Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘christmas’

Christmas Album Wish List

Are you ready for Christmas music? As a music fan, I enjoy buying new Christmas music every year from my favorite artists. Over the years, I have amassed quite a collection of Christmas albums — everything from Amy Grant and Cyndi Lauper to En Vogue and Kenny Chesney. This year brings new seasonal music from Fantasia, Gwen Stefani and Sia. It seems like every artist records a Christmas album (or at least a song) over the course of their career. Here are the artists I hope to hear Christmas music from in the near future:



  • Madonna. She only did “Santa Baby” on the “A Very Special Christmas” album. Image if she brought her song craft to some Christmas originals. I would love it, but I have serious doubts she will ever do it.
  • Bruce Springsteen. He has a Christmas song too, but no album as of yet. I can’t think of any rock Christmas albums. A mix of old and new would be music to many Boss lovers.
  • Diana Ross. Sure, she did an album with the Supremes, and even a solo Christmas album in 1994 — but it was never released in America. Isn’t time it came out here, or she recorded new takes on Christmas classics. She could call on her children to help her out.
  • Janet Jackson. Wouldn’t you love to hear what Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Janet would do with a batch of holiday tunes? I am sure we would be dancing around the Christmas tree!


Current Pop Stars

  • Rihanna. She is one of the most consistent hit-makers of the last decade. She always find ways to surprise her fans with her music. I would love to see this happen.
  • Lady GaGa. Yeah, she isn’t as popular as she used to be — but she can still sing as evidenced by this year’s Super Bowl. She could do an album of very traditional songs with Tony Bennett, or a dance-pop Christmas album. I would be interested in both.



  • Dierks Bentley. Hunky county star Dierks could do a bluegrass Christmas album or a modern country pop album. He would shine on the CMA Christmas special I am sure.
  • Carrie Underwood. Vocal powerhouse Carrie Underwood would be sure to be a bestseller, if she ever releases a holiday album. I am sure there would be a few spiritual songs on there. Another one that I could see being a #1 album.
  • Little Big Town. This group, that I describe as a country version of Fleetwood Mac, is known for their trademark vocal harmonies. A good mix of traditional songs plus a few new tunes too would be a winning formula.



  • Taylor Dayne. Taylor has one of the most distinctive voices of the 80-90’s. I could see her putting her own spin on some Christmas favorites. “Tell It to my Heart, Santa” could be a good title for one song.
  • Jill Scott. I heard she was great at the Hollywood Bowl this past summer. A soulful holiday celebration, with a few gospel tinged numbers would be great.
  • Angie Stone. Another big-voiced R&B diva. She has worked with Josh Groban in the past, and Justin Timberlake is a fan too. Imagine a Christmas duets album, that would be something different in the market.
  • Jennifer Lopez. Can you think of a Latin pop Christmas album? Neither can I. Just imagine all the guest stars she could pull in for the accompanying TV special… Pitbull, Enrique, Marc Anthony, Lin-Manual, and more.
  • Britney Spears. She’s only done 1 Christmas song in the past. How about a Christmas album to tie us over till her next all-new pop album? I would love to hear her take on holiday classics, and a few choice new tunes too.



  • The Human League. The ground-breaking new-wave group could bring something new to the table for sure. I would definitely be up for this.
  • Bon Jovi. Jon and the crew would definitely rock the holiday. Again, a mix of new and old songs would be just right. Maybe even call in former duet partner, Jennifer Nettles.
  • Belinda Carlisle. The voice of the 80’s girl band, The Go-Go’s. Plus she had a decent solo career too. Songs about Christmas in L.A., or maybe songs with some hippie-dippy vibes.
  • Duran Duran. Another big 80’s band. They could call in Mark Ronson or Nile Rodgers (both of whom they worked with before) to produce the album for them. I would love to hear them take on some original songs.


Boy Bands

  • Backstreet Boys. NSync did a holiday album back in the day, surprisingly BSB did not. It is never too late. Call up Max Martin and get this one going. I am sure it would sell well for them.
  • One Direction. With the members all enjoying varying degrees of solo success, it may be awhile before we get to this album. But they are good singers, and would definitely bring something different to the table.

And that’s my list! Did I miss anyone? Did I leave out one of your favorites? Please sound off in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.


