* Scrooges be damned, those festive holiday feelings are beginning to take hold — escorted by sights, sounds and smells oozing citywide from often-tedious Muzak players, bundled bell ringers and mailboxes stuffed with Christmas cards. Allspice and cinnamon scents hang heavy in the air, along with the deafening hum of retail excess. Two of my favorite holiday traditions involve music: a Christmas Eve afternoon toddy with friends at Toad’s, complete with a cheerful piano player leading a carol sing-a-long, and my annual home screening of Meet Me in St. Louis , with Judy Garland singing a heartrending “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” to a tearful Tootie. Another favorite seasonal viewing is Waiting Room’s annual, free showing of Emmett Otter’s Jug-band Christmas. This year’s event is Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 9 p.m., and will also feature live music from All Young Girls Are Machine Guns and The Whipkey Three, with chili and other treats to keep you warm. On that note, I’ll be stopping by Garage Guitar, 4967 Dodge St., this week to secure my copy of Christmas for Pine Ridge Vol. III: Live at the Waiting Room. Proceeds support Lash LaRue’s annual, admirable Toy Drive for Pine Ridge Reservation (lashlaruetoydrive.com) and the CD features Matt Cox, Cass 50 & the Family Gram, Brad Thomsen, Brad Hoshaw, Filter Kings, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, Mariachi San Juan, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship, Platte River Rain, Dustin Clayton, Kyle Harvey, Josh Dunwoody, Vago, Korey Anderson, Son of 76 & the Hundred Miles. If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that I love Christmas music, but also fully acknowledge the bounty of Christmas music crap out there. You have to pick and choose when it comes to holiday tunes, and if it’s anything like previous installments this disc will be full of original stuff from this batch of standout locals. Check next week’s Backbeat for a mini-review and another NPR Music-inspired playlist. * Another thing I love? The Omaha Rollergirls. Saturday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m. at Slowdown, Sailor’s Grave presents ORG’s first Black and Blue Ball, celebrating the end of their season, and moves to the Mid America Center and the WFTDA South Central Region in 2011, featuring DJ MBowen, Hot Tail Honeys, raffles (including a $50 gift certificate to TOPS Boutique), dancing and special guests. Proceeds from the $8 cover support the Hefflinger Dog Park. Backbeat takes you behind the scenes of the local music scene. Send tips, comments and questions to backbeat@thereader.com.

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