With her soulful lyrics and soothing vocals, it’s hard to imagine any singer better suited to create a Christmas album than Norah Jones. And on Oct. 15, the nine-time Grammy winner proved that to be the case with her first-ever holiday album, I Dream Of Christmas. As you’d expect, the songs feature a slightly romantic, slightly whimsical sound — and that’s especially true of the lead single, “Christmas Calling (Jolly Jones).” Yes, every ballad on the album is exactly what a holiday song should be. But with its cozy and nostalgic vibes, this one epitomizes the holiday season; and with Jones’ newly released music video for the song, that’s now even more obvious.
Dropped on Nov. 30, the video for the single depicts an increasingly “jolly” city scene as Jones rides her bike through Brooklyn streets. As she laments about not wanting to feel alone on Christmas, she’s slowly joined by more and more Santas as the snow starts to fall. By the end, it seems to represent what a joyful holiday should include: A wintry setting, plenty of festive friends, and even a Parachute store, which makes an appearance throughout (because really, what’s a holiday without some comfy gifts?).
Though you could certainly guess that it’s Jones’ idea of the perfect Christmas season from the video, TZR had the chance to connect with the singer to get her thoughts on the holidays herself. From her gifting strategy (which, spoiler, includes plenty of finds from Parachute) to prepping for cold weather and dealing with the stress of the season, here’s what she had to say.
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What's your favorite part about this particular time of year?
My favorite thing about this time of year is the crisp feeling in the air when you walk down the street, [and] the Christmas decorations are up everywhere, especially in NYC. It’s just a magical feeling. Even though the time leading up to the holidays has become stressful for many people, the payoff of just relaxing with family and friends and cooking and sharing a meal and quality time with no phones is the best.
Are you a big gifter? What's your strategy for gifting and ensuring everyone gets covered?
Growing up, the emphasis wasn’t always on the perfect gift, it was more on spending time together. I never expect perfect gifts, but over the years as the recipient of so many thoughtful gifts from friends, I’ve gotten better at it. I mostly try to keep a list all year for random ideas so that I don’t forget any lightning bolts. Mostly, though, I don’t think the perfect gift needs to be the goal, it’s just that you thought of someone, that’s what’s special.
Are there any rules you follow for gifting? Anything you try to avoid?
I usually end up finding something small but cool that a lot of people would like, and getting a bunch of them in case I forget anyone, or if we have a surprise guest, or to give a little something extra in case my main gift is lame. A good robe is hard to beat and it’s a luxury that anyone can enjoy. The Cloud Cotton Robe from Parachute is like giving a warm hug to your friends or family. I still think socks are the best in this category, since we all need ‘em, we all lose ‘em, and you can find something funny for everyone.
Are there any specific products you're eyeing this year for the gifting season?
I was thinking of getting some Apple AirTags since everyone I know is always misplacing something. For kids, I like getting books; mine are just at the age when reading gets super fun.
How do you prep your home for winter and the colder months ahead? What swaps or changes do you make? Do you include holiday decor or keep things pretty neutral?
I always have a sweater handy! And I have a few furry blankets that I love to have around the living room. We don’t go nuts decorating, but we do put up our tree early and keep it up late! This year we decorated a few trees outside with solar lights.
How do you keep the common holiday stress at bay?
Holiday stress is something that is so common for people now. I don’t really know how it got this way! For me, I think keeping my cooking plans simple, and asking guests to bring extra side dishes or dessert is a big help. Also, for gifts, just remembering that something small and sweet will do; it doesn’t have to be a personalized hand-knitted sweater if it’s going to make you break out in hives. A gift certificate for something people can treat themselves to can also go a long way and is easy to pick up. They will still love you either way.
What does your bedtime routine consist of? Any self-care rituals you swear by to help you wind down?
I go to bed as soon as I possibly can, it’s my only time to watch TV shows without any distractions. I try to keep it to a minimum though, because the best way for me to fall asleep without overthinking anything is to read my Kindle in the dark ‘til I just drop off!
What are you most looking forward to for 2022? Any New Year's resolutions?
I’m looking forward to doing some touring finally next year. I have not toured since before the pandemic; I miss the audience and the experience of playing music live, not knowing what exactly is coming next and being creative in that way. My New Year's resolution is to do everything I can to engage my kids in grocery shopping, cooking, and growing a garden to eat from, so that they can learn how to appreciate where healthy food comes from and hopefully finally eat some more fruits and vegetables. Wish me luck with that!