Christmas Songbook Day 15*: “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime” by Sir Paul.

You need to watch the video in its entirety for this to make sense.

This song landed on my “Eggnog” list when I went through my top-five beloved, hated, “eggnog” (guilty pleasure), and “terrible to bearable” lists of Christmas songs back in 2014.

The original is still on my “Eggnog” list. It’s weird but I kinda love it. If there were an Island of Misfit Christmas Songs, this track would be voted President for Life.

Where to begin? The juxtaposition of Doctor Who-style synthesizer with jingle bells? The weird constellation person? The fact that the constellation person suddenly summoned a party of people dancing and drinking and singing along with a charismatic central figure who’s the focus of the…

This is “Must Be Santa” all over again, isn’t it?

Paul McCartney appears via cosmic magic (?) and starts the party in that older couple’s living room. Everyone’s going nuts, including the previously staid house owners. As he’s singing, suddenly you see that Paul (or his doppelganger!) is singing simultaneously on the television, and we are transported to that jam session. Everyone’s face is stretched with a sort of manic glee. It’s clearly sorcery.

So the question we must ask: Are Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan both Christmas wizards? Are they aware of each other? Are they IN LEAGUE with each other? Are they different classes/degrees of wizard, like Gandalf and Radagast? Or is it more like Gandalf and Saruman, since Dylan seems more chaotic and reckless, while McCartney is more playful?


I mean, the revelers are dancing around a bonfire singing, and at one point, Paul is singing back and forth with a doppelganger. There are angels leaving Christmas graffiti on walls. It’s pretty much a fever dream. (Come to think of it, the pre-roll ad that YT assigned to this song was for a chewable supplement that was made using that wacky tobaccky, so draw your own conclusions.)

I gotta admit, though, Paul’s bowler-and-scarf combo are pretty snazzy (and vaguely Tom-Baker-ish).

Bottomline: The video is wild, the song is an inane puff of peppermint cotton candy, and I don’t care. I’m simply having a wonderful Christmastime, too.


All of that said, here’s a fantastic version of the song, featuring another great scarf:

Christmas Songbook Day 5: “Christmas For Cowboys” by Jars of Clay (orig. John Denver)

My friend Kinsey made me a mix CD of Christmas music back in 2008 that has become one of my favorite holiday albums/compilations ever. It’s a great mix of classic Christmas radio hits and traditional carols, as well as some fun and funky entries. What I appreciate most about it is that it’s so eclectic. You’ll get The Carpenters, followed by Joy Electric, followed by Guster singing awkward Spanish. It’s pretty fun to pop that in during group events to get people’s reactions.

The mix opens up with Bing Crosby’s “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” — perfect intro. But then Track 2 complete switches gears with a contrasting vision of the Christmas season: Jars of Clay’s cover of “Christmas for Cowboys,” a song I would only later learn was a John Denver track. The stripped-down, almost somber nature of the track gives it a real sense of the quiet and isolation of the prairie. There’s something really special about that vibe that I enjoy.

Sometimes in the hustle and hasty moments of December’s non-stop pace, it’s nice to listen to this track and imagine a moment of quiet and campfire meditation during the Christmas season. Perhaps that’s the longing that my heart feels for true rest.

Anyway, it’s a great track, and the first of 2 Jars of Clay Christmas covers on this list. (The next one will be, let’s say, a bit more controversial.)

If you want to compare this version to the original, it’s tagged below. For my money, the slower cover version is just a tad better.