Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cutting up Christmas like a Thanksgiving turkey

You might know British DJ duo Coldcut from their classic 'Paid In Full remix' or their hit song 'Doctorin' The House'. You probably didn't know them from 'Coldcut's Christmas Break'. Now you do. For which I am truly sorry, because this is bad. Not good bad, bad bad.




Coldcut - Coldcuts Christmas Break

Killers Christmas


Their albums may be a little uneven ('Are we human, or are we dancer?', WTF?!), the annual Killers-Christmas singles NEVER disappoints. Alle seasonal tracks are put on one EP, including this new track:

The Killers - The Cowboys' Christmas Ball (sorry, link works now)

F

All songs by The Hague-based Dutch band F start with an F. So here's First Noel:

A Fucked Up Christmas

Yes, I know the intro text of this blog assured you we'd stay clear of Band Aid, but although the chords and the words are the same, this is not so much a cover as it is a protest. In the words of Fucked Up's singer Damian:

There's a kind of cavalier colonialism to the original, like the West has to go in and help this poor Third World country. But the charities that we're trying to help are exactly a product of this colonial history. People who have been subjugated and oppressed for so many years are going missing. So there's an irony to using the song. The lyrics are tasteless enough as it is.

One way or the other, this is an interesting rendition. Not only do we hear the gritty but brilliantly layered post-punk we already knew Fucked Up could deliver so well, as a bonus we also get to enjoy crowd pleasers Andrew W.K., Bob Mould, David Cross, Ezra Koenig, GZA, Kevin Drew, Kyp Malone, Tegan and Sara and Yo La Tengo.




Want the mp3? Download via Mediafire HERE

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Teddy


Crawl up with me on this bear rug baby. I'll poke up the fire. Ohhh, you look soooo good in your new red see-through teddy, red stockings and garters. Sip some of that wine, while I put on some music. Silky smooth, of course, just like your legs, hehehe. Teddy Pendergrass, of course. Teddy never lets me down. This is from his 1998 Christmas album. It always makes me a little sad when I hear him sing. I need to be comforted baby. Real hard. Hehehe.

Teddy Pendergrass - I won't have Christmas

Celebs butcher Christmas songs



Oh, you think this was bad? Read on HERE

Keep Calm

Mr Keep Calm wrote a whole album of original, new Christmassongs. We like the Horse with no name-shuffle of 'Christmas shop' a lot. Preview it on his bandcamp page below.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas in the city

Here's a great Christmas-themed spotify playlist compiled by House of Soul.

Rue Royale

Rue Royale (husband and wife Brookln and Ruth) recorded three Christmas classics for a free EP a while ago, that's still up for FREE download!



In other news, go HERE to download and enormous bunch of folked-up and countrified Christmas songs, courtesy of the blog Songs:Illinois.

Away in a manger

"Jesus was born, hallelujah hallo. Jesus was born in a little box full of hay." Flemish comedian Urbanus caused quite a stir when he released this song in 1979. It was considered blasphemy because of lines like "The holy spirit hung shining on the ceiling, in blue jumpsuit and his purple tie. Joseph said 'Look, that's my boy'. Just look at his nose, it's just like mine!"

Urbanus - Bakske vol met stro
EXTRA:
Very pretty coverversion:
Nathalie Delcroix - Bakske vol met stro

Magnificent Tapeworms

With a bandname like that, you can't really go wrong. Their Gnarley XXXMas is a hot twangin' surfguitar freakout, that will turn every Christmas dinner into a raging orgy. Thanks Alexander for the tip!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

James Follette


The excellent Stubby already wrote about this BRILLIANT take on one of the sexiest Christmas songs ever written. With great hair. But I had to post about it too. First off, the video is great. So's the hair. The lyrics are wonderful: 'Santa Brother, slip a Gucci suit 'neath the tree, for me, so I can get all the girls". And did I mention the hairdo?
More Follette on Soundcloud


James Follette - Santa Brother

Vanessa Carlton


Remember Vanessa? From A Thousand Miles, and that Counting Crows-duet? Well, she recorded a Christmas-EP. More like a Holiday or Seasonal EP, 'cause it features an acoustic version of A Thousand Miles, a rerun of Hear the Bells (a song that came out earlier this year) and a rendition of two Christmas-y tracks: John Lennon's Happy X-Mas and Do You Hear What I Hear. That latter version is the best, I think.

