escape, even – or especially – at Christmas?

Hard Candy Christmas – Dolly Parton – Been there, felt this… maybe it’s because of the heartbreak I went through last Christmas, but I know how this feels, that sense of being unsure what to do with yourself. “Lord it's like a hard candy Christmas/I’m barely getting through tomorrow/But still I won’t let/Sorrow bring me way down.”


My favorite Christmas carols:

Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel – something about this done well, in a church, with perfect acoustics sends chills down my spine.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – Lyrics from the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This song is so beautiful, I just love the lyrics. It talks about how the world is so crappy, but then the narrator hears the bells on Christmas day and realizes there’s still hope for mankind. Hope is so important, and I tear up every time I get to that part.

But the story behind the poem is even more moving. Longfellow’s beloved son joined the Union cause in March of 1863 against his father’s wishes. In November he was severely wounded. It was a painful time for Longfellow, who had lost his wife in a fire not long before. He penned the poem on Christmas day of 1863, relating his horror at the strife. He wrote about the cannons blasting in the south, and the horror in his heart about the Civil War raging, then this:

“And in despair I bowed my head;/There is no peace on earth," I said/For hate is strong,/And mocks the song/Of peace on earth, good-will to men!/Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:/God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;/The Wrong shall fail,/The Right prevail,/With peace on earth, good-will to men." 

That refrain is the pivotal moment in the song, which adapted the poem to music.

So I’ll be listening to Karen Carpenter’s version of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, and I’ll make my prayer for peace on earth, at this season and forever.

What is your favorite song or carol at this time of year? Is it funny, or touching, or just silly?
BTW, I have a new one for you all. Just listen to Earl the Christmas Squirrel by the Moffats and see if you aren’t humming the chorus, “Earl the Christmas Squirrel works from dawn till dusk/Scurrying all around the world collecting Christmas nuts/Walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts/And on his Hawaiian cruise/He goes nuts over coconuts and macadamias too!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fvl6r3nbFH0

~::~

Victoria Hamilton, nationally bestselling author of the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series, is the pseudonym of Donna Lea Simpson, bestselling author of romance and historical mystery novels.

Victoria starting reading mystery novels at the age of 12 and devoured Agatha Christie mysteries, as well as those of Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh. She still adores mysteries, especially the cozy mysteries of Janet Bolin, Krista Davis, and others.

She loves to cook, and collects teapots and teacups, as well as vintage kitchen utensils and bowls. She also enjoys crafts, especially cross-stitching and crocheting, and spends summer days in the garden, drinking tea or wine. Besides the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series Victoria also writes the Merry Muffin Mystery series (Bran New Death – September 3rd) and the Teapot Collector Mystery series which debuts with Tempest in a Teapot, out June 3rd, 2014.

Victoria Hamilton Mysteries website: http://www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com
Twitter: @MysteryVictoria

It’s Season’s Readings, folks! 
Comment here for a chance to win a prize package containing Freezer I'll Shoot, Bran New Death (Merry Muffin Mysteries #1), a book tote, pen and handcrafted bookmark.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!


41 comments:

  1. "The Little Drummer Boy" is my favorite Christmas carol. Love the Vintage Kitchen series.

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  2. Happy Hoildays . Thanks for having a great giveaway.

    xzjh04@ gmail.com

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  3. Best time of the year to read.... merry Christmas celsaieh88@gmail.com

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  4. I agree with your picks for favorite carols, but there are so many that I love! I am one of those people that starts listening to Christmas music as soon as it gets colder, I don't wait until after Thanksgiving. I do have to listen to it quietly because my husband doesn't like it so much. Thanks for the giveaway! Merry Christmas!

    ElaineE246 at msn dot come

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  5. I enjoy all Christmas Songs no matter if they are funny or serious .... My husband has been learning the guitar and he has been playing me a lot of Christmas music.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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  6. I love Christmas music, especially the Carol of the Bells, but I've always loved I'll Be Home For Christmas. Though I could never listen to it whenever my husband was deployed. Now that he's retired, it still brings a tear to my eye.

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  7. I love Christmas songs and one of my favorites is Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley. Merry Christmas! kuzlin(at)aol(dot)com

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  8. My favorite Christmas song is "All I Want For Christmas" By Vince Vance and the Valiants. (Not the same song as the one by Mariah Carey). I'm a terrible singer but when no one else is home, I blast this song and sing out loud.
    My second favorite is "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas". It's silly and fun to sing along to. I have a giant inflatable hippo in the front yard as part of our Christmas decorations. There are elves riding the hippo holding up a sign that says "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas". Over the years I have received gifts of stuffed hippos (some that sing the song) and two singing Hallmark ornaments. Every year at Christmas I can always expect at least one of my presents to be "hippo" related.
    Merry Christmas!

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  9. I love the Trans Siberian Orchestra's Christmas music, I have been to the Christmas show once before and I would love to go again. It's a rainy day here so perfect for reading and napping, hmmm which one to do first though???

