From the moment you hear the first Christmas song on the supermarket tannoy system in mid-July until the last remnant of your yuletide hangover subsides in mid-June, your head is full of annoying Christmas and seasonal songs.
But help is at hand, courtesy of Latvia, a land that sings at the drop of a woolly hat. Sure, we can sing all the Christmas standards if only to make you feel less scared as you shop in our excellent value Christmas market. But we also have our own stock of home-grown Christmas and (let's be honest, Solstice) songs which, without wishing to boast, are much better than the cover version by a talent contest winner that is probably number one this year where you come from.
Plus our word for Christmas, namely Ziemassvētki is much cooler than Christmas.
So here's a selection of seasonal songs to get you into a mood that does not involve last minute shopping at the all-nite gas station.
Līvi - Eglīte
This is without doubt the big daddy, the Father Christmas, the Kris Kringle of Latvian Christmas songs. It's got everything: a quiet bit, a massive swooping riff, gravelly-voiced bits and sweet warbling bits. It is almost impossible not to cross hands with the people who happen to be sitting next to you and start swaying to and fro! Below we include the karaoke version so you can learn the words, which unsurprisingly center on a fir tree (the eponymous Eglīte). It's particularly nice for the thousands of people who live in Latvia who actually have Eglite and Eglitis as their surname. In fact as ''Santa'' is a popular girl's name, it is entirely possible you might know someone called Santa Eglīte a.k.a Santa Christmastree.
Cosmos - Reiz meža dzima eglīte
You guessed it, another song about fir trees! This one is a favorite with kids in particular, telling, as it does, the story of a little fir tree growing in the forest. While this is the staple of school yuletide performances by cute children, we could not resist the opportunity to share this frankly mind-bending performance of the Christmas standard by the group Cosmos (whatever happened to them?) from 2009, taking a simple ditty to Spinal Tap-like levels of over-production. But be warned: they follow it up with one of the most pathetic renditions of Jingle Bells ever committed to videotape.
Baļķi - Sidrabiņa lietiņš lija (Kaladū)
You know it's New Year in Latvia not when you see fireworks or people being sick in the streets, but when you see the neighbors dragging a burning log around their house and singing Kaladu, kaladu, even though no-one really seems to know what it means. In an effort to keep up with the Joneses, you immediately set fire to an even bigger log, harness it to any handy members of your household and do the same thing.
Riga Dom Boys' Choir - Foreign carols
Not only do we have our own great songs you've never heard of, we can also sing your own great songs you've never heard of better than you can! Proving the point, here is the wonderful Riga Dom Boys' Choir singing an American and then a French Christmas carol.
So with that all out of the way, a very happy Christmas to you all or, to be more precise, Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus!