Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Giveaway Said the Little Blog

Remember my brother Jesse? The adorable graphic designer and musician with the enviable metabolism? Well, he just released a Christmas album that I've been listening to non-stop. It's got incredible energy, lyrics, and heart. It's casual and sophisticated, all at the same time. It's my new soundtrack. (If you like Sufjan Stevens, Bright Eyes, Tom Petty, or Dustin Kensrue, you will love it too.)



My favorite song, It's Christmas Again (listen to it here), is a cheery tribute to our childhood Christmases that made me cry the first time I heard it. One line includes a very specific memory: "Then we drive up the street to Brad and LaRue's / To see the Christ child and that Herod fink too." We had this incredible neighbor named Brad Pitts (serious!) who was much more Garrison Keillor than Brad Pitt, and I mean that in a good way. (I love Garrison Keillor much more than Brad Pitt.) 

Anyway, Brad Pitts was a teacher, a poet, and an artist. He hand-crafted an entire miniature hill-side town of Bethlehem with hundreds of carved streets, homes, businesses, merchant stands, alleys, animals, and hundreds of tiny characters to fill it. You wouldn't notice at first glance (and deliberately so, I'm sure) a small stable and the humble nativity. To say it was enchanting is a severe understatement. It was a Christmas tradition for my ginormous family swarm Brad and LaRue's home each year, usually on Christmas Eve, to marvel at the scene and read the nativity story together.

Every year the amazing display grew a little more, and every year Brad arranged things a little differently, so that each time we visited it was a new, mesmerizing experience. Our favorite thing to locate each year was a tiny piece of graffiti, scrawled on a hidden wall. It said, "HEROD IS A FINK!" and it made me and my siblings giggle like you can't believe at Bethlehem's riff-raff.

Jesse's band is aptly named Herod the Fink and he embroidered that sweater himself. (He's a graphic artist, a musician, and an embroiderer too!) 

Hot off the presses, I have five CDs to give away to five lucky readers. To enter, leave me a comment telling me a favorite childhood Christmas memory of yours. And if you tweet about this, you'll be entered twice; just let me know.

For the rest of you who want to buy this fabulous album, you can buy actual CDs from Jesse for $7 each, which includes shipping in the US. It makes a great holiday gift that can't be found anywhere else. Contact him at jvcrowley{at}gmail{dot}com. In the near future, they will be available to purchase and download. I'll keep you updated when that happens.

I'll accept entries until midnight on Friday, the 11th! Good luck and Merry Christmas, everybody!

27 comments:

MiaKatia said...

Christmas music is my all time favorite music ever. EVER! And I know from reading your blog that your little brother is super talented. So pick me. Woo Hoo!

Hppv50 said...

my favorite christmas memory is going to spend the weekend at my grandparents over christmas there was so much to do and so much food.

hppv50@yahoo.com

Katie said...

my fave christmas memory happened just two years ago. my family was actually in nepal (no, this wasn't a normal christmas tradition). christmas morning we woke up well before the sun rose and hiked to 10,000 ft. elevation where we watched the sunrise. it was spectacular. correction: it was even better than spectacular. words can't describe. instead of presents for each other, my siblings all wrote a letter to our parents. it was sweet. the rest of the day we spent together hiking and just being there...together. it was simple. it was awesome.

Katie H said...

My favorite Christmas memory is our annual treasure-hunt tradition. ALl the kids' last gifts are hidden in or around the house, and we retrieve them with varied, vague clues (bathrobes & all). The look on our neighbors' faces the first time we lived in any given neighborhood was priceless. It's fun, frenzied & takes me back to being 5 years old!

What an awesome giveaway. And how awesome that your bro is an artist - and a musical one at that.

I love your blog. Thanks for keeping me perpetually entertained. And for using words like perpetually. Swoon.

katieharrison13@gmail.com

Krista said...

Love the meaning behind "harod the fink" and who doesn't like new xmas music?!

So, a fave christmas memory is dancing around the christmas tree-literally. My grandparent's and mom are pure Danish so we've kept this tradition going. It turns into us singing songs in Danish (which we've learned since childhood) and we really have no idea what we are singing. It's a great time.
kristalebaron@gmail.com

Kate said...

My favorite Christmas memory is....how the heck do I narrow it down? I also have to include the city of Bethleham, as well as tacos at my S grandparents' and the Gift Exchange where some of us older grandkids quoted Brian Regan until we cried from laughing.

Miranda said...

well my goodness! you just listed four of my favorite artists so i'm hoping to win this! my favorite christmas memory is driving around town to find great christmas light displays while we listened to the polar express.

p.s. i'll be nabbing your bro's cd even if i don't win!

katie said...

Probably the year my dad gave my mom a new nightgown and then promptly took her old one outside, attached it to the end of a pole, and lit the thing on fire. Trust me....it NEEDED fire.
I'm sure the CD is great!

Soul-Fusion said...

please pick me!! or I guess I should just buy it.

I am drawing a blank on a favorite Christmas memory from my childhood (what is wrong with me) but I have two great ones from last year: 1) that bitterly cold day you and the boys came and played wii at my place while we munched on leftover desserts while making decorations for the tiniest Christmas tree ever and 2) Max's spontaneous celebratory butt-slapping dance after he opened his DS (I think he learned that move when we were replaying Beyonce's video in memory number 1). Shoot, I need to get busy making merry this year because I feel behind! I think that cd would help.

