In our first installment of a series of collaborations with lifestyle magazine, TheSimple Things, we explore the idea of Christmas CDs…
Love it or loathe it Christmas music is amongst the hot topics of conversation over the festive period. Whether it’s on the radio, the tinkling of ivories in our favourite, tucked away bar, or background shopping music, it’s hard to deny these festive ditties are a December constant. But for Michael Hann, music editor of the Guardian, the toils of Christmas music start a little earlier…
Michael Hann has found a tuneful way to send seasonal greetings
Weekends in November become a hell in our house. Our family, you see, does not send out Christmas cards. We distribute CDs of Christmas music, researched, compiled, burned and then packaged by me, over the course of two or three weekends. So I spend November pouring through MP3 blogs and sorting through my CDs to find the perfect 30 or so songs.
Our tradition began at the end of my first year editing the Guardian’s music coverage, in 2006. Deluged in Christmas albums, I thought I’d turn them into something more fun than a Christmas card. The recipients seem to think so, too – as years have passed, I’ve started getting requests for the CDs from those who don’t have them, and now I have to make around 200 of them, each individually burned and packaged. That’s where November goes.
There’s a policy: the music must be either good or interesting. And preferably little known. No Slade, no Wham!, no Top of the Pops staples – soul, funk and folk provide rich pickings. And the harder you look, the better the snippets you’ll find – I’m proud of the year I topped and tailed the CD with Christmas messages from Mae West and the long forgotten metal band Quiet Riot. As I write, I’m just starting to think about this year’s compilation. And wondering where I might find the perfect song no one has ever heard before.
||The Simple Things is a monthly magazine about taking time to live well. We cover micro adventures and mindfulness, eating and growing, forgotten wisdom, home life and slow moments. If you like bobble hats and splendid pyjamas, baubles you can eat and a Boxing Day walk then our Christmas issue is for you. Buy it online at www.thesimplethings.com or at the newsagents.