Fa La La La La: Favorite Records Rocks Off Got for Christmas

Categories: Holidaze

No matter what year it is or how old you are, if you love music, there is nothing like finding some new music tucked under the tree or crammed into your stocking. iTunes gift cards are easy. So are gift cards to Tiffany's, but we bet your girl would be a lot more receptive to the blue box. That's how music fans feel about music at Christmas. Despite the ability to download songs on a whim, we love the hard copies.

Here at Rocks Off, we've all gotten music over the years, some better than others. We asked our writers to offer up their memories when it came to music from Christmases gone by. As we suspected, our peeps have some interesting stories.

Feel free to add your own in the comments.

In 1978, my mother and I were at the mall and we stopped into the record store -- probably a Sam Goody. I was all of nine years old and my mom was being sneaky. She approached me and asked what a cousin of mine, who was a teenager, would like for Christmas. I said I didn't know, but she asked, "What record would you want?" I picked out a couple of records and, lo and behold, the cassettes ended up in my stocking.

Those two albums, Boston's Don't Look Back, the follow up to their mega successful self-titled debut, and Foreigner's Double Vision, got a ton of spins from me for the coming months, particularly Double Vision. I got lots of music over the years for Christmas like that time my best friend in high school -- the private, religious high school -- got me Shout at the Devil, God bless him, but I'll always remember my first fondly -- isn't that always the way? My interest in Boston wore off quickly and was replaced by Van Halen, but I've always had a fondness for that Foreigner tape (yeah, tape) and I'd like that was because of my mom. Thanks, mom and Merry Christmas! -- Jeff Balke

There is a photo of my older brother and me on Christmas morning, taken around 1987 or so, in which he is showing off his brand new Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill cassette-tape, and I'm juggling Madonna's Like a Virgin and New Kids on the Block tapes. While we all know how my New Kids liking developed, I vividly recall putting Like a Virgin on repeat, naive to its songs' risque subject matters, strapping on my roller-skates, and skating around my family's tile-floor kitchen, singing along to Madonna's every word. (I was a weird loner child.)

That is my earliest memory of receiving music for Christmas, but CDs remained my number one gift request while growing up. I always purchased albums of my favorite bands on the very day they came out (Smashing Pumpkins, mostly), but specifically remember receiving albums like Tripping Daisy's I Am an Elastic Firecracker, Radiohead's The Bends, Lush's Lovelife, and Sonic Youth's Washing Machine for Christmas, all around the same year or two (1995-1996).

I still most enjoy the gift of music; both giving and receiving. While we now have the ability to access any music we want at any moment, right at our fingertips, making and receiving mixes (preferably actual CDs, not Spotify playlists) remains a favorite Christmas gift of mine; there's something so intimate about gifting music, because it requires a certain amount of thought and personal consideration. -- Neph Basedow

I've been given plenty of albums for Christmas, but my all-time favorite: In 1998, my grandmother -- my glorious, gorgeous, perfect grandmother -- gave me DMX's It's Dark And Hell Is Hot (it had come out right before that year's summer). She didn't know what It was or why It was so Dark or how it related to the general temperature of Hell, but she bought it anyway. I never told her I wanted it and I certainly never played DMX around her. She just looked at it and said, "He might enjoy this." And I loved her that much more. -- Shea Serrano

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My first two cds ever were xmas gifts... a Phil Collins Hits CD and Listen Without Prejudice.  I still listen to them.  all the time.

Brooke Anderson
Brooke Anderson

The Christmas before I turned 17 was the turning point of my young life as I knew it, even if I didn't know it at the time. I was abandoning high school sports, choir, and drill team and just chock full of teenage angst and cynical wit. I fell in love with punk that wasn't pop-punk and would make mixed tapes of the songs my friends liked. My Dad asked me one day on the way home from school what I would say my favorite band was at the time and I answered, "Prolly like Crass... NO! Definitely Bad Religion." That Christmas I got Bad Religion "No Control" and Crass "Stations of the Crass". My life would never be the same again.


My brother bought me Kansas' "Point of Know Return" on 8-track Christmas of 1978 when I was 11 years-old. I know those guys are terminally unhip, but that tape started me on a lifelong of rock music...

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