A stroll down Bree’s Christmas music memory lane
Christmas music lovers, this one’s for you.
Hey! It’s Bree. You know, from the podcast. And I wanna tell you about how much I love Christmas music.
For me, Christmas music is a portal — it’s a way to step back in time and wrap myself in memories of… well, the mall, mostly. When I was a kid, that mall was mainly Buckingham Square, where I went Christmas shopping with my mom. Christmas time at malls is magical; the liberal use of lights, the smells of fake cinnamon and sugar wafting from overzealously scented candle stores, the appearance of Santa, and of course, George Michael singing Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” a classic of the canon that deserves to be honored as the queer Christmas anthem that it is.
I worked at many stores between 1995 and 2012, doing most of my time at Cherry Creek mall. I began my stint as a 15-year-old employee of KB Toys and finished my tenure at what I lovingly refer to as my alma mater, the Gap, where I spent seven glorious years folding shirts. While most retail employees will tell you that Christmas music is a torture device used by corporations to remind hourly employees that retail is actually psychological warfare, I relished hearing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams 14 times a day.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” as I rode down the escalator inside what was then Foley’s (currently Macy’s, and formerly known as May D&F for you Old Denver heads). It was Christmas time at the dawn of the new millennium, and I was a college-age make-up scientist for Clinique (they made us wear lab coats to sell bars of soap). Just hearing McCartney’s glistening synths takes me back to those moments when the department store still reigned supreme.
I also have a soft spot for Christmas remixes, like the Beef Wellington smash-up of Bing Crosby’s “Happy Holidays” (which is from that Chemical Brothers/Fatboy Slim era of breakbeats). I distinctly remember hearing it as I tried to cram as many striped sweaters onto one shelf as possible at the Gap, praying no customer would come along and pull a size medium from the middle of the stack and send 25 perfectly folded knit masterpieces flying.
Much like candy corn, Christmas music is a maligned aspect of a specific holiday. People go out of their way to express very publicly how much they hate it. And I mean, if you hate the unadulterated joy that Nat King Cole and Dean Martin bring to people like me for a few weeks every year, I’m sorry I guess? But if you’re OK with letting the cloying, repetitive sweetness of Christmas jams wash over you, I’ve made a playlist I’ve been waiting to share all year. Here ya go!
— Bree Davies, Certified Christmas Music FREAK
Other Denver Odds and Ends
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🕊️ “Dr. Bailey had this hope in her that things were going to be better.” This week, the Denver community is commemorating the life of Sharon Bailey, who died last Friday. She is remembered as a pioneer in the takedown of institutional racism within Denver Public Schools. In her final remarks to the school board during an official appearance last week, Bailey said: “I contend that we can’t simply believe in equity, fairness, and justice in education. We have to create it.”
- In lieu of flowers, Bailey’s family kindly suggests donations to the Dr. Sharon Bailey Memorial Scholarship Fund.
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