Vanessa Carlton - Do You Hear What I Hear

Black Swans

'Lindsey Lohan meets Bad Santa? Nah, more like Scrooge with a cute wink!'

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas in California

Very sweet track by honey-voiced Ash Reiter, free download on Bandcamp:

Black Santa


Of course, the greatest black Santa of all time is James Brown, who made several terrific funky Christmas songs (compiled on this great album). This morning, I was randomly searching on 'Black Santa' and a few great songs turned up. The slow, deep and hard track by Melvins, for instance. An even louder track by The Red Chord. An instrumental by Kid Congo Powers, some hiphop tracks, some comedy. And this 2009 released, high-octane rock'n roll song by King Salami & the Cumberland 3. Who called their single (featuring a cover of Bob Seger's Sock it to me Santa) X-Mas a Go Go. So there.

King Salami & The Cumberland 3 - Black Santa

Nous Non Plus



American 'faux-French' band Nous Non Plus made a name with ironic, sexy songs in a French accent. Now they made an unironic, very sweet charity Christmas single. For every CD shipped, Nous Non Plus will donate $1 to Operation Homefront, providing emergency financial and other assistance to the families of US service members. Go HERE

Friday, November 25, 2011

Marike The Snowgirl



Dutch singer Marike Jager brings us this lovely cover of "Frosty The Snowman" and made the no-budget video that accompanies the song herself with her band. Fooling around with some cardboard, white paint, black paper, glue and cotton wool. Amazing what no money and lots of wine and chorizo can do.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Kik


It's a little early to call the best new Christmas track, but this track by Rotterdam-based, 60s influenced heroes The Kik is certainly in the Top 5 this year. No doubt. It's nostalgic, it R-O-C-K-S, it has a great melody, love those saxes, it's everything you want a happy Christmassong to be.

The Kik - A Christmas song for you

NIna Simone, Wouter Hamel


I guess it was Nathalie Cole who started the craze of duetting with dead partners (in her case her dad, Nat 'King' Cole). The result is usually godawful, and so is the case with Christmas Duets, a compilation featuring world renowned stars like Mel Torme, Supremes and Nina Simone singing together with an odd bunch of Dutch artists - jazzartists, popsingers and, er, Gerard Joling. Listen to snippets here, don't say I didn't warn you.

The sole track that's quite okay is the Wouter Hamel-Nina Simone duet.

Nina Simone & Wouter Hamel - I am blessed

Slashed wrists at Christmas


FANTASTIC track by Super Furry Animals-singer Gruff Rhys. Love the EP-cover too.

Go HERE or HERE

Frank Turner


A compilation of English folkpunkhero Frank Turner was just released, featuring a live-rendition (watch) of the Wham!-hit Last Christmas. Yes, I know we say in the header 'you won't see Last Christmas on this blog', but this is a great version. A bit far away, but still.

Frank Turner - Last Christmas

No Tinsel On The Town Hall

Great sad-sounding Christmas-track by Leeds-based indie-band Last Night's TV. Is it me, or is this a song about celebrating Christmas between the walking dead?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nicole Atkins


Nicole Atkins made one of the bestest albums of 2011, her Mondo Amore album is heartwrenching, emotional, soulful, catchy but above all BRILLIANT. Now, the gorgeous Jersey gal released a new Christmas-single. We love her. A lot.

Nicole Atkins - Little Drummer Boy

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Very Profane Christmas



We love fluffy, sweet little Christmas tunes here at Christmas A Go Go!, but when we had our powdersugarfix, we do enjoy a healthy cup of profanity. Here's a mix of 25 old and fairly recent foulmouthed seasonal songs. Remember to wash up afterwards. Download from HERE. A slightly adapted version of this mix is also on Spotify

1. Durwood Douche - The Christmas Gift (Just Another Christmas Blowjob). Released at the end the 90s as part of a fake-40s bigband album, this is probably one of the sexiest x-mas songs ever.

2. Marina V - Christmas is gonna suck without you. Gorgeous flame-haired singer-songwriter keeps it rather decent. Still, I wonder what's going to happen when the 'you' in the song comes home.

3. Denis Leary - Merry Fucking Christmas. American stand-up comedian/actor sings a fingerpoppin' jolly song with lots and lots of profanity.

4. Eazy E - Merry Muthafuckin' Christmas. Former NWA-rapper Eazy-E and his merry band of foulmouthed rappers tell the story of Muthafuckin Santa during Christmas in Compton.
Whip it good!