5 Reasons to Wear Kilts at Christmas

Tis the season! I love the holidays especially Christmas. It is a magical time, with all the lights, great music, plus time with loved ones. As a kilt wearer this is a great time, and I will tell you why. Here are the 5 reasons to wear kilts to all your Christmas parties and celebrations:100_3323

  1. They are festive. So many tartans already have red or green in them, add in a nice shirt, tie, and jacket — and you have the making of a fun and festive outfit. I have even worn some of my Utilikilts with a red tux shirt and it looked cool too.
  1. They are a conversation starter. At this time of year, you usually go to a few parties, whether work, church, neighbors, friends or family. You will be meeting new people for sure. Kilts are a great conversation starter. I have had more people comment on my kilt than I ever did wearing a suit. And people usually approach me first… which is nice. Believe it or not, I am a bit of an introvert.
  2. You will look sharp. No doubt about it, you will probably be one of the best dressed people at the party. Kilt wearers are known for bringing out the big guns at the holidays… their nicest kilts, shirts, sporrans, kilt pins, jackets etc.
  3. You made yourself memorable. More and more strangers at parties want to take pictures with me because they love the kilt. And if they don’t remember my name the next time they see me, they sure remember the kilt — even if I am not wearing one the next time I see them.
  1. You expressed yourself. Who says real men don’t wear kilts? I say they do. I always felt that I wanted to fit in as I was growing up. Now I know that I was born to stand out! I get to express my personality and individuality through my wardrobe — more so than by wearing Dockers and a bad Christmas sweater would.

So kilt up this holiday season! You are sure to be a hit at all your holiday functions. Thanks to all my readers — may you have a blessed holiday season. And I look forward to new blog topics in the New Year.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Christmas Parties

It’s that time of year for Holiday/Christmas parties. Everything from a big banquet to an intimate holiday party.  Here are some memories from holiday parties through the years:

Christmas outfit2

Christmas outfit2

Work Parties
I have been lucky enough to work for companies that treat their employees to a Holiday Party.  When I worked for an insurance company, I was treated to dinners at country clubs and hotels. When I worked for a 2-person design firm, the boss and his wife would take me and my partner out for a meal and a show. We saw magicians, Cirque Du Soleil and mystery dinner theatre. At my current job, we have big celebrations at hotels and country clubs too, plus there are drawings for prizes too like TVs, DVD players and more. I have been lucky and won both a DVD player and a digital camera too through the years.

What has changed through the years is how open I have been about being gay. Those early holiday parties I didn’t feel comfortable enough to take my partner to them, and I went by myself. I definitely regret that now. But I had some growing up to do, and had to get comfortable in my own skin.

I am thinking about going to this year’s company party dressed in my dress kilt. I am out now to all, and my partner has come with me the past several years. I know I would totally rock it.

Friends Parties
Our friends love to throw parties too… most years we are busy every weekend in December until the holiday. Lots of great food, along with socializing with old friends and meeting new ones. Some of the parties have had gift exchanges, toy or canned food drives and Christmas carol sing-alongs. We also usually fit in going to 2 different church groups too for their parties.

Family Parties
On Christmas Eve, my family tradition is to gather at my parent’s house. Some of us go to the early Mass, then we come back home for dinner. We usually have ham, scalloped potatoes, salads, and of course pumpkin pie. The family members there include my parents, siblings, grandkids and great grand kids plus neighbors too.

Then after dinner, we have our time for caroling. My Mom has song sheets made up…. But at this point, I pretty much know all the songs by heart since I have been singing them for so long. We will sing everything from Frosty the Snowman to Silent Night to White Christmas. We usually end by singing 12 Days of Christmas… with each of us taking a different part by picking a card out of bowl. Everyone wants to get “Five Golden Rings”, since that is the showiest part to sing.

We will then usually go to a few neighbor’s houses to sing some carols for them. Then it is back to the house to open the gifts. I act as Santa Claus (by donning my Santa hat) and distribute the gifts to my family members.

Our Party
We love to entertain. Our party is usually on the last Saturday before Christmas. The latest we have had it is December 23rd. I guess we are the only crazy ones to do that! The house will be decorated with a ton of lights and candles, plus a large Noble fir tree. We usually make a turkey or ham, plus plenty of side dishes and desserts too  like sweet potato cheesecake. There will be a good mix of Christmas music and party tunes playing in the background. And Christmas videos on the TV.

This year, we have decided to not have a party — since we are planning our wedding soon. What a good reason to not have a holiday party! I look forward to resuming our holiday tradition of hosting a party as a married couple in 2014.

