Ranking the five best holiday-themed country songs

photo: Los Angeles Times

By Jeff Uveino

Each genre of music has its own take on holiday music.

While country artists have covered plenty of holiday classics, this genre has produced its own fair share of seasonal music, as well. Here are the five best holiday-themed country songs, ranked.

5. “Christmas Cookies,” George Strait (2000)

This upbeat score by the “king of country music” sounds exactly like the title would suggest. Strait repeatedly says, “I sure do love those Christmas cookies,” and for a variety of reasons. The best part of baking cookies, according to Strait?

“Every time she sticks another batch in the oven, there’s 15 minutes for some kissin’ and huggin’.”

4. “Merry Christmas From the Family,” Robert Earl Keen (1994)

Later covered by Montgomery Gentry, this holiday epic from Texas-based indie artist Robert Earl Keen tells the story of a stereotypical poor, redneck family getting together to celebrate Christmas.

The song’s lyrics have an abundance of twists and turns, including chain smoking while listening to Christmas carols, a quest for extension cords and a motor home blowing the host family’s Christmas lights.

3. “Honky Tonk Christmas,” Alan Jackson (1993)

If you’re a fan of Alan Jackson’s fiddle-filled tunes from the 90s, this song is for you. Jackson’s 1993 holiday album, of which this song is the title track, is filled with the same steel guitar and other traditional country sounds that made him famous.

On this record, however, his songs of hard work and heartbreak are focused on Christmas. “I Only Want You for Christmas” is another highlight of the album.

2. “Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy,” Buck Owens (1965)

Owens is most well-known for bringing the “Bakersfield sound,” a west-coast style of country music that featured twangy strings and limited bass, to the mainstream. On this track, he carefully weaves a Christmas tale from the perspective of a child that snuck out of their bed late on Christmas Eve.

“It’s not the way I had him pictured,” Owens screeches in his unmistakable baritone. “Santa was much too thin.”

  1. “If We Make It Through December,” Merle Haggard (1973)

Haggard has a hit song for everything; Christmas included.

The title track of Haggard’s 1974 album with his band “The Strangers,” this song has been covered by many artists in its 47 years of existence. Unlike many country songs that are Christmas-themed, this one doesn’t have a positive undertone.

Haggard tells the story of a factory worker who isn’t particularly fond of the winter time. To make things worse, this year, the song’s narrator has been laid off from his factory job, leaving him wondering how he is going to be able to afford Christmas presents for his daughter.

For many, December is meant to be the “happy time of year,” as Haggard sings. However, that isn’t the reality of the holiday season for many people. As he did for so many years and on so many hit songs, Haggard illustrates the reality of Christmas from the working man’s perspective.

“If we make it through December,” he says, “we’ll be fine.”

This Christmas, give to those who need rather than want

By Tanner Jubenville, @TMJubenville

People need to find the true meaning of Christmas.

Every year, department stores and corporations drill consumers with deals on material items. Subsequently, the hunt for the best deal overshadows giving to those in need.
Black Friday weekend, the three days after Thanksgiving, mark the start of the Christmas gift-buying onslaught.
According to the National Retail Federation, Black Friday weekend of 2012 brought out 89 million people to stores nationwide. More than $59 billion poured out of consumers’ pockets that weekend alone.

This Day in Bonaventure History

By Joe Pinter, News Editor, @JPinter93

December 6, 1941

All was relatively calm across America on December 6. Life was improving for many people affected by the Great Depression, and Christmas was getting close.

Everything changed the next day. The Imperial Japanese Navy bombed Pearl Harbor, killing 2,402 Americans and devastating the country’s naval fleet. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed that the day would “live in infamy.” On December 8, he declared war on Japan, bringing the biggest military in the world into World War II.

December 6 was the last day St. Bonaventure University would have a normal day. Many students left college to join the military.


SGA meeting recap, October 16, 2012

By Joe Pinter, News Editor, @JPinter93

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (Oct. 19) — During its weekly meeting, the St. Bonaventure University Student Government Association discussed five topics, including Brown and White Night and the March of Dimes.

 Afterward, SGA gave the floor to students presenting their campus club.

Abby Harrington, SGA vice president, led a discussion on the course evaluation system and whether it should be kept as is or changed.

“I sit in on the faculty senate, and they addressed to me that there is a problem that we don’t have enough participation in the course evaluations,” Harrington said.

Cody Clifford, SGA president, said that the participation has dropped from 68 percent to 42 percent within the past year. This trend coincides with all evaluations switching from in-class forms to online forms.

Some changes to the evaluation system were considered, including giving out evaluations the last day of class, making the evaluations shorter, giving students even more time to take them and the professors designating a time at the end of the last class of the semester when the students use their laptops to complete the evaluations.

When it was put to a vote, the SGA officers were even-split. But the two most favorable options were keeping the current system and having students do the evaluations on their laptops in class.

 In other business, the officers concluded the March of Dimes had been a success.

“We had about 20-25 teams participating,” said Robbie Chulick, SGA executive secretary. “About 15 of them were SGA clubs or student-oriented teams.”

Chulick also added that $45,000 had been raised. However, that number is likely to go up since the online fundraising will not end until next Friday, Oct. 26.

The four groups that raised the most money:

*The Buzz

*The Bona Venture

*SBU Resident Assistants

*SGA/Townhouse 25

Heather Pfeil, March of Dimes community director, said 300-400 walkers participated in the event.

The next item on the agenda was the introduction of the new Class of 2016 SGA officers.

They are as follows: Kelsey Koos, president; Megan Cutia, vice president; Kendra Worley, secretary; Diane Adegoke, treasurer.

SGA recently altered the duties of the freshmen officersto mainly watch and learn how SGA is run while still planning a few community events.

After the floor was opened for club presentations, five clubs presented while two clubs did not have a representative at the meeting.

Asian Students in Action (ASIA), Latin American Student Organization (LASO), Black Student Union (BSU), Voices, Step Team, Spectrum, SBU Hip Hop, and Bonacoustics all presented. Each club is chartered by SGA.

ASIA, LASO, BSU, Voices, the Step Team and the Hip Hop Team all spoke to the SGA officers and used PowerPoints to explain the goals and ideas their clubs have.

The highlights of this segment of the meeting:

 Voices helped pay for the speaker from Burma that was on campus on Wednesday. The officers were approached by SGA and decided to help bring the speaker to Bonaventure.

Voices will also be selling club t-shirts for $12 a piece starting next week.

The Step Team will host its seventh annual talent show on Nov. 7. This is just one of many fundraisers the club has planned.

The Hip Hop team announced that it performed to a sold-out Quick Arts Center crowd on Monday night, making $1,750.

According to team captain Caitlin Welch, the money goes to a special place. 

“We are donating to a family originally from Jamestown, now living in South Carolina,” Welch said. “It is for a couple married one year ago who are hoping to adopt a child with special needs from Uganda.  The child they are hoping to adopt is 3 years old and is struggling with cerebral palsy and epilepsy.  The grand total they need to raise in order to adopt is $25,000 and prior to our show they had raised $15,000 already.”

The team now has 43 members and the number is rising. The club is growing and will perform at halftime at almost every home basketball game. The team has been working with the Olean School of Dance to help the younger kids. Additionally, it will host a Christmas show from Nov. 27-28.

Spectrum and Bonacoustics were not present at the meeting.