11 People You Didn't Know Had Christmas Albums, But Honestly They Probably Shouldn't

11 People You Didn't Know Had Christmas Albums, But Honestly They Probably Shouldn't

Who knew.
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After the release of Sia’s new album "Everyday is Christmas" and Gwen Stefani’s "You Make It Feel Like Christmas", it would seem that just about everyone has released a Christmas album, and you would be right! In this list, I will bring you albums you never knew existed and never wanted to! From Snoop Dogg to Smash Mouth, I bring you holiday cheer in the form of a desperate attempt at money making (or maybe a need to express creativity through bells and chorus.) Enjoy!

1. Bob Dylan - "Christmas in the Heart"


This one might be a little bit more mainstream than the others on the list. If you are a fan of classic rock, you might be familiar with this gem. The album includes fifteen tracks of classic Christmas tunes such as "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Do You Hear What I Hear". This is Bob Dylan’s thirty-fourth studio album and was released in 2009 for the charity Feeding America. Bob Dylan’s raspy voice might not be what you expect on a Yuletide track, but it exists.

2. Bad Religion - "Christmas Songs"

The punk rock band from California had played Christmas songs at concerts before, but no one expected them to release a full Christmas album. This album, containing nine songs, is actually pretty great. The recording is solid, it’s listenable, just unexpected. The band had even denied the possibility of a Christmas album in the past. However, they surprised us in 2013 when they dropped this Christmas miracle.

3. Flaming Lips - "Imagene Peise: Atlas Eets Christmas"

Flaming Lips have a Christmas album? Believe it or not, they have two! I titled this one with their Christmas album that at least has recognizable covers of traditional Christmas tunes. Flaming Lips have always been known for their eclectic, eccentric and trippy music but imagine that in the form of carols and cheer. Their first Christmas album is called "Christmas on Mars" which is actually a soundtrack from a film they helped direct. The Flaming Lips have a movie? Apparently. "Imagene Peise" contains eleven tracks all filled with weird goodness. "Christmas on Mars" has twelve songs.

4. Christopher Lee - "Heavy Metal Christmas EP"

Christopher Lee, known for his roles in "Lord of the Rings" as Saruman and Count Dooku in "Star Wars" also made metal music. In 2012, Christopher Lee recorded a Christmas EP with two tracks, "A Little Drummer Boy" and "Silent Night". The following year, he released another EP called "A Heavy Metal Christmas Too" featuring a song called "Jingle Hell" which held the twenty-two spot in the Billboard Top 100 making Lee, at the age of 91, the oldest person to hold a spot in the Billboard top 100.

5. Snoop Dogg - "Christmas in the Dogghouse"

In a way, this isn’t that much of a surprise. A few hip-hop artists have dabbled in the holiday spirit including Afroman and Kanye West. Snoop Dogg’s Christmas album is as smooth and groovy as any album done by Snoop Dogg and contains twenty tracks to trim your tree to. Do be careful though, it might contain adult themes. Just don’t listen to it around your grandparents.

6. David Hasselhoff - "The Night Before Christmas"

There are Christmas albums that are so beautiful that it feels Santa’s elves might have constructed it themselves. And then there’s this album. For those of you who might be too young to even know who David Hasselhoff is, he was that weird muscled guy that was a heartthrob or something because he was on "Baywatch" and "Knight Rider" in the 80s. Well, yeah, he released a Christmas album for some reason. Anyways, it’s about has campy and weird as you would think, it being made in 2004 which was way beyond the end of his career. I would still listen to it for a few chuckles. Or nightmares. Your pick.

7. Rosie O’Donnell - "Another Rosie Christmas"

I just want you to understand that she has not one, but two Christmas albums under her belt. I didn’t say that all of these albums were winners. In fact, most of the rest of the albums on this list will have made you wish the eggnog was spiked because oh boy, we’re on an adventure. Rosie O’Donnell’s album is kind of the late 90s, early ‘00s fever dream featuring artists like Jessica Simpson, Cher, Destiny’s Child before Beyonce left them, Angelica Pickles from the Rugrats and Elmo from Sesame Street. Yes, she includes fictional characters in this fourteen track collaboration. There’s something almost charming about it. Almost. Dive back into a time where people still said, “surf the web” and enjoy a masterpiece.

8. Twisted Sister- "A Twisted Christmas"

I realize that some of you on here might be very young and have no idea who Twisted Sister is, but I can guarantee you have heard their music before. They are the eighties hair metal artists known for "We’re Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock" (the one that Spongebob covered in the Spongebob Squarepants Movie in 2005). Well, anyways, apparently they made a Christmas album in 2009. This album features all of your Christmas favorites with a hair metal twist.

