Christmas Is the Time (The Best and Worst of Mark's Holiday Mixes (2005-19)

My Latest Holiday Mix Celebrates Best, Worst of the Past 15 Years

When I first started sharing my annual holiday mixes in 2005, I had no idea I'd continue this fun little tradition for three or four years, let alone 15  —  but time has a funny way of speeding up as we grow older, and hard as it is to believe, this year's collection is my 15th annual mix. To celebrate the occasion, this year's mix is a retrospective mix —  the best and worst, as it were of the past 15 years. I hope you enjoy it.


The title is a nod to the second track on this year's mix, "Christmas Is the Time (to Show Your Love)" by The Kids of Widney High. Released in 2005, I featured the song on my 2006 mix, "Stop Singing Those Dreadful Songs!" It's a song I really liked from my very first listen, partly for its infectious energy and partly because of the story behind the record. The group is made up of mentally and developmentally challenged students from the Widney High School here in Los Angeles. The students handle all of the vocals while friends and teachers from the school provide the rest of the music.

So you see, "Christmas Is the Time" is one of the good ones — one of the tracks I truly enjoy. Although, as with each of the previous mixes, it's not always easy to tell which of the tracks are good and which are included precisely because they're awful. I like to think that's because even the awful ones are so bad they're actually good. It's something like a closed circle — if you travel far enough you'll eventually come back to the place you started. (Huh?)


Anyway, there's lots of good and bad here, and like so much in life it really comes down to the ear of the beholder. The real point is that there's a whole lot more to holiday music than "Last Christmas" and "Wonderful Christmastime."

Take, for example, "Ain't No Chimneys in the Projects," by the late Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, which is Track 4 on this year's mix. It's about a young child in public housing who wonders how Santa gets into her apartment to leave her family presents. By the time you make it to the end of this short little tune your faith in humanity will have been restored by the Christmas spirit.


Track 5 is a bouncy number called "Close Your Mouth (It's Christmas)," by the Canadian group The Free Design. The song's message is a sweet and happy one, just the kind of thing you'd expect from a bunch of self-described '60s hippies. But what's really groovy is that it was first released along with a bunch of other anti-war songs on a holiday collection produced as a recruiting tool by the U.S. Air Force!

And of course there's lots more — 36 tracks in all — good, bad and ugly! 


I hope you enjoy it.