Christmas time is magical time filled with fuzzy feelings and an endless parade of annoyances.
It’s OK to be a little cynical, especially if your family is the stressful brand of crazy and disfunction. Even the happiest situations leave room for holiday angst. Coping may require intoxication, but that can go overboard quickly and embarrassingly. By all means, drink up, but if that’s not your bag or you need an accompanying soundtrack, try some medicinal music.
Ho ho ho and a bottle of rum.
Drowning out the mall.
Last year, my dad waited too long to shop, but ordered gifts online anyway. I got a bunch of empty boxes with notes telling me what was coming. Funny, but maybe not to everyone. If you’re too late for timely delivery, you’ll have to go to a mall. There WILL be a tacky North Pole scene that smells like children.
Deep breath. Cross the revolving door threshold into fluorescent-lit, consumerism hell, and hit play on that iPod. At least you can save yourself from the music and inane chatter. You’ll want noisy songs with no room for the penetration of outside noise. Try The Black Angels, Japandroids, Tame Impala and My Bloody Valentine. If you’re in more of an electronic or pop mood, throw on the new Beyonce album, some Sky Ferreira or Grimes.
Your mom suggests that maybe you’d like a haircut for Christmas.
(Based on a true story.)
Sometimes mothers get naggy and lack tact. We love them anyway, but my god. Instead of talking back, slouch off to listen to something angsty. Speedy Ortiz is great in that department, as well as Wavves and Best Coast. There are plenty of throwbacks in this department, too, Nirvana being the obvious one. Or maybe you want to go all-out high school with some My Chemical Romance and Sum 41. No one has to know.
Christmas music that isn’t the worst.
Inevitably, you’ll listen to Christmas music at some point. Commandeer the stereo and try out some holiday jams that won’t make you want to shove sharpened candy canes in your ears. Here’s a short, but fun and timeless, list:
Run-D.M.C., “Christmas in Hollis”
The Ramones, “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)”
Sufjan Stevens, “Christmas Unicorn”
Chuck Berry, “Run Rudolph Run”
She & Him, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
Bruce Springsteen, “Merry Christmas Baby”
Bobby Helms, “Jingle Bell Rock”
LCD Soundsystem, “Oh You (Christmas Blue)”
Belle & Sebastian, “Santa Claus”
The post-feast struggle is real. You’re wine drunk, you ate way too much meat and carb-heavy sides and you’re coming down hard off a cookie-induced sugar high. First world problem, for sure, but it’s still rough. The only reasonable thing to do is lie down — anywhere, who cares? — and listen to some slow-burners and spacey ear candy. Portishead can help you out there, particularly with “Glory Box.” A Sweet Valley mixtape will be extra fun if you’re still drunk. Let The xx play you a lullaby or daydream with Washed Out. If reverb-soaked guitars are your tranquilizer of choice, knock yourself out with some old Surfer Blood or Yo La Tengo. Then there’s Girls’ “Vomit.” I’ve long been a vocal advocate for lying on the floor and listening to this song.
Congrats on surviving your drunk uncle, judgmental aunt, sugar-tweaked little cousins and the barrage of questions about your life choices. Time to treat yourself to fun and/or stupid music. Party with Miley and Icona Pop. Tear shit up with FIDLAR and Sleigh Bells. Dance it out with Justin Timberlake and Daft Punk. It’s your party, rage how you want to.
Here’s to you, holiday warriors. Let’s toast to the mess. Merry Christmas.