9. Weezer - "Christmas with Weezer"

The 90s LA rock band known for their punk rock appeal has their own Christmas Album released in 2009. The album had actually been previously recorded for an ios game called "Tap Tap" which was similar to that of Rock Band and Guitar Hero but for phones. The band decided to release it as an EP containing six covers of traditional songs. Honestly, the album is cute. It’s pop punk in all of its glory with a dash of Christmas. What’s not to love?

10. Billy Idol - "Happy Holidays"

We all know Billy Idol as the classic new wave artist popularized by singles such as "White Wedding", "Rebel Yell", and "Mony Mony", but did you know he released a Christmas Album? I don’t think he did either. There isn’t much on the album. In fact, the Wikipedia page is pretty sparse. However, I was able to find a few YouTube music videos and it’s pretty clear why this album is hard to find. It’s kind of a mess. In the videos, it’s pretty evident that Billy was at the end of his career and thought maybe this would be a fine idea. It wasn’t.

11. Smash Mouth - "A Gift of Rock"

Somebody once told me a relic from the 90s decided to make an album filled with bass and holiday cheer. The group, famous for their hit, All Star which appeared in the popular movie, Shrek, decided one day in 2005 to make a Christmas album. Beyond the beauty of being a meme, it’s actually a really nice album. The ten song album includes a cover of "Zat You Santa Claus" popularized by Louis Armstrong as well as several original Christmas themed songs.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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40 Things To Do During Summer Vacation

Because we all know four months without college friends or classes is WAY too long.
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It's been less than a week since finals wrapped up at the University of Minnesota, and I, among many of my other friends, are already lost on things to do. Since January, our entire schedules have been filled with homework and studying. The new freedom summer brings provides endless time (in between our summer job shifts, of course) for new activities and things you wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to do during the school year. Below is a list of 40 different activities to keep you entertained during your break and to ensure you make the most of your summer.


1. Learn a new language.

I highly recommend starting with Duolingo. It's an app that provides free language tutoring through a series of activities and exercises. It offers a wide variety of languages such as Spanish, German, Greek, Swahili, among many others.

2. Volunteer.

There's an endless amount of volunteering opportunities offered throughout every major city in the country. For example, many hospitals will accept volunteers, as well as organizations in Minnesota such as Feed, My Starving Children, or the Ronald McDonald House. Most positions only require an application but be sure to check for minimum requirements such as age or experience.

3. Read a book.

Go to a library and wander until you find a book you think you'll like. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

4. Watch a TED talk.

This is one of my favorite hobbies any time of the year. TED is a nonprofit organization that shares short, approximately 15-minute videos ranging from science to business to global issues. There's a topic out there for everyone.

5. Start a garden.

Even if you don't have any outdoor space, succulents and cacti are very low maintenance and still add a little "green" to your indoor space.

6. Go camping.

Whether it's at a campground or in your backyard, enjoy the technology-free time with your family or friends.

7. Paint.

If you're not an artistic person, go to the store, buy a set of Crayola watercolors, and just paint.

8. Take an online course.

Coursera and edX both supply free online courses from top universities such as Yale, MIT, and Harvard. If you're trying to further your understanding of a particular topic such as physics or biology, I suggest starting with these websites.

9. Bake brownies or cookies.

Most stores stock up on the prepared cookie or brownie mixes, but if you have the time and ingredients, try making them from scratch.

10. Fly a kite.

Kites are available on Amazon for $10-$15, and instruction videos are available on YouTube to help you get started.

11. Play board games.

Life and Scrabble are my go-to's.

12. Make a scrapbook of old memories.

If you have the time and a little extra money, I promise the end-product will be worthwhile.

13. Start a journal.

You don't have to go buy the fancy Moleskin journals or buy an expensive one from Barnes and Noble, a simple notebook will do the trick. Write down your thoughts and document your summer.

14. Go to the beach.

Enjoy the sunshine, but don't forget sunscreen!

15. Go fishing.

Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and one of them is most likely within driving distance. Take the time on a nice, calm morning, and go fishing.

16. Binge-watch a TV show on Netflix.

"The Office," "Friends," "New Girl," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Grey's Anatomy" are good places to start.

17. Start a bucket list and cross off one item every week.

The items added don't have to be spectacular and nearly unattainable, they can be little things, too. In other words, I'm not expecting you to go skydiving, swim with sharks, and go on a cruise all in one month.

18. Learn to rock climb.

Both indoor and outdoor rock climbing are available depending on your level of comfort and experience. Remember to take every safety precaution and have fun.

19. Catch up with an old friend over coffee.

Call the friend you haven't seen in three years and ask to catch up over coffee. You never know how much their life has changed since last speaking with you.

20. Have a picnic.

Pack a basket with sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, and juice, and find a nice spot with a view. Maybe bring a book for a post-picnic activity.

21. Meditate or do yoga.

If you're unexperienced in both of these activities, many YouTube channels provide instructional videos. I'll post a link to one of my favorite YouTube yoga instructors here.

