JUST ONE ANGEL
CHRISTINE LAVIN & THE ACCIDENTALS "When You're Single At Christmastime"
Christine Lavin & The Accidentals "When You're Single At Christmastime"
Christine Lavin, a singer/songwriter/guitarist/recording artist living in New York, has recorded 20 solo albums [latest: Cold Pizza For Breakfast on Yellow Tail Records]. She has also produced nine compilation CDs showcasing the work of dozens of songwriters whose work she loves -- one of them, the food-themed One Meat Ball, includes a 96-page cookbook that Christine edited. For four years she hosted "Slipped Disks" on xm satellite radio, playing CDs slipped to her backstage by compatriots, and is the occasional guest host for the City Folk Sunday Breakfast Show on WFUV-FM at Fordham University. She also writes freelance for various publications (including The Washington Post, The St. Petersburg Times, The Performing Songwriter, and “Broadway After Dark”). Her song "Amoeba Hop" has been turned into a science/music book by illustrator Betsy Franco Feeney (Puddle Jump Press), received the stamp of approval from The International Society of Protistologists, and a "Best Book Award" from
The American Association for The Advancement of Science.
The new book THE PLUTO FILES: THE RISE AND FALL OF AMERICA'S FAVORITE PLANET, written by Neil deGrasse Tyson, head of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC, includes the complete lyrics to Christine's song "Planet X," which details Pluto's history and planetary status debate in rhyme. The book is published by W.W. Norton. And Christine got a "D" in Astronomy in college (see kids? You CAN make up for the mistakes of your youth).
Christine performs concerts all over the US, Canada, and points beyond, and hosts knitting circles backstage prior to each show. Songs of hers have been performed by artists as diverse as Broadway stars Betty Buckley, Sutton Foster, and David Burnham, cabaret divas Andrea Marcovicci. Barbara Brussell, and Colleen McHugh, the college a cappella Dartmouth Decibelles and the NC State "Accapology," and The Accidentals, winners of the National Harmony Sweepstakes championship.
Current projects: Cold Pizza For Breakfast: A Mem-Wha?? is available in paperback, kindle, iPad and audio book formats. Coming next: A children's book There's A Hole In The Bottom Of The Sea, working with illustrator Betsy Franco Feeney, who also illustrated The Amoeba Hop
"When You're Single At Christmastime"
I'm from a big family -- five boys, four girls. We grew up in modest surroundings, most of our childhood on the grounds of a military school where our dad was a teacher. We weren't poor, and somehow we got by, but as we got older and our extended family grew, it became increasingly difficult to buy good presents for everyone in the family. So at a certain point -- I don't remember the exact year, it was decided we'd be each other's "Secret Santa." We'd each pick a name out of a hat, then buy one nice gift for that person, and dispense with all other shopping. On Christmas Day you'd find out who your Secret Santa was.
Every year one of us would organize the "Secret Santa” project.
One year it was my brother Eddie’s turn.
I’ll let him take it from there:
"In grade school I had the nickname “Sneaky Boots” given to me by a Catholic nun fed up with my antics. Having in adulthood reformed my ways I found it exhilarating one Christmas to have a chance to ply my sneaky trade once again. Here’s what happened.
The Lavin family is sitting around the table at Thanksgiving and talking Christmas. It seemed like a good time to get the “Secret Santa” project in gear, so I went to work setting up the Secret Santa for this year. In the back room I found some paper, a pen and some scissors and cut the paper into little squares and began penning in the names, some 15 in all. I placed them into a hat and was about to bring them to the table when in a moment of grade school sneaky-boots inspiration, I suddenly realized that I had accidentally and quite fortuitously put myself into a position of almost superhuman power. In my hands, in this hat full of paper and names lay the opportunity of a Christmas lifetime.
My pockets felt as if they were filled with Christmas Kryptonite!
Acting quickly I removed the papers with the names from the hat, tossed them into the trash and went about re-making them. On each piece of paper I wrote one name: mine.
It was the perfect plan. With everyone sworn to secrecy, nobody would know that each and everyone was about to become my secret Santa. This would be like Wall Street, or the best Christmas since Hammacher met Schlemmer.
I came back to the table and one by one the hat went around, people drawing a name, taking a peek and allowing a knowing little smile as they passed the hat along to the next unsuspecting Secret Santa.
And so it went until everyone had picked and we all sat there in great humor eating our pumpkin pie and speculating who our Secret Santa was. And there I sat watching and waiting and knowing I was the ONLY one with a Secret Santa. Fifteen of them in fact.
And it would all come down to how well the Lavins keep a secret.
It lasted almost three full minutes. Sitting there amongst the cacophony at the table I watch as brother-in-law Tom surreptitiously angles his paper so that my sister Mary can see it. She takes a peek and upon seeing the name shoots Tom a quizzical look and then reciprocates, allowing her paper to flash towards Tom. According to Tom and Mary, they at first thought it must be a mistake. They look over at me, where I’m using all my Sneaky Boots skills to pretend to be otherwise occupied. Somewhat nonplussed, Mary decides then to sneak a peek at sister Jody’s paper which is lying unguarded next to her plate. Another “Eddie.” It was at this point that the cat, more like a lion actually, came screaming out of the bag with Mary bellowing out a gigundous “HEEEEEEYYYYYYYY Sneaky Boots!!!!!!!!”
And so ended my dream of stealing Christmas. And all thanks to the fact that the Lavins keep secrets like their hair is on fire. As it turns out though, it appears that I didn’t miss out on all that much. Polling of my siblings showed that had my plan succeeded, I would have found myself with something like 14 Eddie Bauer golf shirts and one Chia Pet."
-- Eddie Lavin