Pages

Les Mis the Musical Movie: I Tried To Pretend I Had Low Expectationsand It Far Surpassed My Wildest Unspoken Dreams

12.26.2012

Spoilers below!  Go see it, go see it, go see it.


Part 25 of a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things

12.25.2012

My most favorite Christmas thing?  Being with the people in this photo (who have their eyes open):


As well as my dear friends.  Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Part 24 of a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things

Christmas Eve service!  And the dinner beforehand.

We have a tradition of having French Dips on Christmas Eve, and tonight's were the best I've ever had.  My dad has a Traeger smoker and when I had my first taste of the meat I said: "Holy Mother...uh, of Jesus."  I told my dad he should travel the world with his Traeger, converting vegetarians.

For our Christmas Eve service we went to a BEAUTIFUL church.  We would have never visited it if our former youth pastor didn't work there.  I was in love.



It was the Christmas Eve environment I've longed for. And then our friend led us on a tour of the building, including his office where we got to see the progress of his incredible cross art collection (many given by friends--including me and my sister):


Part 23 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things

12.24.2012

BOOZE!  You knew it was going to be one of these sooner or later.  Of course I drink year round (but not every day, Judgy-McJudgerson), but there are certain alcoholic beverages that make me think of Christmas and the holidays.

First of all, is there anything better than a glass of Bailey's on the rocks?  Maybe with a shot of peppermint schnapps?  So smooth, so creamy, so sweet.

(x)

When Bailey's not available or I want something lighter, I love a glass of champagne.  I'll be honest, it's my favorite kind of wine.

(x)

Or I love a champagne punch!  I had some at a party the other night and it was delicious.

(x)

Speaking of parties, I went to one that had a great concotion: cranberry juice, ginger ale, and vodka.  There might have been another ingredient, but I had so much of it, who can remember?  

(x)

But I've had one too many (or I don't feel like drinking), I love a bottle or two of Martinelli's.

(x)

What are your favorite holiday drinks?

Part 22 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things

12.23.2012

Candles!  I've got the usual Yankee Candles burning (Balsam & Cedar with Red Apple Wreath) but every Christmas I put together a little Christmas candle display/shrine.


I was hoping that Fred Meyer's would have those same tree candles again this year so I could actually burn these ones this year and then replace them, but no such luck.  I mean, they had tree candles, but they weren't ombre like these.  So I will pack them up again in January.  But I love coming home and lighting the little tealights to create my little Christmas forest.

Part 21 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things



PIE!  Sometimes, if I'm very good, my mom will make a chocolate cream pie for me at Christmas time.  I say for me because I love and crave it more than any other family member, but really they get to have some too.  If they're fast.  And lucky.  It's the only pie I really love.  I like pumpkin or banana cream, but if it's real fruit I'm not interested.  I've always been more a cake person.  But nothing says the holidays like pie!

I don't have any photos of this amazing pie (maybe I'll take some this year) but I have some photos from an excellent pie place I went to with my mom, sister, and brother-in-law.


They were delicious!

Part 20 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things

12.22.2012

This is totally corporate and I'm a complete sell-out but...Starbucks.  Starbucks is one of my favorite Christmas things.  It's not for the holiday coffee!  Even in December I continue to order Pumpkin Spice lattes.  I love Christmas at Starbucks because they decorate their stores and have festive cups!

I loved the trees they had in the store I went into recently with its gold glitter ornaments:



I'm not nuts about this year's red cups, though.  I like the more intricate designs of past cups:

(x)


When my family goes Christmas shopping this weekend, I hope we make a stop at Starbucks!

Part 19 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things

White Elephant Gift Exchange!

At work our holiday party has a new tradition of doing a White Elephant Gift Exchange.  We've done one for years on my mom's side of the family.   This gift made many return appearances:

(x)

Oh yeah.  At my work party's exchange I won out with this shell Kleenex dispenser!  I actually love it.  (I'll try to remember to show it to you in action in the next 'Around the House' post.)


I forgot to take a photo of the gift I brought, but it was a ceramic napkin holder Kj (jokingly) gave me that was painted with an American flag and poor attempt at a bald eagle.  And inside the holder, this CD:



Did you know that exists?  Well, there's even a horrifically scarring music video!  Brace yourselves.  Seriously.



