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Recipe for a Musical Holiday

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This time of year is one that we all look forward to with spending time with loved ones and family, vacations, gifts, decorations and festive holiday light displays. We think of building snowmen, maybe what plans we will have for New Year's Eve, and stress about how to accomplish our holiday shopping and refrain from over-eating at all the holiday parties.

With all of that on our minds, I think we often forget about how the little things -- all the white noise in the background, can inspire us. I've been hearing this season that many people are not feeling as jolly -- they are not finding the spirit of the holidays as easily as they had in years past. We're not quite sure why. Is it the crazy weather? Maybe because Thanksgiving was so late? Maybe the reality of the economy still not bouncing back as we hoped it would is dampening our cheer?

While walking through some stores the other day, I took a moment to actually pay attention to the world around me and take it all in this season. Instead of focusing on the massive "to do" list I had on my iPhone, I found myself humming along to the tunes that were being played over the sound systems. I looked around. I saw other people mouthing the words to songs, smiling, bopping back and forth- a few people even singing to each other and giggling at how completely carefree and silly they were allowing themselves to be. It was truly refreshing.

It made me realize that music is a huge part of the holiday experience, and that it helps bring people together. It may even assist those of us who aren't feeling a sense of that holiday spirit, in getting it back. We all have our favorite holiday jingles, right? Those songs we may have catalogued away on our iTunes lists under "Holiday Party Play List." (Don't deny it, you know you do!) Well, it's time to break them out, folks!

We, at Music Unites, have developed a fool proof recipe for bringing back your holiday mojo. It may not be like the recipe for those delicious Rice Krispie wreaths that my friend makes every year, but it's one that you can play while eating those yummy treats. It is also a recipe that you can share with loved ones, and give yourself permission to enjoy the time you have left of 2013 with a lot of boogie and a little bit of air guitar.

RECIPE:

3:12 Minutes "Feliz Navidad" - Jose Feliciano version
4:01 Minutes "All I Want for Christmas Is You"- Mariah Carey version
3:30 Minutes "Santa baby" - Eartha Kitt original version
3:44 Minutes "The Chanukah song"- Adam Sandler version
1:15 Minutes "White Christmas"- Bing Crosby version
3:26 Minutes "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24"- Trans Siberian Orchestra version
4:14 Minutes "Little Drummer Boy" - Pentatonix version
3:00 Minutes "Jingle Bell Rock"- Rascal Flatts version
2:20 Minutes "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" - Andy Williams version
2:06 Minutes "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" - Brenda Lee version
2:20 Minutes "Santa Clause is Coming to Town"- Jackson 5 version
3:14 Minutes "Winter Wonderland"- Johnny Mathis version
2:27 Minutes "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer- Mary J. Blige version
4:51 Minutes "O Holy Night"- Josh Groban version
2:54 Minutes "Baby It's Cold Outside"- Dean Martin & Martina McBride version
3:10 Minutes "Chestnuts Roasting on and Open Fire"- Nat King Cole version

So, just add these songs to your play list, in any order you please. We've got a heap of oldies, but goodies, mounds of modern day versions of classics, a pinch of country, a dash of Chanukah, touches of classical singers and others that are totally pop. We've even brought in a dash of spice, and orchestral music that sounds so nice.

Maybe when you're sitting down over the next couple of weeks, after you've done everything you can to avoid the 24 hour yule log on television, watched enough re-runs of A Christmas Story and It's A Wonderful Life to tide you over until next year, and have that last gingerbread latte of the season, you'll nestle into that comfy spot on your sofa, turn on your play list and take a moment to remember. Focus and celebrate the wonderful moments you've had this year -- all of the people around you that make you smile and that have come into your life over the last year. I certainly have a few special ones and feel blessed to have them in my life. Think how you can do something good for the world to make a difference -- just with one thought of positive change you can make a significant impact in our world.

We always say at Music Unites that "Music can change the world, because it can change people." Well, perhaps our musical recipe will lead you back to the holiday spirit that has been a bit absent these days, and possibly stay with you throughout the New Year? Maybe, whenever you're feeling a bit off center -- a bit blue, you'll cook up this recipe and be inspired to make things better?

I think the holidays are best when you are given the gift that keeps on giving- not a one-trick pony or the latest gadget that ultimately needs replacing. Music has and continues to be that gift for me. So, now that you're probably still sitting on that sofa, savoring the last drops of your peppermint mocha, what has music done for you? Feel free to comment below!

Music Unites is looking forward to a special musical 2014 with so many big things ahead you'll want to stay tuned for! We wish the same for you and your loved ones. Happy Holidays everyone!