Hot in Chicago author Kate Meader gives us her take on how holidays differ in her native Ireland vs. the USA. Keep reading and see below to pick up a Kate Meader story sure to keep you nice and toasty no matter the weather outside!

Are you still tra-la-la-la-la’ing as you sip eggnog and trim the tree or are you at the point where the opening bars of yet another holiday tune makes you want to punch an elf? Well, all elves are safe at Chez Meader because I heart holiday tunes so hard!

I grew up in Ireland where Christmas feels like a bigger deal than it is in the U.S. People save up their vacation time to take a couple of weeks off, the entire country rolls up the roads and shuts up shop, and there’s rabid interest in what will be the Christmas No. 1, i.e. the song that’s top of the charts come December 25. It’s a big coup to get it, though I don’t think it means as much anymore now that it’s usually the latest X-Factor winner (shakes fist at Simon Cowell for ruining Christmas). What’s awesome about holiday music across the pond is that it’s not limited to classics: every musical act you can think of has released a holiday song at one time or another. Wham? Last Christmas. John Lennon? Happy Christmas (War is Over). Paul McCartney? He’s got two! Pipes of Peace and A Wonderful Christmas Time. And those are just the ones you might have heard of. My American friends look puzzled when I mention most of the songs that make up my holiday memories. Kate Bush’s December Will be Magic Again, or how about Elton John’s Step into Christmas or the classic Ho! Ho! Ho! (Who’d be a Turkey at Christmas?) Beuller? Beuller?

Sure, some of them are ear-splittingly awful, but for this girl, it ain’t the holidays without ‘em. So come December, I break out the iTunes holiday playlist with its mix of classics and novelty songs, and let it take me back to another time and place. And this favorite holiday tradition is the gift that keeps on giving: earworms for everyone!

Share in the comments your favorite holiday song so I can add to my playlist!

-Kate Meader