5. Legendary Tiger Man - Fuck Christmas, I got the blues. Portuguese bluesman Paulo Furtado is a one man trashy blues machine, who has mixed feelings about the most wonderful time of the year.

6. Deer Tick - Holy Shit, It's Christmas. Part of a Christmas-single by this American singer-songwriter who let's out his inner Tom Waits.

7. André Williams - Poor Mr Santa. The things legendary R&B-singer André Williams does to poor Santa, makes you just wanna *#@&!!!

8. Erin McKeown - Santa is asshole. She sounds so sweet. She swears so hard.

9. Bill Cosby - Merry Christmas Mama. No profane language in this song by famous black comedian Cosby, but this mama-and-papa-game isn't meant for children's ears.

10. Les Issambres - Christmas sucks anyway, Everything is shit. The little French town of Les Issambres was the inspiration for the name of this Swedish folkband. I guess they spent a really shitty December down in France.

11. Candye Kane & Country Dick Montana - Let's put the X back in X-mas. Country Dick wants well-endowed countrysinger Candy Kane to put on her red lace nighty and green stockings. The video's ready, let's celebrate Christmas in the bedroom.

12.MC Chris - XXXing Up My Christmas. A comedy routine set to a headbanging beat. Yo-ho-ho!

13. Nerf Herder - I've got a boner for Christmas. 'This lump ain't made of coal'. Just so you know. American punkrockband Nerf Herder were named after a curse made up by Princess Leia in Star Wars. Really.

14. Insane Clown Posse - Santa's a Fat Bitch. Hey, what did you expect from a couple of guys dressed up as, well, insane clowns?

15. Kay Martin & her Body Guards - Santa's Doing the Horizontal Twist. Sexy Kay ends up with a little man after a Christmasparty, who wants to do a new dance craze. She doesn't regret it.

16.Red Aunts - Little Drummer Bitch. All-female punkband from Los Angeles punking up the ole tale about a little drummer. Hard to tell what they're yelling about.

17. The Legionnaires - Suck My Balls, It's Christmas. This American countryband don't want nothing in their stockings, no kiss under the mistletoe, they'd rather spend the holidays some other way.

18. Cutting Pink With Knives - Merry Fucking Christmas, You Spineless Fuck. Just another screamo-christmas, from the bottom of their spinal chords.

19. FEAR - Fuck Christmas. Covered many, many times, but this original by LA-punkgodfathers FEAR still rocks Santa off his socks.

20. The Yobs - C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S. Taken from 1980's infamous Christmas Album by Britpunk band The Yobs (=The Boys), that wears the crown of the most foulmouthed seasonal album ever recorded. Bow down!

21. The Irreconcilables - Santa is foolin' around. 'That ain't milk and cookies in his beard'. Christmas is also the perfect time to mock your ex, as the very funny Irreconcilables do on the album Merry Ex-mas.

22. Arranged Marriage - Santa Just Crashed Into My House And He's Drunk As Fuck. Glad they could make a gentle song out of this gruesome accident.

23. Pansy Division - Homo Christmas. May your days be merry and gay! Brilliant track by legendary queer punkrockers: 'Don't be miserable like Morrissey, let me do you underneath the Christmas tree'.

24. Eric Idle - Fuck Christmas! Profanity was never so good to sing along to, with the Monty Python-member Eric Idle.

25. Mr Garrison - Merry Fucking Christmas. South Park-teacher Mr Garrison has an interesting way to spend his holidays.

Jingle bells, the SuperNote version

The idea is simple: ask a bunch of people to record a video of them singing just one note and edit all these notes together to form the melody of any given song. Of course a project like that needs a fance name: SuperNote.

According to these rules a SuperNote is "a vocal note. It is NOT a growl, grunt, or gargle-ly sound like the girl from Grudge made. That kind of thing might be called a “glottal” sound. A glottal sound isn’t musical in nature, it’s more percussive. If your note flirts with this low grunting sound, you will likely be disqualified."

So there you have it, the SuperNote version of Jingle Bells:

Lyle Lovett



Lyle Lovett is one of the few alt.country-stars who succesfully blends irony, melancholy and uncut anger in his songs. Thanks to the mighty Stubby (the best Christmasblog out there), I know now that Lyle recorded a few seasonal songs. Two covers with the lovely Kat Edmondson, one original. In which he sings about an encounter with 'a hooker at the grocery store', the 'girl with the holiday smile.' Stubby also mentioned another Christmas(-y) song Lovett recorded way back in the 90s, the absolutely beautiful Christmas Morning.

