I know Christmas music reasonably well. Some years ago I would create an annual Christmas CD and burn copies for families and friends. These became quite a serious production after a few years, and I managed to accumulate ten dozen or so Christmas CDs by various artists in an effort to find new material. I haven’t burned a CD in some time, as the novelty wore off, but this year I thought I’d turn my knowledge toward creating a youtube “concert”, or playlist, which anyone can watch from start to finish like a TV concert. Only better, at least as far as I’m concerned.

Before you watch the concert here are a couple of tips. ‘youtube’ is showing more and more commercials all the time, mostly between clips. Keep your mouse handy so that you can skip out of these commercials early. Also those annoying placards that cover parts of the screen can be removed by turning “Annotations” off. Finally, pushing the resolution to 720p, if available, will improve the picture quality. Unfortunately, the setting don’t always persist from one video to the next. And don’t forget to set the picture to “full screen” for maximum enjoyment.

Okay, you can skip to the link now and watch the concert, but if you should be interested here are a few more comments about what’s in the ‘concert’. This might not be your kind of music. I’ve selected choirs … because at Christmas time I like choirs best. I’d have even more choirs than I do if I could find more clips with a suitable production quality. (I play youtube clips through my music sound system so production quality matters to me.) There’s even a Dutch choir, but in addition to choirs you’ll also find Susan Boyle, Celine Dion, Josh Groban and classic videos featuring Judy Garland and Perry Como. And Pentatonix. And even Leonard Cohen, whose non-Christmas song seemed to fit the theme. (It’s not the ubiquitous ‘Hallelujah’). So it is possible that the selection is not your cup of tea … Scrooge.

One more comment. I found as I compiled this that art does indeed imitate life. This year we lost our dear brother and brother-in-law to cancer, and also an uncle. Those recent events coloured my music selection; I think I was looking for a balm, but not of the kind offered by “Jingle Bells”, “Sleigh Ride”, and so on. I do still like those songs, but they just did not fit in to the trend of things. If I do this again, the theme may be quite different. This year I needed catharsis.

Be warned that there is some unpleasant footage in “War is Over”. Go ahead and skip that one, but I didn’t want the whole thing to be fluff, as nice as it is to inhabit the worlds of Andre Rieu, English cathedrals, and Christmas lights and decorations.

In contrast to my comments about art imitating life, Oscar Wilde once said that “life imitates art far more than art imitates Life”. That’s also true. The celebration of Christmas changes me, I hope a little for the better. Christmas isn’t life, is it? We sing songs, watch movies, worship, celebrate; it has more of ‘art’ to it, than ‘life’, but the season does have the ability to give us a bit of a lift at the darkest time of the year. Jerry Herman catches this so well with these words:

For I’ve grown a little leaner, grown a little colder
Grown a little sadder, grown a little older
And I need a little angel sitting on my shoulder
I need a little Christmas now

(Jerry Herman, “We Need a little Christmas”)

Whether you angels are figurative or real for you, I hope you have one on your shoulder for at least a little while during and after the coming Christmas season.