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Friday, December 22, 2017

#4 - Top 25 Christmas Songs (According To Me!)

Here we are!  The final push for the holiday season!  We are at Day #22 in the POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR, which means that we have just four songs to go in my Christmas song countdown!  But don't think that I'm going into hibernation for the rest of the year.  I'm already planning my year end review of 2017.  I'd like to call it the best and worst of 2017, but I'm having a hard time finding too many best moments.  I'm sure that once Christmas is over, I'll figure out something to write.

In the meantime, I'm going to talk about Song #4 on my Christmas countdown.  This song, as well as tomorrow's songs will be instrumentals (though not related to each other in any way).

In fact, the only thing that both songs have in common with me is that I started to appreciate both songs after seeing them used in a Christmas special on television.

Such is the case with today's song.  "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite".  In all actuality, I probably could have posted the whole score from "The Nutcracker Suite" because I really enjoy listening to it every Christmas. 

Why I chose "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is because to me it sounds like the most Christmasy of all the tunes in the bunch.  It's a beautiful song to wrap presents to, or have in the background as you're doing up Christmas cards, or listening to on your iPod to drown out negative thoughts from crabby people in the stores and on the streets.

And yes, I have done exactly that!

Nutcrackers are also a bit of a big deal in my Christmas celebrations - well, at least where my sister is concerned.  She does have a collection of over three hundred of them.  Or, is it four hundred?  I don't know, I sort have lost count.  But I do have to admit that I find nutcrackers very cool.  Even though I've never actually used a nutcracker to crack open a nut.

Now, most of you know what the Nutcracker is about.  A prince became the victim of a spell cast by the Evil Vizier and the Rat King which transformed him into a Nutcracker doll, and caused the Vizier to take over control of Toyland.  To break the curse, the Nutcracker needed to get control of the ring that would transform him back, but the ring is hidden inside of an enchanted walnut, and only the Sugar Plum Fairy could break it open. 

And you want to know how I know the story so well?  Well, admittedly I watched a loose retelling of the tale via a cartoon show that I used to watch when I was a kid - one that I probably should be embarrassed to admit to watching but you know what...I'll own it.

"The Care Bears Nutcracker" was my first exposure to the tale of the Nutcracker, and while some parts were super schmaltzy and way too sweet for my tasted, I did appreciate the story behind it.  How the Care Bears were trying to save Toyland while also trying to cheer up a little girl named Anna.  And how the search for the ring that would break the curse coincided with Hugs and Tugs' quest to find their own ornament for the Care-a-Lot Christmas tree.  Looking back on it, it was a decent effort at a holiday special starring the Care Bears, and it was released almost thirty years ago when the Bears were at the peak of popularity.

But the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy will continue to be performed for years to come.  After all, it has been performed since 1892!  Have a listen!

Now, tomorrow's song as mentioned is also an instrumental - and it somehow turns a jazz classic into one of the 1960s grooviest Christmas tunes!

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