Lyle Lovett - The girl with the holiday smile
Lyle Lovett - Christmas morning

Monday, November 21, 2011

Joyeux Noël, ma gang de sans-dessein !



Here's a cover of 1970s close harmony folk-rock bank Beau Dommage's '23 décembre' played by the brother of modern rocker Éric Lapointe (aka 'the brother of') Hugo Lapointe, trying hard to really break into the business.

You can click here to hear the original version with lyrics. Typical Québec words to watch out for are:

- frette (froid, slang) = cold
- tuque = a wool cap
- ti-cul = an affectionate name for a small child (= little bum)
- sans-dessein, a very 1970s word for 'dumbass'.

In the end, the boy in the story wants a new hockey stick for Christmas because he sold his for a picture of a naked girl with her back to the camera hiding her bum with her hands. He calls himself a 'sans-dessein'.

Sex and religion, a great Québec tradition.

The production added some traditional Québec foot tapping, usually done by the fiddler, sitting down on a chair and basically tap dancing on a slanted board at their feet.

Coeur de Pirate



White Christmas, sung by the stunning talent that's Beatrice Martin aka Coeur de Pirate. With the orchestra of Michel Legrand backing her up. C'est magnifique!

Coeur de Pirate + Michel Legrand - Noël blanc

Class Actress



Quoting BlackBook: 'Performing under the moniker Class Actress, Elizabeth Harper’s latest album, Rapprocher, sounds a bit like what would happen if Dave Gahan, Oscar Wilde, and Madonna curled up together in the corner of a dark bar for some heartbreak-fueled debauchery.' I wouldn't call her take on age old Silent Night debauched - it's just beautiful. With bells.

Class Actress - Silent Night

Sunday, November 20, 2011

With Bells On


Vancouver-based record label Light Organ released a Christmas compilation featuring all Canadian artists, who play either hitparade-pop (Frederick), folky pop (Johnny Payne) or sultry electronica (Adaline). One of my favourite tracks is by fragile fuzzster (think Beach House, Best Coast) Jody Glenham.

Jody Glenham - Christmas list (Fa fa fa)

Don't be a bitch

'Don't be a bitch or you won't get stuff for Christmas'. True that! Punkrockabilly band 7 Shot Screamers put this advice to music. It was released in 2007, but with truths like that, it never goes out of style. Listen on their Bandcamp-page:



Out next week is this death metal rework of Jingle Bells by It's a Death Metal Christmas. This band is 'taking Christ back of out Xmas since 2003'. Listen:

Oh For Folk's Sake, listen already


If you are among those who believe Christmas tunes are best expressed through folk music, you may want to check out For Folk's Sake It's Christmas 2011 compilation. 'In the bleak midwinter' (by Paper Aeroplanes) and 'Love in a cold climate' (by Fiona Bevan) definitely brought me in the right mood.

Released on November 28th, but you can already listen to all the songs on For Folk's Sake's Bandcamp page. The album is being sold to raise money for the Integrated Cancer Centre.

That's the spirit.

(Artwork by Amber Cassidy)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rotten Christmas

Rotten Xmas is by far the LOUDEST christmasblog out there. Nice Guy Eddie posts screaming guitar classics by bands like Lazy Cowgirls, Shonen Knife, Crass and (below) FEAR. Go here to hear more.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Song-Poem Christmas :: Santa Goes Modern!



Check out more great songs here.

Emmy the Great


'This is Christmas' is a festive album Brit singer Emmy the Great wrote with Ash-frontman Tim Wheeler. It's released next week (you can check it on Spotify), it features mostly original songs. You can pick up Christmas Day (I wish I was surfing) on their Facebook.

In 2002, Emmy recorded a Christmas song with Lightspeed Champion. Very fragile, very cool.

Emmy the Great & Lightspeed Champion - Christmas in Prison

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Very She & Him Christmas


Every time Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward team up as dynamic popduo She & Him they produce a great album. Their much anticipated third album contains 12 holiday classics. I haven't heard the entire album yet, but the first two songs are really great:

She & Him - The Christmas Waltz (A Very She & Him Christmas)

She & Him - The Christmas Waltz by MergeRecords

She & Him - Christmas Day by Double Six

The Plimptons


Ah, the Scots. Very few people in the world can say the word 'snow' as charming as they do. So when a Scottish band called The Plimptons contacts this blog about their FREE Christmas songs giveaway, we're all ears. Listen to their Madness/Slade/Phil Spector influenced songs HERE, and download for gratis!

