I don’t know about you, but one thing I love about the Christmas season is the music. Now, I’m not one of those people who listens all year or gets uber pumped when they start coming on the radio in OCTOBER, but I do like a good Christmas song. I’m very traditional in most parts of my life, so all the new songs or pop-ified versions of classics kind of grate me the wrong way, but I have several favorites that I look forward to singing/listening to each year. Here are ten of my favorites (I tried to count them down, but I don’t know if this list is completely accurate as far as these songs being ranked).
10) Holly Jolly Christmas – How can you not love this song? My favorite part is when Burl Ives says “Christmas” and his accent goes down a bit. I have such a fun time imitating this! We also used to have this videotape (For those of you too young to know what a “videotape” is it was a black plastic rectangle box that held film strips. You used this on a VCR. For those of you too young to know what a VCR is, here is a page on Wikipedia that explains it.) of various Christmas cartoons’ songs, like those from Rudolph and Frosty and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. We got it from McDonald’s I think.
9) Last Christmas – This is one of those head scratching Christmas songs because I’m not quite sure why I like it other than it’s catchy and fun. I’m more traditional in the songs I like, but this one is an exception!
8) Feliz Navidad – Okay, this one sounds a little strange adding to my list, but hear me out: when I was in 4th grade our regular teacher was out for a long period of time and we had a permanent substitute named Miss Beam. She was young and perky and our class found her quite annoying. Anyway, during lunch at Christmastime she decided she wanted our class to get up and sing for the whole lunchroom. I’m assuming that Feliz Navidad was either popular during this time period or maybe she just thought it would be multicultural festive (I vaguely remember multicultural themes being big in this school as a way for us to learn about other countries/people), but she thought it would be a great idea of us to sing. 20 some odd years later, I still know all the words and love singing along to it. I’m always highly impressed that I’m able to sing “Prospero Ano y Felicidad” without stumbling through it (I sometimes have a hard enough time singing songs in English).
7) Russian Christmas Music – We played this piece at our high school Christmas concert. It’s definitely very Russian… Christmasy though? Not so much. It’s also epically long so listen at your own risk.
6) Silent Night – This is one of those Christmas hymns that my mom sang to me as a little girl and it’s always been a part of our traditional Christmas songs, but it wasn’t until 11 years ago when my grandfather passed away that it finally meant something close to my heart. He passed away on I think the 22nd (eep! 11 years exactly… creepy) and we had his funeral on Christmas Eve. Even though we were very emotionally drained that day, our family still went to our church’s Christmas Eve service. We were fine until we got to Silent Night, which is what we sing when we do the candlelight part. We were like dominoes: Mom started crying, I started crying, my brother started crying, then my sister (Daddy was out Christmas shopping, as was pretty traditional back then). Every year when we come to that part of the service, I tear up. There’s no weeping anymore like there was the first few years, but there’s still a tear or two*. Hey, that part is pretty powerful!
*Except last year when I decided that when we lifted our candles into the air it was like that scene at the end of Harry Potter 6 after Dumbledore dies and they lift their wands in the air. I whispered this to my sister and we fell into church giggles.
5) Snow (White Christmas) – One of my FAVORITE holiday movies and the title song doesn’t make this list! But you know what does? The song Snow from it. I sing this constantly during the winter in hopes that it might snow. And when it does? Oh this gets sung constantly. It’s not really a “Christmas” song, but it works for the season!
4) Let it Snow – I’m a big fan of this song and love to sing it in the shower. Don’t ask me why; it’s just a little quirk I have.
3) Greensleeves arr. Alfred Reed – When I found out our high school band played this as part of our Christmas concert I may have squealed. I LOVE Greensleeves. We used to have this Encarta Encyclopedia computer program (for those of you too young to know what an encyclopedia is, it was a giant set of books that go out of date 2 weeks after they are printed) and it had this clip of Greensleeves, which I realized was the original version of my absolute favorite Christmas song. I even have a music box that plays it! This arrangement by Alfred Reed is the one we played every Christmas and still to this day it gives me the chills!
2) Oh Holy Night – For many years I just listened to this song without hearing the words. Then one day I think I was singing along to it and it kinda hit me, like a blow to the gut. Wow, powerful stuff! “Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth” “Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother, And in His name all oppression shall cease.” Seriously, how can you not be moved by this? I feel like I could have a very in-depth discussion on these two lines!
1) What Child Is This? – If we do not sing this at our Christmas Eve service I get scary angry. It’s my favorite Christmas hymn and honestly makes the service for me. I’ve loved this song for many, many years (15+) and while the words aren’t SUPER powerful, they are as familiar to me as Jingle Bells or Deck the Halls. Singing it at our church’s Christmas Even service moves me in ways that many songs do not. It’s my favorite Christmas song AND hymn. Favorite favorite favorite!
Also, I promise I’m not a big Josh Grobin fan… he just does a terrific job on these two songs!