Whatever your traditions are, I hope you have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season. Best wishes for the New Year! And thanks for reading this blog.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Best Christmas Albums/Specials

I love the holidays. The decorations, the food, the parties. I also love listening to Christmas music and watching holiday specials too. This year, there are new Christmas CDs from Blake Shelton, Ceelo Green, Lady Antebellum, Rod Stewart and more. Here are some of my favorite Christmas albums:

  • Barbra Streisand — A Christmas Album
    One of the most enduring Christmas albums ever, this album came out originally in 1967. Her version of “Jingle Bells” is a classic, other highlights include “The Christmas Song” and “The Lord’s Prayer.”
  • Josh Groban — Noel
    David Foster did a fantastic job producing this album. The arrangements are so lush and beautiful. Add in the angelic voice of Josh, and you have a holiday classic. Highlights include: “The First Noel” with Faith Hill and  “Little Drummer Boy”.
  • NSync — Home for Christmas
    Sure, they were a boy band, but they were also great singers. What I love about this CD, is how many original songs are on there. And a decent amount of uptempo songs too. I love Justin, but the group was special too. Highlights include: “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” and “O Holy Night” (A Cappella).nsync-home-for-christmas
  • A Very Special Christmas
    The original and still the best. A wide variety of artists singing Christmas songs, new and old. Stand outs include Madonna “Santa Baby” and the Pointer Sisters “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” Plus proceeds go to the Special Olympics.
  • Patti LaBelle — This Christmas
    This one always gets played in our house. Secular and religious songs, both done justice by this classy lady. Highlights include “If Every Day Could Be Christmas” as well as the title track.
  • Vanessa Williams — Silver and Gold
    Call it a smooth jazz Christmas. Perfect for an afternoon spent baking holiday cookies, or an intimate dinner party. “Go Tell It on the Mountain” is one the highlights.
  • Natalie Cole — Holly & Ivy
    Taking after her father, Miss Natalie does a great job on this album. Backed by a swinging big band and orchestra, highlights include “Jingle Bells” and “Caroling, Caroling”.
  • Mariah Carey — Merry Christmas
    A diva Christmas. Traditional songs as well as new ones. Highlights include “All I Want for Christmas is You” and “Joy to the World”.
  • Babyface — Christmas with Babyface
    Great arrangements from one of the top producer/songwriters of the last few decades. Only 1 original song in the bunch, but a reggae version of “Little Drummer Boy” is among the new versions of classic songs.


  • The Year without a Santa Claus
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town
    These specials from my childhood, are still great today. They were all from Rankin and Bass and featured stop motion animation. The stories, characters and songs all hold up well. There’s a reason they are still shown every year.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
    Another Christmas classic. If this was made today, I doubt it would get on the air. But to have a Christmas special that talks about the birth of Jesus being the real reason of the season is a wonderful thing.
  • Pee Wee’s Christmas Special
    Paul Reuben’s alter ego put on a Christmas special in his Playhouse. Fun for adults and kids alike.
  • Frosty the Snow Man
    Another favorite Christmas song brought to animated form. Tell me you don’t get teary eyed watching it.

That’s it! What are your holiday favorites? Did I miss anything? I would love to hear from you.

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Hiking in the Spirit and Real Kilt Men Wear Speedos. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Christmas Traditions

Christmas is almost here. This time of year always flies by for me. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. One of the most exciting Christmases of my childhood was when I got my Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal. As an adult, the one that stands out was when my partner got 2 cockatiels for me for Christmas, Adam and Steve.Christmas 2010

Every family has their traditions. Here are some of mine:

  1. Christmas music. We always had a lot of Christmas music around our house growing up. My Mom had these compilations with a variety of stars on them like Andy Williams and Rosemary Clooney. Plus she had the Christmas albums from Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Nat King Cole and the Carpenters. I loved Barbra’s “Jingle Bells” especially — she does a very fun version of it. Now as an adult, I have quite a collection of Christmas CDs — everyone from NSync to Amy Grant to Donna Summer to Josh Groban. If someone in the last 30 years has put out a Christmas CD, I probably have it!
  2. Christmas caroling. This warrants its own listing. Besides listening to a lot of music, we sang a lot too. We sang at church and at home too. I went to Catholic grammar school and the kids of the school often sang at one mass on Sundays including at Christmas too. At home, we would sing Christmas carols at parties with family and neighbors. My mom made up these song sheets of Christmas carols, everything from “Rudolph” to “Silent Night.” We would even go to the neighbor’s houses and sing for them too. One my favorite parts of the celebration would be the singing of “12 Days of Christmas.” So everyone would pick out a random verse of the song out of a bowl, and then you would be responsible for that verse… Everyone always wanted “5 Golden Rings” as that is the biggest most dramatic verse to have. Now we have my nieces and their families in on the tradition too.

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