Do you have some interesting White Elephant gift stories?




speak no evil, see no evil

12.21.2012


Part 18 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things



Fires in the fireplace!

When shopping for a home I desperately wanted one with a fireplace.  A WOOD-BURNING fireplace.  None of this silly gas business.  Fake!  Overly easy!  Cheap!  Safe!  I wanted none of those features in my fireplace, no sir.  My childhood home had a wood burning fireplace, tucked inside a gorgeous stone mantel.  I loved it, as I FIERCELY LOVE EVERYTHING FROM MY CHILDHOOD HOME.  It was perfect, you see?  Perfect.

Here's that fireplace:



Here I am on my 3rd birthday.  The fireplace was quite large, with big brass andirons.  Here's a farther away shot:


It went all the way to ceiling...sniff.  I miss it.  In fact, we had two fireplaces: one in the living/family room and one in the kitchen.  A KITCHEN FIREPLACE.  Where were we--Italy?  No, we were in the most perfect house ever built in America.


Do you see it there on the right?  With the exposed brick?  Oh God, oh God, my beautiful house.  Why did we leave you?  WHY?

This has taken a turn.  The point is, I'm super into fireplaces.  So when I found a great condo with a nice big wood-burning fireplace, I knew I was home.

I like fires in the fireplace whenever the weather is cool, but it's a great part of Christmas because of how you can decorate it!



I hang my Christmas cards attached to ribbons on either side, frame it with little berry topiaries, and best of all, STOCKINGS!  One for each of us.  And like my childhood fireplaces, there isn't a mantle, which means I get to hang them on the grate, like I did as a kid.

I know what you're thinking, "Ack!  You can't have stockings hanging when there's a fire in the fireplace!"  That's where you're wrong.  Or safety-minded.  But mostly wrong.  The difference between my fireplace and my childhood one is that I only burn manufactured wood.  Back home we'd keep bundles of real wood in the garage, and have to craft a fire with kindling and everything!  There was a real fear that a log would dislodge from the group and send sparks flying out.  With manufactured wood you don't even need a grate, really.  It just sits there.  There's no danger of it moving.  Which means I can fold the grate so that it only spans the mouth of the fireplace and not the rest of the stone.

These stockings won't head home with me to my parents', though, as I have TWO stockings at home!  One my mom made and embroidered, and another my grandma made me for me.  I don't have a photo of my mom's, but here I am with my grandma's:


Part 17 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things



Technically it's Part 4.5 because it's Christmas DIY: again! Oh yeah.

Rules of 'DIY With Maryann'

1) Spend more money than you would if you've just bought something already made by a professional.
2) Do not use any professional tools.
3) Do not consult any professional advice or helpful hints on the internet.
4) Use the most inefficient method possible to complete the project.
5) If the completed project didn't turn out perfect, leave it as is.  You tried.

Today's DIY project is my tree skirt.  Remember my tree skirt? I showcased it in my post about Christmas trees, but Part 17 has turned into a separate post about the tree skirt + DIY.  Enough house-keeping.  Onto the goods!

My tree skirt was perfect--lovely design, large enough--except for one thing: no closure.  This is what I mean:



Often tree skirts have Velcro patches or zippers or even just a few buttons with loops.   I wasn't too bothered by my skirt's lack of a closure, except that the kitties LOVE the skirt, and get it messed up all the time.  As you can see, they're quite fond of it, even when it isn't under the tree:




They're fans.  So one night I was looking on Etsy for fun Christmas ideas, and I saw this listing:


 I thought, "Oh, fun buttons!  Buttons so fun!  What would one use Christmas-y buttons for?"  And then it hit me: to make a super complicated and inefficient tree skirt closure!

I bought a yard of loopy button laces.  I have no idea what they're real name is, but this is what I mean:



You know, like from the back of button-up wedding dresses.  Loopy button laces!  So using non-white thread because it's me (some of it's brown if you can tell) I hand-sewed it onto the skirt:


It was actually harder than you might think because the skirt is made of a kind of burlap, and so the weave is super loose and difficult to attach things to using tiny thread.  Then came the buttons:


(There were more, but this was the amount left un-sewn by the time I remembered to take a photo.)

