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Christmas favorites from the Vision staff

Erin Carson SONG: “I Bought You a Plastic Star (For Your Aluminum Tree)” is an obscure Christmas tune I found several years back on an album by a pop-oriented a cappella group from South Dakota called the Blenders. They have a glossy, slightly-overproduced sound that even my inner music snob can’t refuse. Mostly I love this song because it’s funny and talks about Christmas in Los Angeles, the city I was born in, with loving snark. “It gets pretty cold here at night, down to 60 degrees. There’s angel hair up on the palm trees, sure looks like Christmas to me.” Doesn’t it though? Ideal Gift: The moment I added the Zoom H1 Ultra-Portable Digital Audio Recorder to my Christmas list, I thought, “Wow, have we come a long way from the days of Cathy’s Cut & Curl Salon.” Asking for audio equipment might be violation of my long-standing “never ask for anything practical for Christmas” rule, but when graduation rolls around in May, I will have a distinct lack of cameras (still or video), recorders, tripods and all the other toys that would theoretically go into the “backpack journalist’s,” well, backpack. Oh, I might need a backpack, too.

Amanda Stravinsky SONG:  My all-time favorite Christmas song is “O, Holy Night.” The music is ethereal and light and always puts me in Christmas spirit. I love this song because it really encompasses what Christmas is all about. Plus, it always reminds me of going to Cantata service every year with my family on Christmas Eve. As the candles are lit after the church service, this song always pops into my head and I have to restrain myself from bursting into song. It’s absolutely my favorite! Ideal Gift: I really want a Netbook. I always try to ask for a “big ticket item” every year. The Netbook would be ideal because it’s so small and compact. I can take it anywhere from class to work to the plane on my way home for the holidays. It’s light and easy to work with; no bells and whistles like my current Dell. Besides that, every year I simply wish for peace from wars between each other and wars between countries. Let there be peace and let that peace begin with me.

Dustin Stout SONG: My favorite Christmas song is “Please Come Home for Christmas.” And to be specific, I’m most fond of the cover by Bon Jovi. I’m the biggest country music fanatic you’ll ever meet. Therefore, I guess it kind of makes sense that I enjoy songs that celebrate sadness and the ability to overcome sadness. I first heard the song in “Look Who’s Talking Now,” my all-time favorite Christmas movie. So Christmas is never complete without Kirstie Alley, John Travolta and Bon Jovi’s rendition of “Please Come Home for Christmas.” Ideal Gift: Okay, I’m going to be sappy with this one. Get ready. My ideal Christmas present is just getting to be home with my family and little brother Brayden. Even though I live only a couple of hours away from Nashville, I don’t visit home nearly as much as I would like. So to go home to a loving family, to decorate the same tree I’ve decorated since I was a wee little thing, to witness my brother’s fourth Christmas—that’s the best Christmas gift I could ever receive.

Kevin Heim SONG: My favorite Christmas song is “Come On! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance!” by Sufjan Stevens. This song (not to mention his whole Christmas album Songs for Christmas) has become a classic in my collection of non-traditional Christmas songs; I mean, who else but Sufjan would sing about Jesus, Santa Claus, Aunt Marie, K-Mart and hijacking a snowplow all in the same song? Ideal Gift: My ideal gift would be an unlimited flight pass to visit my brother and sister-in-law who are both serving in the Army. They’re half a world away, and Skyping with them is near impossible when there’s a huge time difference. They’re thousands of miles away from their families and don’t even get to come home for Christmas. My wish has nothing to do with the fact that they live in Hawaii … absolutely a coincidence. The best gift, in all honesty, would be that all our men and women serving overseas would make it home safe and sound.

Brian Wilson SONG: My favorite Christmas song is “Tennessee Christmas” by Amy Grant. You could say I was raised on Grant’s Christmas albums. Come December, they’ve always been some of the first albums my family put in, and they still are today. In particular, this song defines how important my family is to me in the holiday season. For me, Christmas is family, and I know I wouldn’t spend it anywhere without them. Is that hokey? Probably. Is it cheesy? You bet. Would I pick any other song to define Christmas for me? No way. Ideal Gift: Anyone who’s seen me biking around Nashville this semester can probably guess what I want this Christmas. Yes, it starts with a “C” and ends with “AR.” I’m not too picky, though. As long as I don’t end up with some old Yugo or Pinto or something that takes a day and a half to go 0 to 60, I’ll be content.

Pierce Greenberg SONG: “Christmas Shoes” by Newsong is a favorite. Nothing like a sap-filled, melodramatic Christmas tale of Marxist class difference to get you in the holiday spirit, right? Well, despite being one of the most depressing Christmas songs ever recorded (aside from “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”), “Christmas Shoes” still serves as a stark reminder of the gifts we take for granted on an everyday basis. Oh yeah, and you know how at the end, that little boy reprises the last two lines of the chorus? His name is Robert Gay and I             roomed with him freshman year. Ideal Gift: Gift? SodaStream! So, the other day I was sitting around thinking “Man, I wish I had a healthy, environmentally-friendly alternative to carbonated beverages.” … OK, so I wasn’t. But still, the SodaStream is a pretty cool idea. It allows you to make your own sodas at home (in addition to making sparkling water and energy drinks). Apparently, these sodas are healthier than the normal brands, and it helps the earth by reducing can-consumption. There are several different price points for the SodaStream, the most expensive being the illustrious, oddly-shaped “Penguin” at $200. Be careful though; all the enticing add-ons can rack up the price pretty quick.

Cassidy Hodges SONG: Deep inside I still harbor my 5th grade love for N’Sync. But It wasn’t until college that I really began to understand the full greatness of their Christmas album. There’s nothing that says “ho ho ho” more to me than “All I Want Is You This Christmas.” I always start my holiday season off with a little “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” and on occasion accompany it with the “Bye Bye Bye” dance moves—for good measure. Ideal Gift: My biggest feat of the day always seems to be getting out of bed.  So this Christmas I’ve had my eye on Clocky, the alarm clock with wheels! Imagine waking up every morning with a chase on your hands! If you decide to hit snooze, this alarm clock rolls off the nightstand and hides until it goes off again. It’s like hide and go seek! But in the event Clocky isn’t available, I’d also accept a full time job as a reporter. Whichever.

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