released 2003 Appleseed Records
Do you ever want to hear those dogs barking "Jingle Bells" again? Neither does Christine Lavin – this "comic observer of human manners" (The New York Times) says she "just couldn't find a good Christmas/ Kwanzaa/ Solstice /Chanukah /Ramadan/ Boxing Day album, so I had to make one." So she rounded up seven other vocalists, assembled a sackful of characteristically humorous, offbeat, and occasionally moving seasonal songs, added a couple of original stories, and created this lighthearted a cappella alternative to the usual cloying Christmas-season songbook, a fresh delight for children and adults alike.
On The Runaway Christmas Tree, there are tales of Christmas miracles gone wrong (in "Polkadot Pancakes"), what sound like munchkins on helium ("Elves"), and choral complaints and celebrations regarding food ("Scalloped Potatoes" and "Tacobel Canon," respectively). The title track, with its echoes of Dr. Seuss, is a bedtime story Lavin wrote for her niece to explain why people decorate their Christmas trees (to weigh them down so they can't escape, of course!). Interspersed with these unorthodox holiday excursions are a handful of somewhat more conventional hymns to the peace and joy the end of the year represents – the lovely "Dona Nobis Pacem," "A New Year's Round," "Lamb and Lion," "Allelujah/Amen," "Good Night to You All" and the very slightly twisted "A Christmas/ Kwanzaa/ Solstice/ Chanukah/ Ramadan/ Boxing Day Song" and "The All Purpose Carol" (which ends with a resounding "Oy, mon!"). For quasi-traditionalists, Christine includes an express-lane version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" (retitled "Th 12 Dys f Chrstms") in which she sings only half the numbers in the count-up ("I do that to spare the parents…That song can get quite monotonous") but all of the numbers in the countdown ("or that would be too weird").
All the songs are done sans instruments, and after listening a few times through, you will be singing along. It's an all-ages, all-religion holiday disk. If you go carolling every year, this disk, with it's easy-to-learn 'rounds,' will ramp up the quality of your singing in no time!