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The Best in Music and Books

Posted on Nov 01, 2017 in Holiday Gifts , Sundog Books , Central Square Records , November-December 2017

The holidays seem to come around sooner every year, with big retail stores decking the halls and lighting the trees as soon as the last rays of summer have faded. Many have the courtesy to wait at least until the jack o’ lanterns have rotted into a soggy pile of orange mush, and others still refuse to toss the first bit of tinsel onto greenery until after the Thanksgiving bird has been carved. But then, all of a sudden it’s upon us, and even the grinchiest of people start to feel the holiday spirit upon hearing the sounds of the season’s first holiday music and stories. Whether it’s Bing, Nat or Dean, or even the soundtrack of a Charlie Brown Christmas, the holidays are officially here. And luckily, in Seaside, there are two perfect places for putting the happy in your holidays: Sundog Books and Central Square Records. The Christmas music, the holiday tales — it’s all you need to add a little marshmallow to your cocoa. The season’s best? Here’s what we recommend:

From Central Square Records:

“Ultimate Christmas”- Frank Sinatra

Who doesn’t love the smooth crooning sound of old Blue Eyes? This brand new collection of your favorite Christmas songs is just the ticket for a cozy night gathered around the (beach bon) fire. Twenty of the best Sinatra holiday tunes, including “White Christmas,” “Silent Night,” “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” round out this record; a must-have for that drive over the river and through the woods.

“Charlie Brown Christmas” Vince Guaraldi Trio

If the opening piano chords of “Linus and Lucy” don’t make you want to dance a little Christmas jig, then surely the haunting, melodic voices on “Christmas Time is Here” will bring a tearful twinkle to your eye. There’s something about the “Charlie Brown Christmas” album that is so traditionally Christmas, bringing a beautiful nostalgia to any holiday gathering. The record even has ‘The Great Pumpkin Waltz” and “Thanksgiving Theme” to bring the spirit into the mix long before the first stockings are hung.

“Christmas Cocktails Collection” Various Artists

This swinging collection sure adds the cool to Claus, taking listeners back to a jazzy ‘60s time, almost like having the holidays at Don Draper’s house (minus the disfunction and deception). This multi-disc collection features the smooth sounds of iconic voices such as Peggy Lee, Lou Rawls, Dean Martin and Nat King Cole. This collection? Meant to be enjoyed with a dirty martini.

From Sundog Books:

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”

Starring a cast of misfits (the six degenerate Herdman children), this classic holiday book, although written in 1971, still finds its place on everyone’s reading list during the holidays. Appealing to the hoodlum in us all, the book of course finds its way into the soft spots of our hearts, reminding us all about the real meaning of Christmas. This book is the one you want to read aloud as a family; it holds humor and meaning for readers of all ages.

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

Dr. Seuss didn’t hold an actual Ph.D., but he didn’t need one to create the most memorable and beloved books of all time, including the classic story of the green villain whose heart is melted by the Whos down in Whoville. The rhymes are infectious, the illustrations are engaging, and the lesson is universal. If you’re having any trouble at all slipping into the holiday groove then, take heart, because like the Grinch, it will surely “grow three sizes” when you read this book with your family.

Happy Holidays!