Top Five Favorite Holiday Songs . . .

I would be a liar if I told you that everything is fine and well at home these days. No, no. The kid is fine. The house is fine. This is about things between Special Lady Friend and me.

It seems I missed a very crucial discussion point and consideration when she and I were deciding to merge lives . . . I never bothered to vet her taste in Holiday music.

And that, it turns out, is a horrible mistake because now I'm stuck sharing high speed Internet with a woman who openly (and I am quoting) "loves" Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne" . . . not familiar with it? Yes. You are. It is that song about the guy that bumps in to his old high school "fling" and they share a six pack in the parking lot and laugh until they cry . . . cue saxaphone solo anddddddddddddddd . . . scene.

Now I'm not packing up my toothbrush and chino collection just yet but I did challenge her to improve herself in the approximately eight months between now and next Christmas (her holiday) and to find some better holiday tunes to openly adore.

I even helped her out with a few suggestions we can ALLLLLL agree on (and or challenge) . . .

"Where are You Christmas?" by Faith Hill

Let's be clear - this song is super, super cheesy and all that one could easily hate about the holiday season but it is beautiful while covered in cheese and a light dusting of snow because - at its core - it is about boiling back all the crap and getting it to the core of Christmas . . . the toys the Grinch returned to the village at the bottom of the mountain.

"Celebrate Me Home" by Kenny Loggins

Family. By blood, friends, or union and resolve. They are the best part of the "holiday season" and the only thing that has us come "home" at all (it certainly isn't the wallpaper in your childhood bedroom).

"Last Christmas" by Wham

Stop laughing. Forget that this song was made in a very, very specific moment in musical history (the 80s pop window) and forget that this song has been covered a million times (including some that are actually better than the original). This song is about the regret that comes along with the holidays and with love in general. There is also a hint that this song - like so much of the holiday music genre - is really about the end of a year and the hope for the year to come. Nothing wrong with looking ahead. As long as it is past the 80s.

"River" by Joni Mitchell 

Oh, Joni. So full of regret. So full of sadness. So damned good. I have loved this song for a very, very long time (Robert Downey Jr. - during his stint on Ally McBeal covered it and did it justice) but the original with its regret and longing and wistfulness and the idea of the song's core theme really being the cold feeling of isolation - if on a frozen river skating away or stuck somewhere that stays "pretty green".

"Joyful Joyful (We Adore Thee)/Ode to Joy" by Henry J. van Dyke, composed by Ludwig van Beethoven

The greatest long-term collaboration in the history of music. Let's be clear . . . LVB never intended to have chorale lyrics set over his inspiring "Ode to Joy" but - in the spirit of Christmas co-opting anything it wants . . . here we are. But at least this is solid. For my money there is truly NOTHING better than that moment at the end of the concert or the Christmas Eve service when the talented orchestra or for-crap pianist is sung over by either the hack audience or the moderately-skilled choir and this comes out. NEVER bad. NEVER disappointing. Always wonderful.