Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One and Done: The 1997 AOL Christmas Special, "The Online Adventures of Ozzie the Elf"

Remember the animated holiday classic, The Online Adventures of Ozzie the Elf? Yeah, me neither.

It came out in 1997. (Here's an AOL Canada press release about it.) It represented some sort of new media synergy, which was all the rage at the time. It features claymation and really dated '90s references.

I never saw the one and only TV airing. I think they had it playing on monitors at one of the AOL employee holiday parties.

Anyway, you can find it on YouTube:

Favorite 80s Christmas Songs (And a Chicken in a Ba-na-na Tree)

As a man-child of the 1980s, I naturally think that '80s Christmas songs are the bestest of all time (boomer nostalgia-driven radio airplay notwithstanding -- suck it, Millenials). Although in recent years, I've managed to avoid most of the trappings of the holiday season, there a still a few favorites I just like to hear:

Band Aid, "Do They Know Its Christmas" (1984) -- To me, the defining, omnibus song of the 1980s, and still my all-time favorite Christmas song.

The Waitresses, "Christmas Wrapping" (1981) -- My first exposure to the Waitresses was "I Know What Boys Like." It made me feel bad. This song was better.

Elmo & Patsy, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" (1984 re-release) -- '80s cheese, but I have to hear it at least once before Christmas. This used to be difficult, before streaming MP3 radio, YouTube, and god knows what the kids are using these days.

U2, "Baby Please Come Home" (1987) -- I don't really think of this as a Christmas song; I can listen to Bono wailing away in it all year round.

Wham! "Last Christmas" (1984) -- This is mid-tier '80s Christmas for me.

'70s Interlude

Donny Osmond "Twelve Days of Christmas" (1979) -- Now, while not technically 80s, this one has stayed with me through the years, if only for the annoyingly stupid chorus:

I was 7 at the time. I saw it live (I would have had to, of course.)

The celebrity Christmas special hasn't really aged well, as Nick and Jessica showed us.

The Pogues, "Fairytale Of New York" (1987) -- I only really got into this song in college, and I don't really think of it as a Christmas song (just like most people don't think of Die Hard as a Christmas movie). This, too, I can also listen to all year long.

Bob & Doug McKenzie, "12 Days of Christmas" (1982) -- Another for the annoyingly catchy chorus. ("And a beer... in a tree.")

Paul McCartney, "Wonderful Christmastime" (1979) -- Christmas light. Kind of a palate-cleanser, with more synth.

Billy Squier, "Christmas Is a Time to Say I Love You" (1981) -- The one thing that really makes this one memorable is my friend Steve lip-synching this for a talent show in high school. He ended it by sliding on his knees. It looked like it hurt.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, "Little Drummer Boy" (1981) -- Kind of an odd one. I know some folks don't like it.

Interlude: 30 Second Hate

I hate Hate HATE Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" (1985). I never liked it. I still don't like it. Although I hope Santa brought Clarence a new saxophone before he died.

John Lennon, "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" (1980 re-release) -- I kind of missed out on the whole John Lennon thing at the time. But I did like the song.

David Bowie & Bing Crosby, "Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy" (1977) -- This is an awesome song, and it doesn't get nearly enough airplay. Even though the setup is pretty bizarre.

The Kinks, "Father Christmas" (1977) -- A staple of classic rock Christmas, it's also a pretty awesome song.

"Keep Christmas With You All Through the Year" (1978). I haven't watched Christmas Eve on Sesame Street in years. It's really good. It made me sad.

Did you know: The Cocteau Twins did a version of "Frosty the Snowman"? (1992) I didn't.

Bonus: 90s and Beyond

Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan, "God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" (2004) -- The first part swings a bit. I like it.

Mariah Carey, "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (1994) -- This is probably my guiltiest pleasure on the list.

Eric Cartman singing "O Holy Night" (1999) -- *ZZZAAAPPP*