Elves are people too


One of the first people to recognise the power of sped-up vocals was Ross Bagdasarian, who in 1957 bought a taperecorder from his last money, and created Witch Doctor, released under the stage name David Seville. A number one hit in 1958. An encounter with a small chipmunk in Yosemite Park launched the idea of singing rodents. To cut a long story short: Alvin & the Chipmunks became a huge success, that started with a Christmas-song (this one). Decades later, the Royce Godrich All-stars followed Bagdasarians lead for a funny Christmas song about Santa's little helpers. Or, in their own words: 'Finally - a song that gives some credit to the little guys that do all the dirty work for the big guy.'

Royce Godrich All-stars - Elves are people too

Sunturns, Bird & the Bee

Norwegian alt-folk band Sunturns made a very pretty Christmassong. Available December 1st, but you can listen to it on their Bandcamp page already.




Also on Bandcamp, personal favorites The Bird and the Bee with their seasonal track:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

FREE Christmas Jazz Album from Stella Artois


This is a great album. Starting with the artwork I had a feeling I was into something good. It's a retro jazz type feel with twist of lounge. All free from Stella Artois. Let's raise a Stella and toast them for their gift. Songs are:

Side A
Deck The Halls
Nutcracker March
Winter Wonderland
Jingle Bells

Side B
Snowball
Baby It's Cold Outside
Let's Call It Quits
Auld Lang Syne

A few of the songs are limited to the first 500,000 downloads. Don't miss out. Get it here.

Maryse Letarte


One of the bestest Christmasalbums of recent date was 2008's Des pas dans la neige by Canadian songstress Maryse Letarte. Only original tracks, very atmospherical, solid songs. Her album is re-released with a French bonus track, a translation of Boom Boom (originally sung in English) (it's a Christmassong, trust me).

Maryse Letarte - Boom Boom (French version)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fresh Québec girls for Christmas

College prize-winning, charming and unsigned Québec a cappella group Les Gourmandes sing the Christmas classic 'Noël, c'est l'amour' ('Christmas is love'). One of the singers sounds a lot like Béatrice Martin aka Coeur de Pirate, also from Montréal. I think they would make a decent back up chorus for someone out there.

Picture fresh, clean white snow that shines in the dark thanks to a nearby street light while walking in a small village to a plentiful Christmas party. Or a big unwrapped Christmas present with red paper and a big gold bow on top.



Check out Les Gourmandes on MySpace and on Facebook.

Keb'Mo


Bluesguitarist Keb'Mo made a Christmas-EP. Like his take on blues, it's friendly, easy-going and, well, a tad boring. But this original track, with NOLA-flavours, is very, very pleasant.

Keb'Mo - Jingle Bell Jamboree

Incriminating clawmarks on her back

One of the weirdest, yet funniest Christmassongs ever is Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, by Elmo & Patsy. For the Rock by the Sea-album, Dirty Shannon did a very good cover. Check out the full album here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

No white christmas

Actor, comedian and R&B musician Rudy Ray Moore is responsible for the funniest line in a christmas song EVER. "You know, if the pilgrims, when they landed on Plymouth Rock, would have shot a wildcat instead of a turkey, baby, we would be eatin' pussy on Thanksgiving." Cracks me up everytime! Even when it doesn't have anything to do with Christmas. That's Rudy Ray Moore for you, any excuse to make a sexual remark is good enough.

'This ain't no white Christmas' is by no means a good album, but it is your typical Rudy Ray Moore record, sub-par R&B with funny sexual lyrics and a tacky, really tacky, album cover.



