One of my favorite Christmas songs of the past 25 years is Carly Simon’s “The Night Before Christmas,” which she wrote and performed for the movie This Is My Life in 1992; it then was used in the 1994 film Mixed Nuts and started to get more attention thereafter. My Christmas Song of the Day for December 17 is another Simon original that hasn’t had the advantage of film usage to help it become better known.
In 2002, she released a Christmas CD called Christmas Is Almost Here. Most of it was recorded in, of all places, a hotel room, with a minimal backing band and only a few later overdubs. I first heard the album that holiday season, and the song that stuck out was one of Simon’s originals, “The Land of Christmas (Mary).” It starts with an assertive strum on the acoustic guitar, played by Simon herself, and has only a bass (from Chris Chaney) and drums (played by legendary session drummer Jim Keltner) plus some backing vocals.
Every once in a while, I’ll hear this one on the radio, but even less often than “The Night Before Christmas.”