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I don’t particularly enjoy Christmas in any physical sense; I don’t buy presents for anyone and I don’t expect to receive any. We don’t decorate our house or get a Christmas tree anymore. Christmas is more of an obligation than anything at this point, and while that does depress me a little, it’s not a big deal. However, I’ll be damned if the Christmas season doesn’t weasel its way inside me every year. I wouldn’t call it holiday cheer – I’m a cynic at heart and Christmas is no different – but there is a certain pervading joyfulness underneath everything I do, humming away electrically to the tune of whatever Christmas song is stuck in my head or playing over some loudspeaker in a store.

My favorite Christmas songs utilize minor chords, and none do it better than “O Holy Night,” which has always stood head and shoulders above other Christmas songs for me. When I think of Christmas and winter, the first image that pops unbidden into my head is not one of snow or multicolored lights or wrapping paper. It is a very black night in which you can see every star in the sky, and there is profound silence all around. It captures both the beauty and stillness of winter but also those ominous qualities – the cold, the loneliness. The chord progression of “O Holy Night” embodies these things for me. Nothing explodes into glorious abandon quite like the chorus, but it’s so uncertain, teetering on a precipice, until the second half when the major chords signify surety in every bright thing in this world. Add in bells, whistles, and choirs if you want, or sit solitary with your acoustic guitar and play the chords – it doesn’t matter, the song will still carry as much weight either way.

I can listen to “O Holy Night” throughout the year and it always has an effect on me, but never like it does during the Christmas season. That this is the case is obvious, of course, but the sheer power in the song surprises me every December. I’m not religious, so I don’t believe in the song’s subject matter, but I believe in the song. After all, sometimes it’s hard to believe in love, or to believe that politics are something I should care about, or in any other subject that people like to sing about. I think that what is most important about a song like “O Holy Night” is that it compels us to follow – whatever it may be – our brightest star in that black night.

Sufjan Steven’s version of the song from Songs For Christmas:

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mynameischan
12.08.10
TYPICAL PUERILE CHANS PLANS

I also really really love "Baby It's Cold Outside."

Jakeitwasaghost
12.08.10
Alright.

Mordecai.
12.08.10
damn our southern hemisphere curse of a hot christmas!

natey
12.08.10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFtA7IHZgzw
my favorite christmas song

Josh D.
12.08.10
He doesn't like Christmas, HEATHEN!

Knott-
12.08.10
Best Christmas song is Tim Minchin - White Wine In The Sun

Knott-
12.08.10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCNvZqpa-7Q

fr33convict
12.08.10
Say hi to Satan for me.

Realm
12.08.10
didnt read because i'm watching porn

nice write up

JulianAssange
12.08.10
'My favorite Christmas songs utilize minor chords.'
'When I think of Christmas and winter, the first image that pops unbidden into my head is not one of snow or multicolored lights or wrapping paper. '
'it always has an affect on me'

chan you are such an interesting fellah!

JulianAssange
12.08.10
I really like the track

tombits
12.08.10
lol jesus?

Lions
12.08.10
As Tall As Lions also has a beautiful version of O Holy Night.

STOP SHOUTING!
12.08.10
made me laugh. made me cry. bored me shitless.

Aids
12.08.10
oh ehm gee Chan is back

Puzzles
12.08.10
Whoa, just read the opening paragraph. You seem like a real asshole.

Fort23
12.08.10
yeah christmas is great, but chan you should listen to odd future.

WhiteWallStargazers
12.08.10
Trans-Siberian Orchestra . .

bloc
12.08.10
Their Christmas Canon is classic

BallsToTheWall
12.08.10
I love holiday parties. We as a sputnik collective should set up a webcam so we can all christmas carol and interact in this most joyous of times. No penis shots however.

BigTuna
12.08.10
O Holy Night is an incredible song.

BigTuna
12.08.10
I also love O Come O Come Immanuel

couldwinarabbit
12.08.10
chan u right english good.

porch
12.08.10
i care

conradtao
12.08.10
"I love holiday parties. We as a sputnik collective should set up a webcam so we can all christmas carol and interact in this most joyous of times"

yee

I love Sufjan's version of "O Holy Night", cannot stand Josh Groban's, and like the many acapella versions that show up around town.

mynameischan
12.08.10
lol

well done

robertsona
12.08.10
this makes you seem like a really lame person lol

robertsona
12.08.10
also not like it really matters but "affect" -> "effect"

Zizzer
12.08.10
You don't have to be religious to exchange presents, but nice write up anyway.

SowingSeason
12.08.10
Cool little write up. Holy Night is one of my favorites as well.

porch
12.08.10
lol he didn't say you have to be religious to exchange presents

Phideaux
12.08.10
Not sure what my favorite Christmas song would be. Holy Night is a good one though. Good write up. I enjoyed reading it.

SHAKEandBAKE
12.08.10
Josh Groban's version is my favorite.

Also, your family doesn't exchange gifts? Not to be mean, but that is quite depressing.

Hep Kat
12.08.10
why'd my comment go bye-bye, i was being positive :(

thunder15
12.08.10
"baby it's cold outside" that merry ode to date rape

Masochist
12.08.10
One of my favorite Christmas song is "Christmastime Is Here (Instrumental)" by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. Or "O', Tannenbaum." Or fuck it, "Linus and Lucy."

erasedcitizen
12.08.10
This blog brought tears to my eyes.

BillyPilgrim
12.08.10
"chains shall he break, for the slave he is our brother"
at least there is something i can believe in this song.
still an excellent tune

GnarlyShillelagh
12.08.10
Misspelled "effect" in the third paragraph. Good shit though.

Electric City
12.08.10
"My favorite Christmas songs utilize minor chords"

same but my favorite is carol of the bells

thebhoy
12.09.10
O Holy Night is my favourite too

Spec
12.09.10
I love Christmas. Fuck the presents.
I like the snow, the lights and the all around joyfullness of everyone.

Douglas
12.09.10
"Best Christmas song is Tim Minchin - White Wine In The Sun"

Stikey knows his shit!

FyodorDostoevsky
12.09.10
Fairytale Of New York. Anyone else who says different has an opinion that is wrong

Douglas
12.09.10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCNvZqpa-7Q

qwe3
12.09.10
god rest ye merry gentlemen bitches

natey
12.09.10
"What Child Is This" is always grand
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iClHpepBY1I this version especially

TheStarclassicTreatment
12.09.10
I agree wholeheartedly, O Holy Night can not be beaten.

Curse.
12.09.10
Little Drummer Boy is my favorite Christmas song, which isn't saying much because I fucking hate Christmas music and the season in general.

ZBJE
12.10.10
woo sufjan! no matter what he does he never ceases to amaze.

Knott-
12.10.10
Last Christmas I gave you my heart but the very next day you realised that was medically impossible and that you hadn't seen your fiancé for nearly a week.

ZBJE
12.10.10
^^^lol

emmy
12.11.10
[quote]Fairytale Of New York. Anyone else who says different has an opinion that is wrong[/quote]
oh hiai

emmy
12.11.10
oh yeah no quotes
well don't i just look silly

DeadToPain
12.11.10
I've personally picked up the habit of dealing with Christmas music by singing along in Peter Griffin's voice. "I brought these gifts for you, they're up in my bum....."

FromDaHood
12.12.10
Baby It's Cold Outside is Christmas music?

Bfhurricane
12.13.10
I'm partial to Greensleeves/What Child Is This

foreverendeared
12.28.10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U13oQCTtlLc

had to come back and post this after seeing it

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