Rudy Ray Moore - Eatin' Pussy

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Santa is an asshole


'Tired of holiday hype? Gritting your teeth until New Year's Eve? Erin McKeown is too. Filled with profanity, irreverance, and just plain bad behavior, "F*ck That!" is the antidote to all that annoying holiday spirit. It's the world's first anti-capitalist, pro-queer, suspicious of christmas-as-patriotism, sex-positive, not safe for work, multi-ethnic, radical leftist Anti-Holiday record. There is nothing redeeming about christmas in any of these 10 songs. Please note this album contains adult language and themes completely inappropriate for children. On purpose.'More? HERE

Erin Mckeown - Santa is an asshole

Romanian x-mas

Whenever Frank Sinatra sings, you see snowflakes falling, fireplaces burning and instant x-mas atmospheres. But the X-mas feeling is something universal, so I decided to bring you something completely different this time. X-mas is beautiful and dark at the same time. The one who can bring you both is the Romanian composer Tudor Gheorghe. Here are two wintersongs to celebrate the winter and especially x-mas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubzedkF_A3I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pASnNXApXzU

I hope you all have a great time!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dylan goes christmas... and crazy

A wig, a white high hat and a KrraAAaaZeeeeee party. Seems like everybody's having a bit too much fun in this one. I especially like the chase that starts on 1:50 and ends with someone flying out the window. Dylan sure knows how to celebrate christmas.

Angry Snowmans

If you're a punkrock-aficionado, you'll recognise the pun in 'Angry Snowmans', for it's a reference to Angry Samoans. This band of 'displaced, disgruntled Elves of the North Pole' play VERY LOUD seasonal reworks of punkrock classics. In 2009 they released an album with the brilliantly titled 'Somebody's gonna get their halls decked in'. This time, the titles aren't as funny, but the music sure is snotty. Take for instance their twist on FEAR's Living in the city:

Sultry Polish jingle bells

Ah yes, it's good to be back. And what better way to start the holiday season than with the sultry sounds of Polish singer Edyta Górniak. Edyta who, you may ask? Well, back in 1994 Edyta was the first Polish artist to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Here's a few pics for you to watch while you listen to her rendition of Jingle Bells.

The gospel according to a sheep

'How to throw a Christmas party' was by far the most original seasonal album released in Holland. The band Brown Feather Sparrow and friends teamed up again this year for an EP. Listen/buy/download here

State of Christmas

AAAAAAAAaaaaand we're back! With a bunch of new contributors, you'll get to know them in the next couple of weeks. A whole lot of new Christmas albums and tracks are released already, or about to be released. We're picking the cream from the crop, starting with a fantastic rumbling coverversion of Let it Snow by Dutch rockmeisters De Staat. This is from an album called So this is Christmas!, featuring only Dutch artists either covering Christmas-classics or doing original tracks. Find it here on Spotify.



De Staat - Let it snow

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Last Christmas, a seasonal story


No, this is NOT an ode to the Wham! song, it's a Christmas story submitted by Dan Hart to get you in the mood for the holidays. Enjoy!

--

I was woken up at four thirty in the morning by a gleefully shrieking six year old. I wasn't even aware that there was a four thirty in the morning, until the drumstick bounced off my cranium and I was deafened by squeals of 'Preeeeeeeseeeeeeeeeeents!'

I growled at my little sister through clenched teeth, telling her that if she didn't get back to bed, no, not in a minute, right now, I'd call Santa Claus back here and all of her 'preeeeeeeseeeeeeeeeeents' would be burning in a bin by breakfast.

As dictated by Sod's law, I couldn't sleep after that, despite her positively statueseque display of feigned sleep. Resisting the urge to grab my lighter and make good on my sleepy threats, I hauled myself out of bed and went downstairs to make coffee. I opened the door to the kitchen and was promptly kicked in the crotch by a sixty-pound ball of grinning teeth and flapping tongue.

The dog was in high spirits that bordered on the psychotic. You know how heat rises? Well, apparently Christmas spirit sinks, and my family's collective anticipation and excitement seemed to have permeated its way through the floorboards, into the kitchen, and straight into our bloody labrador.

Once Gleam had been subdued with a couple of biscuits and a carefully-administered sleeper hold, I injected myself with caffeine and collapsed into the lounge, ready for the steady bleed of yawning relatives from upstairs.

Creaking floorboards signified that Mum was awake, so I pressed the plunger of the cafetiere and switched on the toaster. She came in and wished me a tired merry Christmas - the boys had obviously kept her awake until the early hours - and right on cue, twin thudding noises sounded above our heads. Oh god, they were up. I counted silently to myself.

Three. Two. One.

With a sound like frozen sausages dropping into a cardboard box, Andy fell down the stairs, collided with the wall at the bottom, and started wailing. I sipped my coffee, faintly impressed. He'd done that last year, too. And the year before.