22. Learn a new instrument.

Whether it's piano, guitar, or even this $7.49 recorder from Amazon, try something new.

23. Discover new music.

Spotify and Pandora are great music platforms to discover different songs and artists. Keep checking your local venues and maybe attend a concert if possible.

24. Complete a puzzle.

You can buy puzzles online for around $10-$15. However, thrift stores and stores like Goodwill often sell them for less than $5.

25. Visit a museum.

The Science Museum of Minnesota and Minneapolis Institute of Art are two of the post popular museums in Minnesota. If you check their websites and other internet sources such as Groupon, you might be able to find a discount for admission.

26. Go to a comedy show.

I'm unaware of good comedy events around the country, but if you ever find yourself in downtown Minneapolis, check out Brave New Workshop.

27. Build a card tower.

If you're unsure how to do so, here is a link to instructions.

28. Reorganize and redecorate your room.

If you'd like a change in your life, try redecorating or reorganizing your room. Donate old clothes, books, or furniture no longer in use.

29. Marathon the entire Harry Potter series.

I challenge you to do this back-to-back with each movie, but I also realize that is 19 hours and 39 minutes of watching movies, not including snack or bathroom breaks.

30. Play with a pet.

It doesn't have to be your own. For a real adventure, check out the nearest animal shelter.

31. Start a blog.

Wordpress and Weebly are two online blogging websites that I highly suggest. Although it takes awhile to become accustomed to the platform, these websites are great because they're entirely customizable to the type of blog you wish to create.

32. Go for a bike ride.

Whether it's along the river or out on back roads, go for a ride.

33. Teach yourself how to juggle.

This might be easier said than done, but some videos on YouTube might be useful.

34. Take a bubble bath.

Some bubble bath or a bath bomb, music, and a good book will have you relaxed almost instantly.

35. Go to a farmer's market.

Support the farmers in your community and try buying local. With a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and flowers, there's something for everyone. The farmer's market in downtown Minneapolis is open Thursday's from 6am-6pm, while the Lyndale Market is open daily from 6am-1pm.


36. Exercise.

Go for a walk. Run. Bike. Do yoga. Play soccer. Just get up, and get moving.

37. Become a tourist in your own city.

Pretend you're from out of state and only have a limited amount of time to explore your city. Take yourself and your friends or family to the must-see places around town.

38. Color.

Adult coloring books have become an increasingly popular trend. Available online, Barnes and Noble, and Target, they're easily accessible. You can buy a book, some colored pencils or pens, and enjoy the relaxing day.

39. Spend time with your family and friends.

Whether it's a movie day or going out on a walk, put away your phone or laptop for a day and appreciate the people standing around you.

40. Enjoy all the time you have not worrying about studying or homework.

Cover Image Credit: Joe Pizzio // Unsplash

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Christmas Of Remembrance Series: My Last Letter

Christmas time is not about the gifts... It is about something far, far more special.

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Dear Reader,

Thank you for your time.

This is a series that I have dedicated to those I have loved and lost. It was merely a thought, then an idea, and now a realized creation. Christmas time… all winter really is a hard time for me. It holds this duality in my life of being both my favorite and also my least favorite and difficult time of year. It has been that way for years now.

In a way, this series aids my closure and healing further, and it allows me to tell my story in a way that, to me, is less scary (one of the many great facets of this platform). It was never my intention to write this in order to reach people, or encourage people, or serve as an inspiration to anyone. This was for me and only me. No one else. But, if these pieces of writing do impact someone, somewhere, or make them feel encouraged or inspired in some way or another, or just simply make them feel, then I hope you have enjoyed them. If I can make someone feel, then I guess I have done my job.

The life of an artist is often an uncertain one. The life of a human is a trying one. But life is a journey, and all journeys have their trials. Their tests. Their triumphs and rewards. And they all have their losses. What matters most is what you make of all of it. What lessons you learn. What changes you make. What life you create for yourself. What art you create because of it all. It can be very, very hard. But it can all be glorious at the same time.

At the heart of this series, my words, there is this deep and valuable belief of mine: Christmas (or the Winter Holiday that you may celebrate) is so much more about presents and cooking and shopping and all that other bullshit… it is about family.

The family that is related by blood. The family that surrounds your heart. Your Mom. Your brother. Your dearest friends. The bonds that make life valuable. Worth living. These bonds are soulful bonds, ones that are far more special than any mere trivial object. So… be with them. Forgive. Forget. Heal. Mend what is broken. Reassemble what has been shattered. And stop worrying so much. Laugh together. Cry together. Heal on another. Heal together. And may your new days be better, brighter, and full of love.

Happy Holidays.

Ty


A song for you...

"Sense of Home" — Harrison Storm / YouTube

If you liked this series, I invite you to check out my previous article below…

To My Fellow 孤, The Sons Without Fathers On Father’s Day

As well as this article by a fellow creator…

What You Learn Losing A Parent So Young

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