My Favorite Christmas Songs

I love Christmas music at least for, say, a week or so. Once a year. There’s a radio station in my area that started playing it non-stop in late November, three days prior to Thanksgiving. At that point it’s too soon and it’s just irritating.

However, for the few days prior to Christmas and for the few days after, I go into XMAS song overload. For the record, I was raised Roman Catholic and went to parochial schools for much of my early life. So Christmas was a fairly pleasant time. I still like the music although I no longer subscribe to any particular faith. (That said, leaning towards Druid.) 😂

I have a laptop that I do these posts on and an older one that I have converted into a music machine. So it sits there plugged into a Bluetooth speaker. (Plugged in so that I don’t have to spend 1/2 hour every time getting that inconsistent technology to actually work.)

I’ve been loading all my Christmas songs onto that thing and realized the other day that over the years I’ve amassed almost six hours worth! (Actually I have more but I haven’t loaded out every version of, say, “White Christmas.”) I would argue that the preponderance of songs are what you might call traditional. But there are a few wild cards in there that aren’t Christmas songs at all like Gregorian chants. (More of that mystical church thing, you know?)

Anyway, without further ado, here are my top twenty-five Christmas songs with a few for you to play while you’re decorating that tree, opening your gifts or, {chuckle}, perhaps downing a fifth of vodka because you’ve had enough of your in-laws. It’s all-purpose music!

(in no particular order):

-The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
-Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
-Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms

-Christmas Time is Here (Peanuts gang) – Vince Guaraldi Trio
-What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? – Rod Stewart (w/Ella Fitzgerald)
-White Christmas – Bing Crosby
-Nunc Dimittis – The Boys of the Cathedral Choir

-Ave Maria – Andrea Bocelli
-Do You Hear What I Hear? – Carpenters
-Merry Christmas Baby – B.B King
-Happy Holidays to You – Ball In the House (a capella)

-Hallelujah Chorus from “Messiah” – Mormon Tabernacle Choir
-Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
-The Little Drummer Boy – Ray Conniff & The Singers
-Gaudete – Steeleye Span

-O Tannenbaum – Nat King Cole
-Please Come Home for Christmas – The Eagles
-Silent Night, Holy Night – Johnny Mathis
-Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
-O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Bette Midler

-Ceremony of Carols: As Dew in Aprille (Allegro) – Chorus Vinnnensis & Wiener Sängerknaben
-Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Bruce Springsteen
-Away in a Manger – Mormon Tabernacle Choir
-Winter Wonderland – Johnny Mathis
-Happy XMAS (War Is Over) – John Lennon

33 thoughts on “My Favorite Christmas Songs

    1. BTW, Lemmy, Twisted Sister and Cheech and Chong have XMAS songs? That is so fucked. I love it. As to the Kinks, much as i love ’em, that is another song like the Greg Lake and Slade songs that never made a splash here to my knowledge.

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        1. Boy, that fucking rocks! Lemmy, Billy Gibbons and Grohl? How the hell did those guys get together? And why didn’t they form a band?

          BTW, for whatever reason, the version you pointed to cuts off less than halfway through, just when they get cooking. Here’s the full-bore version:

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I didn’t even watch the clip I sent. Silly me.

          That would have been an awesome side project. All 3 of those guys have a habit of doing a one off song with other artists, but I would line up to buy an album by them.

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        1. That’s actually pretty good. Funny video too. I like how the meek suburbanites who are in all likelihood listening to Perry Como get converted. The guy becomes a headbanger and the gal, well…

          I’ll check out the other ones today, too. Thanks.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I like the part when the guy is flashing devil horns and his wife gives him “the look”.
          Also the part where he is dancing and rubbing himself and the band looks at him like “What are you doing?????”

          The next time a metal band shows up at my house for Christmas, I’m keeping my wife out of sight.

          😉

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        1. This was a single? It goes on for, like, three hours. Anyway, I gave it a listen but after a few minutes, meh. Never much a fan of these guys.

          But I realize I may have neglected my Canadian friends and, perhaps, their greatest export, Bob and Doug McKenzie. (My wife and I used to watch Second City TV religiously back in the day.)

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    1. Actually, I didn’t even know he HAD a Christmas song till he passed away. That song had no impact over here at all to my knowledge. I’ll add it honorarily but I won’t be able to say it’s one of my favorites yet cause I really don’t know it. But next year! 😀

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      1. Really? Blimey – that song (like Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody) is ubiquitous with Christmas over here. I actually came up with two original songs some years back trying to suss the (now obviously simple) guitar line out.