Mum picked him up, patched him up, and mercifully, shut him up. His twin arrived on the scene, crowing with raucous delight at the imprint of the textured wallpaper on Andy's forehead as only an eleven-year-old can do. That didn't seem fair, so I dangled a dog biscuit over Felix's shoulder. Gleam's paws thumped into my brother's back, propelling him face-first into the patio door. I crowed with raucous delight at the imprint of the door handle on his forehead.

Mia had sidled unnoticed into the room - presumably after checking the pile of presents for scorch-marks. She spotted Felix's creditable (if unintentional) impersonation of Justin Bieber walking into a plate-glass door, and started giggling like a helium-infused banshee. The twins charged at her, sending her running for the lounge with a squeal, the dog in hot pursuit.

The whirlwind of kids and canines was hardly a silent one, and over the next few minutes the rest of the household (extended for the holiday season) joined us. We exchanged 'Merry Christmases', made several rounds of toast, dodged the kids still rampaging around the lounge and ensconced ourselves in armchairs and sofas.

As we started to exchange Christmas cards, Mum jabbed the remote at the stereo - before the music had even kicked in, the kids were singing in a discordant choir. A few beats behind them, the old CD joined in, and I couldn't help but smile. Perhaps it was a happy smile, at the innate Christmassy-ness of it all. Perhaps it was a relieved smile, that the kids had finally stopped squawking at each other. More likely it was a mixture of the two.

With the traditional mixtape blaring, things seemed a lot more festive. Dad set his cup down, and began his usual Christmas ritual - assigning us jobs for the day. The pointlessness of this endeavour speaks for itself: our roles are the same every year. He and Mum cook; grandparents monopolise the three-piece suite, comparing pills and playing I'm-more-ill-than-you; my uncle manages the alcohol stockpile; and I make sure the kids don't annoy anyone to the extent that it endangers their lives.

We let Dad talk, though. You don't argue with tradition, do you?

I nodded away, pretending to listen, and noticed that Mia's foot was dangling over the arm of her chair, absently jigging up and down. I pointed this fact out to Gleam, who was flat on his back with his head in my lap, and grinned as he rolled upright and licked her sole, causing her to shriek and drop her orange juice on his head.

I hosed down the dog's head and the surrounding carpet while the kids got showered up and dressed ñ we'd been lucky enough to have an actual snowfall this year, and if I didn't take them out to play, I'd never hear the end of it. With any luck one of them would be led away by a magical snowman, and my life would be a little quieter.

A quick shower, a quick shave, and I walked out of the front door with the air of a man walking down the Green Mile. Sure enough, three identically grinning maniacs in hats and scarves immediately popped up from behind the car, snowballs cocked and loaded. They fired, the effort commendable; the result disappointing. Granted, Felix's projectile came a lot closer than the other two, but it still missed me by a country mile.

I dropped to my knees, swiftly gathered three snowballs of my own, and went on the attack.

Mia was running parallel to our garden fence, presenting a perfect target but I just couldn't bring myself to shoot an unarmed six-year-old. I turned on the twins, and their eyes widened as they scrabbled to find a suitable hiding place. One dived behind a hedge, the other began desperately climbing a lamp-post. Thinking was never Felix's strong suit. I commenced pelting, catching Andy a perfect blow to the face as he popped to see where the hell I'd got to.

I spotted a tiny shadow creeping up behind me, pivoted, and dumped a loose shower of powder on Mia's head. It wasn't really a fair match-up, I reflected; three kids are rarely much competition for one adolescent. So I left them to it for a few minutes and went inside to see if Uncle Gaz could be tempted to join the fray.

He couldn't, as it turned out. He was preoccupied with the mysterious fact that there only seemed to be half the amount of alcohol in the fridge as there had been that morning. Perhaps if he weren't so drunk, he might have seen where the rest of it had gone.

Christmas dinner put a halt to the Snoer War, and after negotiating a ceasefire with three damp children, I led them inside, pausing only to let them throw the final snowballs they were obviously hiding behind their backs. The meals was delicious as ever. My parents are fantastic cooks, but for God's sake, don't tell them I said that and when we were finished, I volunteered to wash up. Mostly because I knew that the kids wouldn't be allowed within ten feet of our best china.

I scrubbed while Gleam kindly protected my feet from stray slivers of turkey or roast potato (they can be very violent) and when the kitchen was spotless again, it was time to open preeeeeeeseeeeeeeeeeents.