I tested the buttons to see if they could fit through the loops before sewing them on.  To make sure the buttons would match up with the correct loops, I just fastened them as I went so I couldn't get too off base.  Super professional.  The results:



The overall look:


I really love how it turned out.  Mismatched and homemade and colorful.  Plus, super tough to open.  Unless the kitties eat all the buttons.  Which they are trying desperately to do.

For a Dying Tomcat Who's Relinquished His Former Hissing and Predatory Nature

12.20.2012

(Sorry to post another thing about a dying cat.  But he doesn't die!  At least not in the poem. I liked it too much to not share it.)

I remember the long orange carp you once scooped
from the neighbor's pond, bounding beyond
her swung broom, across summer lawns

to lay the fish on my stoop.  Thanks
for that.  I'm not one to whom offerings
often get made.  You let me feel

how Christ might when I kneel,
weeping in the dark
over the usual maladies: love and its lack.

Only in tears do I speak
directly to him and with such
conviction.  And only once you grew frail

did you finally slacken into me,
dozing against my ribs like a child.
You gave up the predatory flinch

that snapped the necks of so many
birds and slow-moving rodents.
Now your once powerful jaw

is malformed by black malignancies.
It hurts to eat.  So you surrender in the way
I pray for: Lord, before my own death

let me learn from this animal's deep release
into my arms.  Let me cease to fear
the embrace that seeks to still me.




- Mary Karr, Sinners Welcome

Part 16 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things

Christmas movies!  Everyone loves them.  There's the classics: Christmas Vacation, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Elf (though I despise the last half hour), How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Sreet (both versions), White Christmas, Will Vinton's Claymation ChristmasThe Santa Clause (ONLY the first one), Home Alone (the 2nd one is good too), Scrooged, Love Actually, Mixed NutsThe Nightmare Before Christmas, and Ernest Saves Christmas.

You might be saying, "Hey!  There are some glaring omissions in that classics list!"  I know, I know.  As I've said before, It's a Wonderful Life is too depressing for me, even with the ending.  A Christmas Story totally scarred me as a child.  Leg lamps?  Tongues stuck on poles? Eyes shot with BB guns?  I can't go back.  Some of you might be upset at the absence of Prancer or Santa Claus.  Prancer?  Too sad.  And we had a book of images from the Santa Claus movie and they scared me as a child.  It looked too serious, like someone might die or cry in it.  I should watch it one of these days.  Were you hoping Holiday Inn would be in the list?  There's a minstrel number in that film, so it's not making it (though I love it).

So, this list is made up of my Christmas films (some can be considered 'films' in an extremely loose sense) that are not always the first or second or third to come up when people think of holiday movies.  Maybe you are like me and these ARE on your classics list.  If so, I love you.  If not, that's OK too!

5) Disney's Sing-Along-Songs - 12 Days of Christmas (1993)



I grew up with Sing-Along-Songs, but even as a teenager I kept watching this one at Christmas.  The original songs are actually 5 times better than you might expect.  Well, depending on your expectations.  :)  It was from this video that I decided to sing "An Elephant for Christmas" (a less melodic version of "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas") in my audition for our community's annual production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  Despite that, they were kind enough to put me in the chorus.  The best part was when I got carried across the stage by a 'fireman.'  It was pretty romantic.  To an 8 year old.

4) Serendipity (2001) 

(This is the ending scene so don't watch it if you haven't seen the movie!  Or do because you know how all rom-coms end.)



Write it off as a cheesy rom-com, go ahead!  But my former roommate Amber and I used to watch this on repeat for days.  Which doesn't actually prove it's not a cheesy rom-com, instead it just proves that Amber and I like cheesy rom-coms.  But seriously, there's snow and skating and Christmas shopping in New York and hot cocoa and a WONDERFUL soundtrack.  Not to mention John Corbett playing a fantastic new age oboist.  The plot is cute, but it's the mis-en-scene of this film that makes it a must-watch for me each Christmas.  I mean, the use of the Nick Drake song in the above video.  SWOOOOON.

