In the last week I have eaten and drunk my body weight. I have sweated turkey and wine and lazed on the sofa between beltingly long walks with the dog and invested vast amounts on the horses. And, despite contracting a grotty cold from a friend for the Christmas period, I have been on form unlike the horses I backed.
Furthermore, the shops and bars have replaced their generic synthetic-pop drivel soundtracks with festive key-tappers. Marvellous to some, like a vomit of tinsel in the face to the grinchs.
I, for one, love Christmas and, like the lunch, I want it with all the trimmings. The songs are a bonus and a perfect complement to the shopping and mince pies. Like the pre-scandal Top of The Pops I have compiled my top ten Christmas mega-hit list.
1. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the year by Andy Williams.
The singer who watched girls go by was also the owner of the smoothest voice, like a sweet cocktail at a Californian pool party. Nonetheless, the crooner was able turn his hand and ruffled shirt to a Christmas tune in 1963.
2. Last Christmas by Wham.
George Michael, apparently signing about a woman, shook his hips and pouted to this tale of broken hearts. His stonewash jeans, bleached mullet, oversized knitwear, makeup and dangling earring make this 80’s hit a surreptitiously camp, snowy delight. And, of course, don’t forget Michael strolling around with a cake with sparklers on it! Sadly the Englishman passed away – aptly – on Christmas Day this year.
3. Step into Christmas by Elton John
If Wham’s jingle was subtle, Elton’s was unsurprisingly as camp as Christmas. As one can only image the piano sings like a sparkly tree, Elton’s outfit glimmered like tinsel but his voice booms like a raspy drunken Santa at a Christmas party.
4. Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie
We all know this song and it has been reproduced by many tuneful troubadours. Nevertheless, no version of this old song is as perfectly sung and visually odd than this unlikely duo. The video – widely viewable on YouTube – has the conservative, elderly Crosby shuffling around with a bumbling smile on his face but the mulleted rake thin Bowie has an almost demonic grin on his face, as if he had an inordinate amount of cocaine coursing through his veins.
5. Well I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday by Wizard
Another visually peculiar video – the lead singer’s white hip-length hair is supplemented with pallid blue and silver face paint; and a red and white hooped bobble hat. The song on the other hand is a tour de force and the moment you hear for the first time in December, it very much feels festive.
6. Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney
The effervescent and thoroughly annoying former Beatle loves a Christmas jingle almost as much as he does money: McCartney sings lead vocals and credits himself with keyboards, synthesiser, guitar, drums, percussion on the 1979 hit. The catchy song is not as bad as Mull of Kintyre but not as good as Yesterday. A guilty pleasure.
7. The Fairytale of New York by The Pogues
For many, Christmas is a time for peace on Earth, while others exult in its booze-fuelled chaos and search for a good old fashioned barney with a loved one. This exquisite duet is whisky-stained, spiteful and incoherent. Singer Shane McGowan stumbles beautifully through this song that sums up Christmas excess.
8. Merry Christmas Everyone by Slade
Noddy Holder’s unmistakable screech of ‘Its Christmas’ at the start of this festive staple is an excellent aide for awaking an elderly relative who’s snoring at the table post lunch. It is also a great song at a Christmas party; the sort of song that sees mad aunts dance with truculent teens.
9. Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin’ Stevens
The opening jingle and idyllic opening line of ‘Snow is fallin all around me’ is a complete fabrication of an English Christmas. It rarely snows but the chippy little scouser transforms the grim grey December sky of London to snow ravaged scene; filled with mulled wine and the genuine feeling that Father Christmas may be hiding behind the tree.
10. All I want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey
This is not my favourite X-Mas tune but I have been credibly informed by many women that this is the choice for the doleful females of the world. The diva booms out the romantic tune with such gusto that one is almost to believe the notion of love at Christmas time, almost.