12 December 2012 1:26 PM, PST | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

1. Burl Ives, "Silver Bells"

Here's the problem with Burl Ives' Christmas tunes: I just want him to interrupt every recording by announcing, "I am an Oscar Winner, kids. I'm not just your f*cking grandpa with the pointy beard. I beat Lee J. Cobb and Gig Young. Suck on that sugar cube, Blitzen." Indeed, Rudolph's narrator scored a Supporting Actor trophy for 1958's The Big Country, and he wasn't the jolliest bastard you've ever seen in it. But here's the thing: Christmas is about bubbling-under rage, which I've decided that Burl has, and therefore "Silver Bells" is a definitive yuletide anthem. Score: 8

2. The Carpenters, "Merry Christmas Darling"

All right. It doesn't take a looped screening of the Carpenters' Christmas specials featuring the McNichols, John Denver, and Yuletide Anorexia to realize that Christmas meant everything to the Carpenters. Karen and Richard were nothing without their plasticine grins, that true indicator of the holiday spirit. »

- virtel

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