3) Peter, Paul & Mary's Holiday Celebration (1991)



I believe my family watched this when it first aired on PBS.  Or maybe it didn't debut on PBS, but that's where we watched it every year after.  Mary's shiny silky pajama-esque outfit is forever imprinted in my childhood memories. A few Christmases ago I tracked down the soundtrack for us, and it's been a staple of our holiday mixes ever since.  Unfortunately the whole thing isn't on youtube, but various clips are.  One of the songs is "Children Go Where I Send Thee", which was a tune they sung back in the 60s.  The song I posted, "The Magi (The Heart of Man's A Palace)" gives me such serious chills with the incredible choir accompanying Peter.

For the heart of man's a palace
and his dreams are as the sunlight
They burn away the darkness, 
as they warm the freezing cold
As an eagle flying higher, 
as a river through the canyon,
the diamond star shines down upon
a pathway to the soul

COME ON. Another gem: Paul's "T'Was The Night Before Christmas."  The whole concert is forever a favorite.

2) The Bishop's Wife (1948)



I don't know why I think this isn't a natural contender for the classics list, except for maybe the fact that it's super old and black and white and has bishop in the title and is $38 on amazon . So I don't think many people (my age at least) have taken the time to watch it.  They may have seen The Preacher's Wife--the Whitney Houston remake--which I liked, but the original is the best. Loretta Young is impossibly sweet and kind as the wife in question, David Niven is the perfect worrisome and distracted bishop, and Cary Grant is the dreamboat to launch all dreamboats.  I've again posted the end of the movie, which is only matched in my mind by the Easter sermon in Chocolat.  So this is my favorite Christmas sermon, and that's my favorite Easter sermon.  Sorted!

1) While You Were Sleeping (1995)



What?  Another rom-com?  YES.  God, I love this little movie so much.  The family is my favorite in any holiday movie, I think.  Goofy and corny and totally devoted to each other. For a brilliant breakdown, read Sheila O'Malley's blog post about it.  And of course there's a special place in my heart for a heroine who lives alone with her cat, wears oversized baggy clothes, and has to bring home a Christmas tree all by herself, only to end up going to Florence with Bill Pullman.

Honorable Mention: Julie Andrew's The Sound of Christmas.

What are some of your often overlooked favorites?

Part 15 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Christmas Things


Christmas cookies!

I never make cookies by myself (I usually just make dough and eat that--salmonella be damned!), but this year I had a sugar cookie at a party and wanted to make some for myself.  I bought a mix (come on, it's me), frosting, and sprinkles, only to get home with them and realize I had no Christmas cookie cutters!  So I popped out and found a star, angel, and tree at my local drugstore.

Here's the 'making-of':


And here's how they turned out!



And the greatest travesty of all: I only had about a glass' worth of milk left in my fridge. If you know me, you know I can go through a gallon of milk in 3 or 4 days EASY. And I absolutely require it in all chocolate and/or cookie situations. Except I oddly don't care for milk in my Hot Cocoa. I grew up with water, and to this day it's still what I prefer.

#194: Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 by Various Artists

12.17.2012

Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 by Various Artists (1972)

Favorite Tracks: "Dirty Water" by The Standells and "Night Time" by The Strangeloves and "Lies" by The Knickerbockers and "Respect" by The Vagrants and "The Public Execution" by Mouse and "The Shadows of Knight" by Oh Yeah and "Don't Look Back" by The Remains and "Liar, Liar" by The Castaways and "Psychotic Reaction" by Count Five and "Romeo & Juliet" by Michael and the Messengers

Thoughts: Hey!  I like a compilation album!  But psychedelic music isn't always my bag.  If it's too distorted or unpleasant sounding in its experimentation, I can't wait for it to be over.  But if it's lovely or catchy or has a great beat, I'm fine with it.  There were quite of few songs in this compilation that I would never have put down as psychedelic, but just 60s rock instead.

Some of the songs were surprising.  I consider myself a hardcore Beatles fan, but I would have to think twice before knowing if this were a Beatles song or not:



It sounds like a song they might write, but these voices aren't the same as The Beatles (to me at least).  And I might have said this was Bob Dylan:



Basically my knowledge of the intricacies of different genres and the artists within them is sorely lacking.  I was happy that I did recognize some of the songs, like "Liar, Liar" by The Castaways.

