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My Eclectic Holiday Playlist: Christmas Music You Can Stream from the Hoboken Public Library

18 Dec

It can seem a little decadent to purchase holiday CDs to listen to for just one month a year, so I prefer to stream my favorite Christmas tunes.  Hoboken Public Library residents have access to streaming music from Hoopla and Freegal.  Both services have tons of albums and songs to choose from such as Merry Christmas from Mariah Carey or if you prefer A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra.  I have some quirky favorites I’m sharing below that put an unusual spin on the holiday classics.

Lindsey Stirling’s Warmer in the Winter
Warmer in the Winter
Warmer in the Winter is one of my favorite Christmas albums.  Lindsey Stirling rose to fame with her riveting music videos where she energetically dances while playing the violin.  With the violin being one of my favorite stringed instruments, I love her version of the Dance of the Sugar Plum and fun take on You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.  Some tracks have guest vocalists; Warmer in the Winter is the cheerful title tune that will have you wanting to sing along.  Another bouncy upbeat Christmas favorite of mine is Gwen Stefani’s You Make it Feel Christmas.

Blackmore’s Night’s Winter Carols
Winter Carols

Blackmore’s Night is a traditional rock folk duo inspired by renaissance music, featuring Ritchie Blackmore (from metal bands Deep Purple and Rainbow) and Candice Night, who adds beautiful vocals.  Since I’m a fan of renaissance inspired music, Winter Carols is another favorite. I especially like their version of I Saw Three Ships.  If you enjoy this one also check out Mediaeval Baebes’s Mistletoe & Wine and Loreena McKennitt’s A Midwinter’s Night Dream for more traditional inspired carols, which I also love.

Christmas with the Puppini Sisters
Puppini Sisters Christmas

For a retro sounding Christmas going a little less far back in time, stream Christmas with the Puppini Sisters.  The other two members are not actually related to Marcella Puppini instead their name was inspired by the Andrews Sisters.  All of the Puppini Sisters albums are worth checking out, but I especially can’t resist their fun take on Christmas classics during the holiday season.  I particularly like their take on Here Comes Santa Claus and Winter Wonderland.  They also have a fun version of Mele Kalikimaka, for another great cover of the classic Hawaiian Christmas song check out the one from duo She & Him’s Christmas Party.

Ornamental (A Projekt Holiday Compilation)
ornamental

Projekt Records was known in the 90’s for its Ethereal Gothic music including the founder Sam Rosenthal’s Black Tape for a Blue Girl.  Being a fan of many of the artist on the label this in another favorite that might appeal to those who don’t like the traditional pop sound of a lot of Christmas classics.  It includes great tracks by Nicki Jaine, Jill Tracy, Ego Likeness, Love Spirals Downward, and for Steampunk fan’s Abney Park with Steampunk Jingle Bells.  Some of the artists on the compilation also have their own holiday albums so you can also check out Spellbound in Winter by Unto Ashes.

Pokémon Christmas Bash
pokemon christmas

This is a favorite of my son who is Pokémon crazed.  It features silly Pokémon holiday inspired tunes like I’m Giving Santa a Pickachu for Christmas and Pokémon Christmas Bash.  It won’t blow you away with its vocals and music, but for Pokémon fans it is a fun background if Santa is bringing the new Sword and Shield Games.  If you like a little humor with your Christmas celebrations also check out Shonen Knife’s celebration of all things scrumptious with their Sweet Christmas.

With Hoopla you can borrow up to 10 albums of music per month (or books and movies).  Freegal lets you stream three hours of music per day and if you find a must have song you can download 5 songs per week that are yours to keep.  Freegal even creates holiday playlists if you like your Christmas Rockin’ or you prefer a Country Christmas.  For those celebrating Hanukkah this month, you can check out a variety of albums available on Hoopla.  Prefer to listen to music on CD; come in and browse our holiday collection in the first floor media room near the fireplace at the main branch!

No matter what holiday you typically celebrate this time of year, if you are Seinfeld fan, stop in for our Festivus for the Rest of Us celebration on December 19 at 7 PM!

Looking to give the gift of reading this holiday season; check out these great reads for kids, adults and teens recommended by the BCCLS Staff.  You can find out our staff’s holiday favorites from a previous post.  Also check out a post about recommended Christmas movies.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

Summer Break is Coming: How to Keep Your Bored Hordes Entertained this Summer

26 Jun

If you are a parent with young children you probably will at some point in the next two months hear the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored.” But the Hoboken Public Library has you covered with great programming all summer long.  The whole family can join in the fun with summer reading for kids, teens, and adults where the pages you read can win you great prizes.  And although we love you to stop by for great books, music, and videos you can also borrow ebooks and stream movies and music so you have an instant answer when boredom hits, especially helpful on those rainy days we have been having in NJ lately when you don’t want to leave the house.  Here are a few recommendations from my son of things he has been enjoying.

Mr. Putter & Tabby Series
mr putter and tabby
My son has been loving the Mr. Putter and Tabby series. Cynthia Rylant’s series for beginning readers about an elderly man and his adventures has charmed my son.  Being a cat fan he loves Mr. Putter’s cat tabby who joins Mr. Putter on his many adventures.  I like that being divided up into short sections, it is easing my son in to chapter books.  Also it is refreshing to see a series for kids about older adults that appeals to a younger audience.  Mr. Putter often reminisces about things he did when he was younger and his neighbor and adventurous friend Mrs. Teaberry often encourages Mr. Putter to try new activities.  I’ve seen my son progress so much over the past year of just beginning to pick up sight words to being a proud reader and it is great to see how excited he is to check out a new book.  Many of the series are available not only in print from BCCLS libraries but also as ebooks from eLibraryNJ, eBCCLS, and Hoopla.

Frog Goes to Dinner
frog goes to dinner
Frog Goes to Dinner is a short (13 minute) adaptation of the classic wordless picture book by Mercer Mayer that is available to view on Kanopy.  A frog escapes from a boy’s pocket in a fancy French restaurant and gets in some hilarious trouble.  My son laughed so much at this one.  Though the book is probably more geared for kindergartners and preschoolers who are just beginning to read and will love a book where they can add their own words and story to the images, he still wanted to check out the original.  That to me is one of the great parts of the video story books that they may make reluctant readers interested in checking out the books the videos are based on.  Also available are adaptations of Mayer’s A Boy, A Dog, and a Frog, and Frog on his OwnKanopy has a whole section just for kids that you can select so they only see children friendly content.  Plus your child watching content in Kanopy Kids doesn’t count towards your ten adult selections each month so they can stream all they want and you still have access to great documentaries, indie films, and classics to check out.

Music on Freegal
wham
My son, like a lot of kids, loves dancing to music.  I wish we could all have the lack of self-consciousness young children have when they hear a song they love and can spin and jump about.  Freegal is great since you can create playlists of your favorite songs.  Hoboken Resident Cardholders can download 5 songs per week and/or stream three hours per day.  Two of my son’s favorite songs are Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham! and Happy by Pharrell Williams.  Besides making your own playlist you can also find plenty of ready-made playlists such as Book It: A Summer Reading Playlist to stream.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

 

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