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        1. One more thing in regards to this side of the pond. Given there are literally hundreds of XMAS albums and more being churned out every day by pop stars, I can’t point to any one ubiquitous version of anything. Springsteen’s “Santa” is pretty popular on the rock and some pop stations. Other than that, I can’t say there’s any clear favorite regionally or nationwide of which I’m aware.

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    2. I mentioned this conversation to someone over the holidays. What I didn’t realize is that Father Christmas is your country’s personification of Christmas. Over here it’s Santa Claus. So as great as that song might be, for that reason alone it will never get any traction over here. Kids here learn about Santa Claus (or old Saint Nick) practically from the crib. The expression ‘Father Christmas’ is completely unknown.

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  1. Yeah, I would say neither of those is very well-known over here. Even on the odd occasion when I do listen to Christmas songs on the radio, neither of those ever come up. I literally only heard both of them recently, the Lake one when he died and the Slade one, simply because some other blogger posted about them. (I like to joke that I am the only Slade fan in America.)

    But here’s a thing: I spent a few months one summer way back when in London. And the Top Ten (or Top Forty if you will) was, with few exceptions, radically different than in the States. There might have been a crossover of one or two songs and that’s about it. Even though there is a great back and forth of Brit and American rock, there is still a wide discrepancy. I’ve seen this over and over while I do research. Song X is number one in the UK for 5 weeks yet barely makes it into the Billboard 100 over here. Remember my skiffle post? Huge in the UK, effectively nothing here.

    So if you think about it in that context, it makes sense that that would translate over to the Christmas stuff. FWIW.

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  2. Well strictly speaking, as noted in the post, while the majority are indeed Christmas songs, a few can be categorized more as spiritual or seasonal rather than Christmas songs as such (E.g. gregorian chants).

    But if I look at the songs I have in iTunes and strip the seasonal ones out, I actually have about 65 – 67 Christmas songs, depending on whether or not those Vienna Choir Boys songs are really in fact Christmas tunes. (They’re in Latin.) But if you eliminate even those, I have a solid 65 or so different, discrete honest-to-God (if you will) Christmas songs. And then multiple versions of those.

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  3. I’m afraid on British radio all that get’s played is Wizzard and Wham, so I have a slight aversion to Christmas music. But you can’t beat some Vince Guaraldi… Also; George Winston’s December is a nice one. Thanks for these ;D

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  4. In a previous comment, we were discussing the differences between American and British radio.. And so there’s another. That station I mentioned in the post that plays XMAS music relentlessly is at this very moment playing it 24/7 and will through Christmas. In order to fill up that time there is not only a lot of repetition but also some very shirty songs. (I long ago abandoned “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.”)

    Thanks for your suggestions. More for next year. BTW, missing from my list? The David Bowie/Bing Crosby “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” collaboration. I never bought it as you can’t buy the single, just the album. And so I am now contemplating whether it’s worth 8 dollars (about 6.5 pounds) to get this album, most of whose songs I already own. Just to get that song. The answer, of course, is yes. 😁

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    1. If anybody’s still following these comments, then yes, I did plunk down 8 bucks to get the Bowie/Crosby song. But I got a few other ones to boot so, as they say in business, win-win.

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        1. I read up on this. Turns out Crosby was doing a special in London. Unclear whether Bing knew who Bowie was or his kids clued him in. Regardless, David wound up on the show and, turns out, hated “Drummer Boy. ” So the songwriters scrambled, quickly wrote “Peace in Earth,” and mashed the songs together. There was zero intent to release as single. But it was bootlegged so much, they stuck it on a compilation. Bing died one month later and the show was aired posthumously.

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        2. I’m sure I read all that in one or more of the many Bowie books I have but thanks for the reminder. The fact he died so soon after is probably what gave the performance its cult status – that and the sheer weirdness of the coupling.
          Mind you, I hear Bing was a pot-head so maybe not so weird.

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    1. Gaudete is one of my favorite tunes of any genre. I post it on Facebook every year hoping to pique somebody’s interest. I’ll try again this year.

      I went to your site but soon realized I had to read the longer “Director’s Cut” of your story. Heroic, if you ask me.

      Hey, I dug that tune by Burrows. Totally swings. Thanks. Merry Christmas back at ya from frozen tundra New England.

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