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Published on December 25th, 2011 | by Culch.ie

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Alternative Christmas Mixtape: Day 14… HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Well, here we are. No more sleeps. Santa’s flahed out. The turkeys are deaded. Happy Christmas, you ravishing and urbane Culchies! We’re wrapping up our Alternative Christmas Mixtape with a delightful trio of our own favourites, for the day that’s in it.

Aaron: Christmas in Hollis – Run D.M.C.

The tune that has it all, composed from a pinch of ‘Frosty the Snowman’, a dollop of ‘Jingle Bells’, a splash of ‘Joy to the World’ and a dusting of the innuendo-laden ‘Back Door Santa’. This was released, naturally, on cassette and vinyl back in 1987. It comes from the “golden age” of hip-hop, just as it was entering the stereotypical guns ‘n’ bitches phase that some people only see, even to this day. Some say Run DMC had their day sitting on the steps in the sun a few years previous but to me, they were always just pure gravy on top of layers of sliced genius. Another reason why I think it’s awesome: sure isn’t it in only everyone’s favourite Christmas movie ever (that sadly won’t be on d’telly this year): Die Hard!

With that in mind, ”I’m chilling and coolin’ just like a snowman, So open your eyes, lend me an ear I want to say Run-D.M.C Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” (Aaron)

Lisa: Hooray – Minus The Bear

We never seem to get white Christmases in this country, despite what O2 ad campaigns would have you believe. It’s probably for the best, as Ireland has the capacity to deal with snow that Superman has for glowing green selection boxes. Still, Christmas is a time for wish-fulfillment and, if all else fails, out-and-out fantasy. Why not pretend it’s snowing on Christmas Day by listening to my Alternative Mixtape choice, Hooray by Seattle’s Minus The Bear? It’s about… well, it’s about snow. Snow, and how adults turn to kids when the landscape is white and muffled and glorious and magical. Snow, and how time slips by so swiftly, and how you need to hold onto the special times and never, ever let go. It’s one song that never fails to make me well up. (Lisa)

(Video above was fan-made, taking footage from the Seattle snowfall of 2008)

Sinéad: Liberty Bell – Autamata

My favourite Christmas song is In the Bleak Midwinter, but that’s not alternative, and someone already picked White Winter Hymnal, so let’s go with the other one I have on repeat this year, Liberty Bell. Forgive the fact that I’m doing a line in Leaving Cert poetry analysis, but the old muthúchán are close to the surface for this one. From the first line I get an instant kickback to childhood christmases and heading off to midnight mass with foggy breath and my winter coat. Add in hymn-books of traders, the songs of buy and sell to drum up memories of being brought into town for Christmas shopping, Out into the living night to sup a little black and white as a nod to drinks with friends and mix with the pure-voiced repetition of let’s ring out the liberty bell to create a picture of the christmas idyll.

I’m a good few years out from the christmases when I was too stupid to notice that Santy had remarkably similar writing to my Ma; too young to have to have to stress about dinner and presents and too carefree to be doing anything other than engaging in endless rounds of hot chocolate and frosty walks, but this song and its beautifully crafted lyrics and comfortingly familiar Dublin setting helps to bring back a bit of the clear and cold wonder of winter. Have a listen. (Sinéad)

The full Alternative Christmas Mixtape playlist, with selections from our friends in the music biz, is after the jump. Why not stick it on while you scrape cranberry sauce off the walls or detangle your grandparents from an ill-advised game of Twister? Happy Christmas!

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