Starlight Mints assemble some mutated Christmas jingles to deck halls in Tulsa, Norman 

Children are potent propaganda machines for the pro-holiday spirit lobby. Whether it is Charles Dickens, Dr. Seuss or seasonal elementary school plays across the country, rosy-cheeked tykes are always at the forefront of Christmas tidings, and it looks like kids have candy-cane-hooked Norman's own experimental indie-pop group, the Starlight Mints.

This newfound cheer induced the Mints to schedule a pair of Christmas shows/toy drives Tuesday night at the Marquee in Tulsa and next Wednesday at the Opolis in Norman.

"I definitely have a different perspective being a parent and we've gotten involved at our kids' school and see that there are all kinds of family out there struggling. You can see that at our kids' school for sure," drummer Andy Nunez said. "You see that you should be helping out and not everyone is middle-class. The economy seems to be hitting Oklahoma late, and there are tons of people that are out of work."

Nunez said the Mints wanted to establish an annual show during a holiday. They initially planned to play New Year's Eve, but decided not to compete with The Flaming Lips.

"This last summer, we begin thinking there was a void of Christmas shows," he said. "It's dangerous, because there are a lot of people leaving during the holidays, but a lot also are also coming back. We have a mailing list with people spread all over the place, so the people that were around when we were starting up as a band that have since moved to New York or L.A. all seem to come back for the holidays."

Because the Opolis' capacity is maxed out at around 250, Nunez is pushing the pre-show ticket sales at Guestroom Records. Both locations will allow people to drop off toys for Toys for Tots and the Christmas Store. Nunez hopes that as people come in to purchase a ticket, they will leave a toy.

"I'm not saying my mom raised me right, but my parents are involved with a lot of charities, and that gave me the idea that this doesn't have to just be another show; it could be a chance to do a toy drive," he said. "Also, since we are going to jump the ticket price the day of, we can take that extra money and donate it to the Norman Food Bank."

While the holiday spirit has inspired charity among the Mints, Christmas has infiltrated the band's stage show, seeping onto the set list for next Wednesday's concert.

"We are going to treat the show like an old school play," Nunez said. "We are going to cut out mountains and do some Northern Lights projection. I'm sure everyone will dress up, but the big thing is we are going to do as many mutated versions of Christmas songs as we can. There are so many good Christmas songs out there that you can play in really weird ways."

Starlight Mints with The Feel Spectres perform at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23 at The Opolis, 113 North Crawford in Norman. "Charles Martin

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Charles Martin

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