I've been asked to recommend some stories, preferably available for free online (since people I know are lazy and cheap):
In the Late December, by Greg van Eekhout (Strange Horizons): Not only will this story get you into the holiday mood, but it will teach you to love speculative fiction (if you don't already):
They come to a cloud of silver mist, and there Santa finds a little boy made of molten silver with liquid silver eyes and sweeping silver delta wings. His wrists are ringed with missile launchers, and a rounded cone emerges from a cavity in his chest. Once there were many silver boys, fleets of them, protecting the outermost parts of inhabited space against things that came from outside inhabited space. But now, there is only the silver boy.
Santa consults his list. "Well, well, well . . . who do we have here?"
The Wages of Syntax, by Ray Vukcevich (SCIFICTION): Another story that works equally well for newcomers and more experienced SF readers alike. Also, if you're a Star Trek fan and have always been perplexed by how Hoshi can learn an alien language she's never heard before just by trying really, really hard, this one's for you:
He grinned and wrote "Spontaneous Competence" on the chalkboard. With an audience like this, he needed something jazzier, something contemporary, something they could relate to, and since no one in the popular press was calling his effect "Spontaneous Competence" as it should rightly be called, he wrote what they actually were calling it underneath the proper name. He wrote "Universal Translation."
He could hear them relax, a kind of good-natured settling in. This was more like it. Who knew, maybe the professor would even talk about aliens.
"First, I must convince you that the so called 'universal translation' you see on TV and in the movies is impossible in principle."
And a one and a two and a three.
"And then I will explain how it can be done."
If you're interested in music -- particularly stuff you probably wouldn't normally encounter -- check out The Apparat podcasts, assembled by Warren Ellis. This goes out weekly, and there's a good backlog of material at this point, too.