* The flurry of benefit shows, radio programs and other events comprising Lash LaRue’s Toy Drive are finished for the year, but you can still contribute by buying a copy of Christmas for Pine Ridge Volume III: Live at The Waiting Room. Lucky you, because the disc carries the torch of mostly original Christmas songs by local talents, and as LaRue reminds, “this is not your grandmother’s Christmas music.” Matt Cox’s stripped-down opener “Christmas Time at Pine Ridge” sets a proper tone. All Young Girls Are Machine Guns is ever the standout with the wistful “Winter Song.” Mariachi San Juan’s “Noche De Paz (Silent Night)” is a treat and adds another texture to the mix, as does Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship’s “One Through Seven.” Brad Hoshaw’s vocals are as warm as spiked coffee on “Christmas Eve, Oh Christmas Eve.” Platte River Rain’s playful “Christmas Song” had me doing a Darktown House Band double-take. The ultimate star topping the tree here is Korey Anderson’s “Christmas Lights.” Its well-crafted melody and emotive lyrics will have a place on all the compilations of my Christmas future. The album is $15 at Garage Guitar, 4967 Dodge St., or at lashlaruetoydrive.com — where you can also purchase Volumes I and II, for $10 each. * Kyle Harvey’s “Merry Christmas From Outer Space,” his offering on Pine Ridge Vol. III , spurred an entire holiday record from him by that name. In addition to the eponymous track are songs like “Crop Circle Christmas,” “Happy Birthday Baby Jesus, Merry Christmas Alf,” and “Baby, It’s Cold In Space.” Harvey also notes via email that the disc includes his official hip-hop debut, “All I Want For Christmas is a Spacesuit.” Harvey will host a CD release party Tuesday, Dec. 21, at Benson’s Barley Street Tavern. Attendees can get in for free by dressing as “aliens, space babes, astronauts, men in black … Santa Clause or elfs, or wearing tinfoil hats.” Sounds like a fair trade. * Holiday Throwdown at Slowdown is Friday, Dec. 17, featuring music from Conduits, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, Bear Country and more, plus it’s a celebration of the Mynabirds’ 7” All I Want Is Truth (for Christmas) and the relaunch of omahype.com (see Lazy-i for more on that). You can even pair your partying with some last-minute shopping as Autopilot Art, Princess Lasertron, Buf Reynolds and others will be on hand with unique, local wares for sale. So don’t stress, you can have your Christmas cake and eat it too.