Brandenburg Productions, Inc.
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The Star-Ledger

Saturday, December 22, 2007


 A perfect program for Christmas evening



For the Star-Ledger


The frantic need to finish everything looms. Surely, you can address a few dozen cards, bake cookies from scratch, and arrive at the mall by 10. Hurry home, get the kids ready for a party, wrap presents and plan a lovely little dinner.


In between, remember to act festive.


Christmas, for those who do it all, often resembles a Martha Stewart marathon. By Tuesday evening, though, with good thoughts shared, presents bestowed, meals cooked and cleaned up, some sort of Christmas relaxation nightcap is in order. And "Holly Jolly Pops" (Tuesday, 6 p.m., NJN) is perfect.


The Barenaked Ladies, who are neither nude nor female, but a band of five Canadian guys, perform Christmas classics and one Chanukah song. Keith Lockhart conducts the Boston Pops Orchestra. The Tanglewood Festival Chorus, in red bow ties and red scarves, and soloist Renese King sing with fervent sincerity. Well-known selections are approached as if this were the first time anyone sang them.


The Barenaked Ladies do a great job with "Jingle Bells" and "I Saw Three Ships." Santa takes the stage at Boston's Symphony Hall to lead everyone in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and a screen crawl helps with an at-home sing-along.


Incidentally, should you wind up in a bar bet over the top single of all time, according to this show, it's Bing Crosby's "White Christmas."


And where else but Boston would a fife and drum regiment perform in full colonial garb, with white wigs, to play "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"? The show is the perfect ending to Christmas, and a lovely hour to spend with the kids, just chilling after a few crazed weeks.