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Nate Butler's 23rd Annual
Mmm-Mmm Christmas!

(2014 Date & location TBA)
*ALL AGES WELCOME!*
Come sing Christmas Carols with us, guided by your host Nate Butler, with music provided by The Suicide Lounge! The lyrics will be projected overhead, so you have no excuse not to join us in holiday song! Also, you can make ornaments for our Christmas tree (crafts materials provided), and indulge yourself in much holidy cheer!

Below are a few news articles regarding Mmm-Mmm Christmas's past.
"For Kids At Heart: Mmm-Mmm Christmas will put you in the holiday mood"

by Mike Osegueda
T
he Fresno Bee, Friday, December 23, 2011
Nate Butler's Christmas isn't everybody's Christmas.
GARY KAZANJIAN/THE FRESNO BEE

It's one filled with Christmas carols, homemade ornaments, old Christmas cartoons -- and not so much religion.

"Some people might not like that," says Butler, a longtime local musician, known best, perhaps, for his piano playing. "They're saying, 'You're celebrating the commercial aspects of Christmas.' No, the aspects that were fun when I was a kid."

The whole idea behind Butler's annual Mmm-Mmm Christmas gathering is for adults to celebrate Christmas like they were children again.

Not much has changed from the Mmm-Mmm Christmas program over the years. Butler sets up a big table with construction paper, glue sticks, plastic scissors and glitter, plus a bare Christmas tree, so people can create then decorate. Old Christmas cartoons play throughout the night.

He and a few of his elves (namely Tom Magill and Glen Parrish) lead the crowd in singing Christmas songs.

"When we do 'Jingle Bells,' " Butler says, "we have to be sure to do the 'Batman smells' chorus."

Mmm-Mmm Christmas started when Butler was doing holiday shows at Club Fred, back when it had just opened. He was doing a Nate Butler Christmas concert and people in the crowd just started singing along.

It evolved from Butler performing for Christmas to Butler leading a community Christmas party.

Over the years, Mmm-Mmm Christmas has jumped around to various venues such as Zapp's Park and, like this year, Starline.

And Butler admits he missed a few years along the way -- we've all been a little bah humbug before, right? -- but always comes back to Mmm-Mmm Christmas because so many people enjoy it.

He does too.

"Something I get a lot, and it's my favorite, is when people say 'I wasn't in the spirit yet this year and I am now,'" Butler says. "I always get at least one person who says that every year, and that's always what I'm going for."

That, and to feel like a kid at Christmas again.

"I'm an adult," he says. "But I'm still a big kid. I remember what it's like to be a kid at Christmas. I think some adults forget."

"Mr. Jolly"

By Joshua Tehee, for The Fresno Bee
Thursday, December 19, 2002

At Nate Butler's Christmas party, it doesn't matter if guests don't remember the words to traditional holiday songs. That's exactly how his party, Mmm-Mmm Christmas, got its name. Or better yet, ask anyone who's joined him at Club Fred for his annual "Mmm-Mmm Christmas" celebration.


It's the final stage of Butler's Christmastime transformation.
Above: The photo that accompanied this news article. The photos below are from Mmm-Mmm Christmas Past.
Butler's wife, Cindy, who helps organize the Mmm-Mmm Christmas event each year, said she's watched her husband become more like Santa than ever before.

The show has been an 11-year evolution for the 37-year-old Fresno performer.

The show used to be called "Christmas with Nate Butler," or "Nate Butler's Christmas" with a focus on Butler playing Christmas-themed music and
inviting fellow musicians on stage to join him. But when the audience started taking an active role in the show, Butler knew the name and format of his yearly celebration had to change.
"People would hoot and holler through the performances and want to sing along," Butler said. "Even though they didn't know the words, they would hum along at the parts they didn't know."

And so Mmm-Mmm Christmas was born.


Now Butler is militant about keeping that audience participation a mandatory part of the night. It helps sustain the carefree, lose-yourself-in-the-spirit attitude of the night.
"And if you don't sing along ... time out!" Butler said.

The show always starts the same way. Before the singing even begins, Butler plays old television Christmas specials on a giant screen onstage. He loved watching the specials as a child. The old cartoon or choppy clay-animation takes on classic Christmas tales like "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer," or "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," hold the key to the whole night -- a symbol of how things used to be.
His Santa Claus transformation is more than mere jolliness and red clothes. At the heart is the opportunity to give people something they may have lost in all the hustle and bustle of Christmases past -- their childhood.
Mmm-Mmm Christmas is a regression to that childhood, the innocence that Christmas once held. Along with the sing-alongs, audience members are urged to make Christmas tree decorations out of construction paper, paste and safety scissors, which Butler provides.
And suitably, the show culminates at midnight with the "Peanuts' Dance," when the audience re-enacts a scene from "A Charlie Brown Christmas", dancing and singing, becoming children again.

"The 'Peanuts' Dance' is a measure of how much you're willing to let go and be a kid," Butler said.

"If we did the 'Peanuts' Dance' and a majority of the people didn't get up and dance, I'd think I've failed," he said.
But Cindy Butler says she sees the success of Mmm-Mmm Christmas on the faces of the people who attend. Even those who are notoriously anti-Christmas come away with a sense of joy from the event.

"Even they get a twinkle in their eyes," she said.

And for Butler, that is all that matters. "At the end of the night, I have a warm fuzzy," he said.