When John and Yoko recorded this festive – yet barbed – chestnut back in ’71, little did they know the avalanche of gifts that would tumble my way one warm California afternoon in early 2010. Yes, several days ago, I was on a quick trip out west for work, and here are just a few of the exciting junk-shelf freebies I picked up: CD holder from Citrix, playing cards from Yahoo, tote bag from LinkedIn, dominoes from Amazon, laundry bag from InterDigital, sunglasses from Cooliris. “Happy Xmas” indeed! Sure, the Lennons were using their song to challenge listeners to actively do something about ending war and promoting peace, but hey, I got myself a combination reading light/laser pointer from vmware, which is what the season’s all about!
And the music? Spector drags out the Harlem Community Choir for this one, and the sleighbell-boasting production is delightfully rich and echo-y, just as a Christmas song oughta be. Plus: green vinyl! Of all the holiday ditties released by ex-Beatles, “Happy Xmas” is by far the most substantial in terms of musical and lyrical content, and it’s deservedly the most successful. Sure, I guess time could still vindicate Ringo’s I Wanna Be Santa Claus record, but, personally, I wouldn’t take a free copy even if Silicon Graphics stuck it on a USB thingy and gave it out for free at the Stanford Computer Forum.