They're all around us, year after year; tinsel wallpaper accompanying moments in shops you'd rather not be in, belted out arm in arm by people drunk on eggnog, anchored to blurry archive footage on BBC4. Poke through the Advent calendar doors as musician Holly Boson and many friends spend December 2018 attempt to hear these songs clearly for the first time, in a critical journey through the British Christmas radio canon.
In the first of a three-parter about former Beatles' Christmas records, Holly and Andrew Hickey (@HickeyWriter) are here, and that's enough, to talk about Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmastime, and whether or not it's more like The Jackson 5, Kraftwerk or Mull of Kintyre.
Check out Andrew Hickey's History of Rock Music in 500 Songs at 500songs.com.
With Christmas music established as being a late period Boomer phenomenon, I talk with my own late period Boomer equivalent - my father - about the surprisingly deep history of The Wombles, writers of "A Wombling Merry Christmas" and the biggest selling singles band of 1974.
Holly and writer/actor/brand Twitter account ghostwriter Oz Bloxom discuss "Santa Baby", by Eartha Kitt, Madonna, Michael Bublé, the girl who gave you your childhood sexual awakening, and the drunk at the office party. I had to change the podcast's rating to Explicit for this episode.
Why is the British radio canon different anyway? Holly and Andrew Hickey (@hickeywriter) listen to the intensely American "A Present To You From Phil Spector", plan what Christmas should be like outside of the 50s and the 70s, and attempt to explain why the Americans have got it wrong.
Content note - Phil Spector is an abusive and violent person and we talk about it, though not in much detail.
Holly, Rich (@richardbbrookes) and Laura (@LauraNMauro) discover the true meaning of Cliffmas, discussing Cliff Richard's Saviour's Day, Mistletoe and Wine, and the Millennium Prayer.
Alternative Christmas playlist entries:
Hoppípolla - Sigur Rós
Everything Now - Arcade Fire