It’s past midnight…but technically I STARTED writing this post on the 15th, so it was still day #2.
What don’t I like about Christmas music? The way that radio stations insisted on playing it way before Thanksgiving this year. What do I love about Christmas music? When played in small doses at the right time of year…it’s damn near magical. There are certain songs that I love to hear this time of year. Here are my Top 10 in no particular order. Feel free to make a playlist…
1) The 12 Daze of Christmas – Fay McKay
Of all the parody versions of The 12 Days of Christmas, this is my favorite, because it requires the most investment in the performance. Anyone can come up with funny parody lyrics, but it takes someone special to pull them off with quite this much panache. Fay McKay was a lounge singer in Vegas, and this was one of her biggest numbers. Here’s the best recording of it. You’ve probably heard it before.
2) Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
I love, love this song! Mostly because of the way Ives says “Oh, by golly.” It’s just so peppy, and it makes me love the whole thing. Also, the way he says “Kiss’er…once for me!” is pretty sweet, too.
3) O, Holy Night – Mariah Carey
By far, my favorite religious Christmas song. You just can’t beat “Faaaaaaaaaaaaall on your kneeeeeeeeeeeees…..” And Mariah’s version of this song pretty much takes the cake. All the modernity without taking away the reverence. Just beautiful.
4) All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
OK, why don’t we all just admit that Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas is the best modern Christmas album ever, and that everyone else can just stop making them now. It’s rare that a newly-penned Christmas song becomes a classic. But she did it.
5) Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
This song is just perfect. I’ve loved it since I was little, but as I’ve gotten older, I *sigh* RELATE to it, too. Now, all I need is to bump into that guy I’ve been chasing all year at the supermarket…
6) Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer – Gene Autry
My favorite for pure nostalgia. When I was little, my family had a vinyl record of Gene Autry doing Christmas songs that I would listen to at all times of the year! There was something about Autry’s voice that I always found really comforting. It was as if he was singing just to me. Also, yes, I’m old enough to have had records. Shut up.
7) Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth – Bing Crosby and David Bowie
The Little Drummer Boy talks about Jesus and acknowledges that he’s the reason we’re celebrating this whole holiday while telling the story from the point of view of a minor player, which I think would very much be Jesus’ style. Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me… The Little Drummer Boy having a voice gives all the minor players in the story respect, and I’ve always loved that. Bing Crosby and David Bowie’s intergenerational take on the song, blending it with Peace on Earth, was inspired and sounds awesome!
8 Santa Baby – Madonna
Madonna’s version of this song is the best. No question. She doesn’t just sing the song, she gives a full-on acting performance, complete with put-on accent. It’s sexy AND funny – it’s sexy BECAUSE it’s funny – which is which is what this song is supposed to be.
9) Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
I know exactly when this song became one of my favorites. It’s when I first saw the movie Home Alone. This song is used when Kevin first chases the thieves out of his house with his traps. The last notes of the song coincided with his look out the window, smiling with pride. To this day, I can’t hear this song without a vague feeling of smug triumph.
10) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra
It’s weird. This song, I like because it’s a bit melancholy. It sounds like someone trying to stay cheery and wish someone else a Merry Christmas while they themselves are having a crappy holiday season. Sinatra’s voice just kills me on this. It kills me all the time, but particularly on this bittersweet song.
What are your favorite Christmas songs?