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  10. I'm not really into Christmas music anymore. I think it's because everyone starts playing it so early that I get sick of it.

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  11. I enjoy almost all Christmas music but I try to wait until the second week or so in December to listen to it....

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  12. my favorite classic Christmas song is O Holy Night........
    my favorite funny one is Dominick, the Italian Christmas Donkey!!! LOL!!!

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  13. Gonna add these to my TBR list
    sweetcandi32010@yahoo.com

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  14. I have many favorite Chrtistmas songs.. Trans Siberian Orchestra is amazing....... Christmas Jam, Night Enchanted, Christmas Canon, Lion's Roar to name a few.. plus I like the Big Band Era Christmas music... Then you have the Old fav's.. Bing, Dean, Frank, Perry and Andy.... Can't forget Elvis either.... I like almost evrything...almost... Hugs Jan

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  15. Silent Night as sung by my grandmother who was a minister. Love this series.

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  16. My favorite Christmas carol is O Holy Night. I also love any song by Mannheim Steamroller. lkleback@hotmail.com

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  17. Anything but Alvin and the Chipmunks! I have the 24 hour Christmas music radio station on most of the day - and love it!

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  18. I have a lot of favorites a few are How Many Kings, Mary Did You Know, The Drummer Boy version with Bing Crosby and David Bowie, and Snoopy's Christmas. momzillasteel@gmail.com

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  19. I like the song "River" too. And other favorites of mine are "Oh Holy Night" "Mary Did You Know" and the entire Christmas album by Martina McBride.

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  20. My favourite hymn is Silent Night and favourite carol is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

    lauraalbert@hotmail.com

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  21. Thank you for reminding me about the story behind I Heard the Bells...
    libbydodd@comcast.net

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  22. No favorite song. Love the saying on the tote. bobbipad@gmail.com

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  23. O Holy Night...so beautiful.

    littleone AT shaw DOT ca

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  24. Silent Night is my favorite Christmas Carol. It brings back memories of my childhood.
    Thanks for the giveaways!

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  25. kim j
    What Child Is This--my all time favorite
    kjohnson952@yahoo.com

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  26. Mine is Silver Bells because as a child I was a bell fairie one year. I also hymn wise love Joy To The World.
    james1259@sbcglobal.net

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  27. The First Noel and the Christmas Song and Jingle Bell Rock and White Christmas

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  28. The older songs really send me to nostalgia-ville. More so at Christmas than any other time of the year. I remember the feelings I had waiting for Christmas to arrive. It seemed to be a simpler time, but I was just probably unaware of all of the stress everyone was under.

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  29. I love all the traditional songs and carols, but the song that has a special place in my heart is "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." My mom lived with us the last couple of years of her life when my kids were fairly young. She was a real character and lots of fun - except when my son and husband sang that song to her - "Not funny! Don't sing that to me!" Now every time I hear that song I remember my mom and those Christmases with my kids. (and now it's sung to me ;-) ).

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  30. I also love all the traditional carols but a newer favorite of mine is "Mary Did You Know?"...the true meaning of Christmas!

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  31. Hark the Herald Angels Sing is my all-time favorite, but I also love Casting Crown's version of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. Beautiful.

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  32. My favorite is Silent Night. For the nostalgia and the beauty. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  33. O Holy Night is my best of all since it reflects wonder. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  34. There are so many Christmas Carols that I think are beautiful and full of meaning. O HOLY NIGHT is a great favorite.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  35. O Holy Night is my favorite. lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  36. My favorite Christmas song is Silent Night, the church I grew up in was started by German American families and in the very beginning (my great-great-grandfather and great-grandfather were founding members along with their families) services were in German. When I was very small parts of special services were still said in German and when I moved away in the 1980s German immigrants still came to our church. I grew up learning to sing Silent Night in German and then in English. I believe the tradition died out in the 1990s. By then most of the older German speaking members of the church had died and newer members no longer had the German-American background. I love a lot of Christmas hymns, but this one always is special for me.

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  37. Since moving to Alabama Christmas in Dixie by Alabama has become one of my favorites. I also enjoy I am dreaming of a Green Christmas.

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  38. I love Silver Bell, I grew up helping decorate the tree while listening to Christmas albums playing on the record player. Luckily, I have found all of the vinyls as my Dad kept them. I hope to get the record player going again. However this year my 5-year-old son has been singing many songs. I cannot remember the title right now, but he has been singing this just as recently as this morning. "Ho, ho the miskit toe, hung where I can see, somebody waits for me, kiss her once for me." That was not a typo, that is how he is singing the song and he loves it. I have tried to get him to sing it with mistletoe, but it comes out miskit toe every time. You can't help but laugh.

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  39. Oh Holy Night is my favorite...... loved singing it in choir when i was in high school.
    dotkel50 @ comcast dot net

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  40. Great idea- Merry Christmas:) Hope some of the familes have a good one even though they may not have power. stitch2pleaz@hotmail.com

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  41. Merry X-mas
    Hope we all enjoy our family and friends

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