Friday Finds: 5 and a Half Christmas Gifts

Tis’ The Season! In today’s Friday Finds, I reach into the internet's velvety crimson bag of gifts and pull out presents to bless your bleeding hearts! Incidentally, the bag glows and jingles every time I open it, just like in Ernest Saves Christmas. Each of these five finds have been gifts to me, and I pray they are gifts to you as well. Each one may just ‘make your spirit bright’ as you take a moment out of the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations to unwrap them in the warm glow of your screen.

Merry Christmas!

1 Gift of Vision

This week you’ve likely already heard that Apple’s new Christmas commercial was filmed right here in Edmonton. For some fanboys, this is a pretty big deal. Like me.

But beyond the ‘celebrity visitation’ story here, the Journal’s Paula Simons points out what you may, like me, have missed in this video. The fact is, Apple’s ad team found the idyllic White Christmas, right here in Edmonton. Simons’ piece elevates a simple acknowledgement or even review of the Apple ad, instead offering a gift of renewed vision to Edmonton residents, in the middle of a long hard winter.

Dear Edmonton, the world thinks you’re beautiful.

Read Simon’s wonderful bit of writing here >

3 (and a half) Gifts of Song

There are so many free Christmas EP's that come out every year, it's hard to take any of them seriously. One might wonder whether this has become a gimmicky way for artists to promote themselves. Oh heck, I'm beyond wondering.

But still, through the clutter some diamonds still shine. Here are three free Christmas albums (donations are always welcome on Noisetrade) that offer something a little different. These are three collections I have found worth downloading, and think you will too.

Merry Christmas. Good Night. Vol 3

This collection is full of songs striking the rare balance between 'modern' and 'reverent'. It actually plays as much like an indie worship album as a Christmas album. My main reason for downloading was the track Winter Wind by local artists and friends L’Ampersand. I really dig the electric piano opening and the strings later on in the song. It's not the only gem you'll find here though. Sean Carter's Glory of Men is particularly beautiful.

The Songs the Season Brings Vol 3. Beta Radio

Any album that starts out with the track The Carol of the Banjos has my attention. Again, what drew me in is not the only, or even the best, track on the album. The original song, The Songs the Season Brings is an excellent bit of indie Americana.

Hey Rosetta!, A Cup of Kindness Yet

The first song on this Christmas EP from last year, Carry Me Home, is just incredible - my favourite original Christmas song in a long while and well worth the download. Thankfully, the other three songs are beautiful, too.

OK, One More

This one is gonna cost you, but I promise it is worth it. My favourite Christmas discovery this year is by Bahamas, from a little compilation a couple of years old that I'd never heard of. Bahamas cover of Christmas Must Be Tonight, by The Band, is just heart-breakingly beautiful. Oh, that guitar!

Do yourself a favour and pay the $1.29 to download the track on iTunes. Do it now!

1 Gift of Inspiration

It seems every month or so I come across another inspiring story about Pope Francis. The latest comes from local writer and friend Stephen Berg, whose blog Grow Mercy is a constant gift itself (you really should subscribe).

Stephen writes of Pope Francis' challenge to ‘unfettered capitalism’, in favour of ‘the unfettered gospel’. Just days from celebrating Christ's breaking-through, this is a very good read and a reminder that loving your neighbour comes at a cost.

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