Overall, the album was fun to listen to and not as weird as I was worried it would be.  I do love 60s rock, and so apparently I love a lot of psychedelic music, too.

Is This Better Than Bad?: It's a compilation, so comparison is unfair.

I love this.

12.16.2012

(x)

Part 14 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things

12.14.2012

What's Christmas without SNL skits?  Nothing but the birth of Jesus.  Who doesn't love the birth of Jesus AND Saturday Night Live?  No one.

It will come as no surprise that my top 5 all feature music and singing!  Enjoy:

5) "I Wish it Was Christmas Today" by Chris Kattan, Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, and Tracy Morgan



I had to go with the original because I loooooved the 2000 cast.  By high school I watched SNL more religiously than going to church.  Which, if you know anything about High School Maryann, means I was pretty fucking devoted.  Can I just say how much I miss Chris Kattan?  I miss Chris Kattan.

4) "It's a Wonderful Life: Lost Ending" feat. Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Dennis Miller, Jan Hooks, Jon Lovitz, among others.



This skit always cracks me up, but even if it wasn't funny, Dana's Jimmy Stewart impression would make it all worth it.  Besides, the movie is such a bummer to watch (I can't handle it--even with the happy ending!) so I love to see it parodied.

3) "Dysfunctional Family Christmas" by Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, Jan Hook, Victoria Jackson, and Julia Sweeney.



Pure perfection.  My favorite songs are "Peace on Earth? Where?", "Why Am I the Only One Who Really Knows What Christmas Means?" and of course, the amazing "Carol of Intimacy."

2) "Christmastime for the Jews" by Robert Smigel (TV Funhouse)

Christmastime for the Jews from Bix Pix Entertainment, Inc. on Vimeo.

Oh man, this was almost #1.  The claymation!  The super catchy song (which is an excellent Phil Spector knock-off)!  And more than anything, the lyrics.  It's an absolute classic.

1) "Fun With Real Audio: Jesus" by Robert Smigel (TV Funhouse

(The clip I want to show only goes to 2:26, but the skit after it is cute too)



Yep, it's another TV Funhouse segment.  This one is #1 because I remember watching it in my home on the day it aired: December 13, 1997.  I was only 12 years old, but I was blown away.  The skit doesn't poke fun at the 'secular' culture's commercialization of Christmas, but rather the problem with Christians themselves, and their focus on things that may not have been one of Jesus' commandments to his followers, like acquiring money or extravagant spectacle or judging each other.  That wasn't the best sentence I've ever written, but you get the idea.

What are your favorite SNL Christmas skits?

Instanorm

In case we're not twitter, facebook, or instagram friends, here's an instagram round-up of Norm photos:


He's getting big too fast!!

Hobbit First Impressions! (To the victor go the SPOILERS--after the jump)

I saw The Hobbit tonight!


Part 13 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things

12.13.2012



Nativity scenes! Also known as crèches! Yep, yep, yep.  Welcome to Maryann's Nativity Guidelines and Standards.

Nativity Guideline Standard #1: Jesus is out all the time.  All the time.  He doesn't just show up on Christmas Eve.  Maybe if you were putting out a nativity the actual month before Jesus was born waaaay back in the last days of B.C., but otherwise, guess what?  He's been born!  Leave him out for all 25 days (or however long you celebrate advent).  I've heard tell of families who hide Baby Jesus somewhere for the children to find on Christmas morning.  No.  No.

Nativity Guideline Standard #2: For me, if there's a lady, a guy, and a baby: it's a nativity scene.  Maybe also a star above them, but I'm willing to excuse its absence.  Personally, my preferred nativity scenes have the whole shebang: angels, shepherds, sheep, camels, wise men, donkeys, oxen, etc.  In fact, my dream is to someday have a Noah's Ark Meets The Birth of Christ nativity scene made of Hagen Renaker animals (they also make a nativity scene, which would be the base for the whole thing).  We're talking dolphins, puppies, giraffes, crabs, dragons, horses, and squirrels showing up at the manger.  It's gonna be awesome--once I can afford it.