Kami said...

Favorite memory was staying up late with my sisters and jumping on our murphy bed.

So fun!

Heather said...

My favorite memory is working at the homeless shelter serving dinner every Christmas day!!! Oh I cannot wait for Christmas!!

Kim said...

We didn't celebrate Christmas, we celebrated Festivus. We didn't have a tree but an aluminum pole. At dinner, we would sit around the table and aired our grievances...not the most fun tradition. We never really got gifts either so that's why I would be so excited to win a CD! Like we always used to say, "A Festivus for the rest of us."

Annie said...

pretty sure katie took mine. we are allowed to have the same aren't we? i also loved the time we had a birthday tree for our christmas tree. katie's birthday is dec. 23. so mom and i surprised her with a great birthday tree. it was decorated with party favors, and garland was made out of balloons. it was great.

Mindi said...

i loved listening to christmas music on my parent's 8 track player--

barbra streisand was a huge favorite--i remember having favorite songs and having to agonize and wait through each of the 4 diff tracks to get to the song i wanted.

ahhh, old school technology!

am shouting you out. your brother RULES.

Alison said...

Hi! One favorite Christmas memory was spending Christmas Eve at Little America brunch with my family. Good food, good company, and no mess! It was heaven.

Illinivicki said...

Gosh! I love that story and the sweater is FAB! I'd like to be put on the list for a sweater. I can be his groupie and wear it everywhere. Let's see...favorite Christmas memory...I'd have to say Christmas day at my Grandma and Papa's house the year my brother received a hand-held tape recorder (the latest high-tech gadget--it was as big as a hardcover book and just as heavy) and managed to record my Grandma's laugh (snorts and all). He played it over and over all day.

ern said...

It seems kind of small & silly, but my favorite part of Christmas was seeing who would wake up first--me or my older brother. We'd sneak into each others' room and giggle on the bed until the hour was no longer obscene (translation: anything after 5:59am) then run down the hall and jump on my parent's bed. Can't wait until my kids are old enough to do that.

lizzie said...

i loved the year when i was so sad i didn't get the specific thing i had asked for (snoopy stuffed animal) and the next day mom had found four more presents (one for each of us) out on the lawn. "santa must have dropped them out of his sleigh without knowing it!" she said. mine was the snoopy doll. i just love santa.

Jodi said...

Those moments that your mind takes a snapshot . . . you can remember the aromas, the textures, the emotions vividly - forever.

Mid-day Christmas, gifts opened, house disastrous, family pajama clad, the smell of breakfast meat still in the air. Mom and Dad had climbed back into bed and the five children had followed. Body to body, warm, cuddly, euphoric.

It is this mental snapshot that has gifted my children Christmas day in pajamas full of hours and hours of family cuddle time.

Sherilyn -The Dominee Huisvrouw said...

My cousins would all get together at Grandma's house & play Dutch-Blitz. Those were some of the most fun times.........

Brad said...

My favorite memory was the year my mom handmade a cabbage patch doll & gave it to me for Christmas.

April said...

I love Jesse's song. I'll just email him and buy an album. But, so many memories. Of Course Brad and LaRue are intermingled with all of my childhood Christmas memories. But how about clam chowder on Christmas Eve that nobody wanted, or being in charge of a sibling's entire Christmas and dividing up at the mall to do all the shopping in one day, or the unicycle, leather Indiana Jones whip and hat, popcorn popper, or fry daddy? How about a white flocked tree and blue ornaments with John Denver and the Muppets playing while we were decorating it? Or how about the year Dad bought himself a gun and signed Santa on the tag. I also have often thought about some poem or paper that you wrote for a high school English class about why you never believed in Santa. It was so good and put into words my own feelings as a child.

Colie said...

My favorite Christmas memory is helping my dad put up the lights outside each year. I would hold the strings of empty sockets as he smacked the staple-gun every foot or so to tack them onto the railing of the deck and house. Then we carefully screwed in each c-9 lightbulb and, oh- the joy when it was complete and the lights came on that first dusk! Then every night during the Christmas season, we would quietly walk around the house, tapping bulbs that didnt light, replacing as necessary. And mostly- quietly enjoying the festive glow. Christmas lights are still such an important part of the Holiday season for me. I loved having that special project with Dad each year.

Omgirl said...

I like that music. Very cheery. Enter me, for sure. But what I really want so say is, can you do a giveaway for that sweater??? It's awesome!!!

p.s. Where did/does LaRue live? I know an old lady named LaRue, which I can't imagine is a common name, even in Utah. I wonder if it's the same lady.

Tauna said...

Getting caught by Santa with a Walkie Talkie in the front closet. He told me to go to bed. :)

Very good cd. I loved the video of the drummer on "I'm Trying". That song should be on the soundtrack to my life.

Loved it!

Lindy-Lou said...

To April: I believe it was Leslie that wrote a poem about why she never believed in Santa. It sounds scroogy, but it wasn't.

Omgirl said...

OOps, I forgot to put down my favorite Christmas memory. And I still won. Well, here it is belatedly....

When I was 5, my parents had some friend of theirs dress up like Santa and come over to our house on Christmas day. And he brought a big box with him, one with hand holes in the sides. And a lid that was wrapped separately so it could be removed. And inside...twin kittens! Who can beat being 5 years old and getting twin calico kitties on Christmas morning??? We named them after the Christmas song that was playing on the radio just then, The Holly and the Ivy.

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