It's difficult to describe the present-opening session in as much detail as the rest of the day. One present-opening session is very much the like the next. The blur of happy voices, frantic hands, flying wrapping paper and grateful hugs is something I consider universally relatable. A few details come back to me, though Felix's new radio-controlled helicopter knocking the little plastic angel off the top of the tree, much to Gleam's interest; Mia's eyes widening so much at the sight of her new Barbie swimming pool playset that I thought they were going to fall out; Grandpa, sneezing his dentures right into his glass of port; Gleam, vomiting a little plastic halo into Barbie's new swimming pool. You know. The usual.

As a family, we don't really go in for the stereotypical falling-asleep-in-front-of-White-Christmas scenario; we never have. No offence if this is your Christmas tradition, but it just seems like watching television on such a special occasion is a bit of a waste. Unless you're over the age of seventy, obviously, in which case you rarely have a choice when you fall asleep, or what you fall asleep in front of.

This year was no different, and after the presents (and hugs) had all been exchanged, we were arrayed at random around the lounge and the adjoining dining room, doing our own things in companionable semi-silence. The twins were sprawled on the floor, using their new RC helicopters to knock as many paper party hats over as many of their wearers' eyes as possible, and Mia was sat between my sleeping grandmothers on the sofa. Under her enthusiastic guidance, Barbie was doing a pretty good job of mountaineering over the oblivious geriatrics. Mum was curled in an armchair, absorbed in her new Jean M. Auel novel.

Dad was caressing his new power drill, shooting smiles at various appliances and pieces of furniture as he tried to decide what he should 'fix' first. Gleam sat at the foot of the Christmas tree, eyes fixed on its reinstated angelic centrepiece, busily assuring her that he wouldn't try and eat her this time, honest, and would she like to come down and hang out for a while?

Me, I was sitting at the dining room table, making steady progress through a present of my own. Opposite me, Granddad was likewise drinking his way through a Christmas gift, eyes trying to get a lock on my poker face as he debated whether to fold or call.

It might not sound particularly exciting, I admit. But these simple activities, though many of them wouldn't have seemed out of place on any other day, gave us an immense sense of togetherness and festive well-being. Now that I think about it, actually, I was probably a little unfair earlier in my judgment of sleeping in front of the box on Christmas Day. Mundane activities, enjoyed alongside friends and family after turkey, presents and snowball fights, can feel just as Christmassy as carolling by moonlight, or riding a one-horse open sleigh.

By the time I was out of Jägermeister and Granddad out of money, Dad decided it was time we continued the traditional punishment of our digestive systems, and slipped off to the kitchen to knock up a few hundred turkey sandwiches. I joined him, using my University training to whip up cocktails for the grown-ups, and virgin cocktails for the kids ñ it was only lemonade with blue curacao in it, but they weren't to know that.

After dinner (technically during dinner; we had to move her sandwich before her face landed on it) Nan decided it was time for a nap. The rest of us upped sticks and relocated to the dining room, where a veritable mound of board games grinned at us from the corner. It was getting on for time now. Mia was finding it increasingly hard to resist her yawns, and I was finding it increasingly hard to resist throwing peanuts into her gaping mouth.

We played a couple of rounds of Cranium (her favourite) and then watched the twins howl with laughter at the plasticine genitalia they'd surreptitiously constructed under the table. The kids were packed off to bed once Mia's yawns started to infect the two boys, and the game changed to Pictionary instead. A clear family favourite, this. Mostly because my granddad can't draw for toffee, and has a penchant for reading the wrong entry on the card ñ so consequently will often draw something completely unrelated to the game.

This year was no exception. After a minute or so of frantic sketching, during which he actually managed to generate a pretty passable horse, he spent ninety straight seconds drawing agitated circles around it and gesturing to its feet. His irritation reached a head as the hourglass ran dry, and was not improved when I pointed out that 'horseshoe' is not an action, suggested that he try again, and this time, draw the right entry.

I paid for my cheek later that night, when Mum and the grandmothers had gone to bed, and the cards came out once more. Granddad took back, penny for penny, the money I'd liberated from him at Poker that afternoon, as well as a fiver of Dad's money. Easy come, easy go.

It had gone three in the morning before the other two finally decided to call it a night. I stayed up for another hour on my laptop, checking Skype, instant messenger and various online games, visiting my friends around the world to wish them a Merry Christmas. And as I shut down the laptop, turned off the light and smiled around at the room, bathed in the glow of the Christmas tree. I reflected that it had been a rather merry Christmas indeed.