Nativity Guideline Standard #3: The finale rule is...THERE ARE NO RULES.  Go nuts!  You want a nativity made of butter?  Do it!  You want your Mary to be played by a Bratz doll?  (Expect lots of people to throw up when they see it--like me, for instance, but) Go for it! Do you want it life-size, ant-sized, underwater, in space, on your mantle, on your shirt, on your bathroom shampoo shelf, surgically placed inside your left butt cheek?  Feel free.  I'm ecumenical.

Growing up we started with one nativity scene.  It was Mexican ceramic, and looked a little like this, but with different coloring (more gray and blue):


There was also a donkey.  But you know what I love about Mexican creches?  They seem to always have female shepherds!  Or at least when I was kid it looked like they were ladies, and I continue to believe that.  Based on the photo above, I decide that anyone without a mustache is a lady, which means there was a wise woman!  Apparently I have a 4th Nativity Guideline Standard: feminism!

Then my parents went to Mexico and got...another Mexican creche!  It looked a little bit like this (but with more earth tones):



So for many years we put out two nativity scenes! Is that sacrilegious? If so, we don't care.

I do not have a nativity scene in my home.  I have a few nativity ornaments, but I personally don't count those.  Ok, Nativity Guideline Standard #5: my nativity must be on a low surface, preferably on a piece of fabric.  From there, it should be reachable for endless rearranging and accidental knocking over.

It may come as no surprise that I am quite drawn to...Mexican creches!  My sincere apologies if some of these are in fact from Peru or Guatemala or somewhere that is not Mexico.  So really, I should say I'm into South and Central American Creches (which most of these are).  But no matter the country of origin, two things are constant: I like lots of color and lots of detail (none of these photos are mine):



Oh wait, here's a few more!


And there's this one, which I thought was so cool I couldn't put it in a collage!  Unfortunately I don't think it's for sale.  And if it was I probably couldn't afford it.



(x)

Mermaid nativity!  What?  Love it.  I think overall the collages feature scenes from Mexico, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, and Peru--for starters.  I just love all the options!  I might end up buying one of the cheaper ones for myself, and when I do I'll let you know which one!

Do you have a beloved nativity scene or creche?  Or desired one?

Part 12 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things

It's more music!  This part is the top 5 Christmas songs that make my wail like a baby by causing me to look at my life or remember my childhood or feel my tiny place in the world or consider my relationship with God.  No matter the subject, the tears do flow.

5) "When My Heart Finds Christmas" by Harry Connick, Jr.



Cheesy?  Oh yeah.  Saccharine?  Sure.  But it makes me tear up nonetheless from 2:31 on.  Key changes, man.

4) "The Christmas Song" by Dave Matthews



First come the chills, then come the tears.  It's also in my top 5 songs about Jesus' birth.  The whole thing is perfection, but the tears really start coming at "why in all this anger do you fill me up with love?"

3) "You Don't Have to Be An Angel (The Night Before Christmas)" by Carly Simon (or Amy Grant)



I knew this song for years from Amy Grant's Christmas album, Home for Christmas, but years later I saw Mixed Nuts and learned Carly Simon had written it for the soundtrack to This is My Life, but it ended up on Mixed Nuts soundtrack too (both Nora Ephron).  Either version will bring the waterworks.  The lyrics that I love the very best (and have considered getting a tattoo of):

If your heart's been longing
you've been afraid to try
sorrow's kept you company
and the dance has passed you by
I'll lift you up and blaze with you
across a moonlit sky
on the night before Christmas

2) "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" by Stephen Colbert with Elvis Costello, Toby Keith, Feist, John Legend, and Willie Nelson



This song never did anything for me before I heard this version, and suddenly it was the saddest song I'd ever heard.  Stephen's sincere, tenor (?) singing, and each of their lines give me chills--even Toby Keith's.  The tears can't stop after they harmonize on "harmony."

1) "Where Are You Christmas?" by Faith Hill



I know, I know.  Many people LOATHE this song and can't stand it.  I couldn't stand the movie it was written for--the live action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas--but for whatever reason this song suddenly expressed for me the loss of childhood Christmases.  This feeling:




When I hear the piano begin on the radio, I have to change the channel.  It's too emotionally charged for me to even listen to.  Ridiculous, I know, for a country pop Christmas song, but there it is.

Which Christmas songs make you tear up and why?