Music is such a special part of my life, and Christmas songs are no different. There have been so many great versions of almost every song, it was hard to narrow it down to just 20. But with 10 days to go before the big day, I thought I would share my list with all of you.
Each song includes a link to a YouTube video. I do not own the rights to anything, nor am I associated with any of the channels/videos that I chose. I just picked ones that showcased either the artists and/or the song enough to give you the best feel for the tune (in my humble opinion).
All opinions are my own.
What are some of your favorite Christmas songs? Tell me in the comments below.
1) Merry Christmas Baby by Bruce Springsteen ( written by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore).
It’s Bruce. To say this is perfect would only be redundant.
2) Christmas Time is Here by the Peanuts ( written by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi).
The Peanuts were my best friends when I was a kid, and today they are just as special to me. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the main reason why. If all I did for the holiday season was watch this special, my Christmas would still be perfect.
3) White Christmas by Otis Redding (written by Irving Berlin).
Yes, I know all about the popularity of Bing Crosby’s version. However, in my humble opinion, Redding brings such a stunning soulful element to his version of this song I really cannot listen to any other one. And if it was good enough for the “Love Actually” soundtrack, it is good enough for me.
4) Winter Wonderland by Ray Charles (written by Felix Bernard).
Charles’ take on this is as unique and gorgeous as his version of “America The Beautiful”. Truly a holiday gem.
5) Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives (written by Johnny Marks).
Who does not want a singing snowman??? Burl Ives is one of the reasons why I still tune in to watch “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” even now.
6) Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love (written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry).
Love has performed this song on Letterman’s show since 1993. You have to watch both the studio version and the live version to truly appreciate this song and Love’s voice.
http://youtu.be/4EvZOXEoJ84 (studio version)
http://youtu.be/m7M6wRPuD2w (2013 Letterman performance)
7) Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (written by Charles Wesley).
Between the Peanuts characters singing it at the end of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and it being the song that celebrated George Bailey’s worth in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, it is impossible for me to hear any version of this song and not get verklempt. A multitude of singers have covered this song but Martina McBride, Neil Diamond & Frank Sinatra’s versions are among my favorites.
8) Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland (written by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane).
Tony Bennett called Garland the greatest singer he ever heard. I am in no position to argue with a man of his talent and taste.
9) Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley (written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson).
10) O Come All Ye Faithful by Nat King Cole (written by John Francis Wade).
Most people associate him with the most famous version of “The Christmas Song”, but it is this Christmas classic that I love the most of Cole’s holiday recordings.
11) The Christmas Song by Tony Bennett (written by Mel Torme & Robert Wells).
Tony Bennett is a legend. If you do not have any of his music in your collection, you are doing yourself a disservice.
12) It’s a Marshmallow World by Dean Martin (written in 1949 by Carl Sigman and Peter DeRose).
I think Frank Sinatra would even agree that Martin was probably the coolest member of the Rat Pack.
13) Celebrate Me Home by Kenny Loggins (written by Bob James and Kenny Loggins).
Not a cover of a Christmas classic, but a song of Loggins’ very own is now a holiday staple.
14) What Christmas Means To Me by Stevie Wonder (written by Anna Gordy Gaye (yes, Marvin Gaye’s first wife) & George Gordy).
Another original Christmas tune that has become a staple of the holiday. And who can forget Will Ferrell’s “Elf” jumping on the mattresses with his little brother while this song was playing?
15) Silver Bells by Rosemary Clooney & Bing Crosby (written by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans).
Before her nephew George was probably even born, Rosemary Clooney was Hollywood’s “it” girl. Anything she sang was perfection and pairing her voice with Bing Crosby’s turned a song into a spectacular event.
16) Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon (written by John Lennon & Yoko Ono).
From the man who told us “love is the answer”, peace was the gift he wanted for the world, and not just at Christmas.
17) The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams (written by Eddie Pola and George Wyle).
I’ll admit this song now reminds me of back to school shopping thanks to a fabulous campaign several years ago by Staples, but it is a holiday classic nonetheless.
18) The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth by Bing Crosby & David Bowie (Drummer Boy written by Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati & Katherine Kennicott Davis, and the Peace on Earth music & lyrics written by Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman and Alan Kohan expressly for the recording by Crosby and Bowie).
In theory this was an odd pairing, but in principle their voices worked so well together it is hard to imagine this season without this song. But I still wonder what would have happened if Bowie had shown up at Crosby’s house dressed as Ziggy Stardust??? (LOL)
19) O Holy Night by Eric Cartman (written by Adolphe-Charles Adam).
South Park is one of my all time favorite shows, and this clip illustrates just one of the reasons why. Any reverence I had for this song is gone thanks to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but I would not have it any other way!!!
20) Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy (written by Randy Brooks).
This brings back memories of me and my cousins signing this song to my grandmother, who I miss everyday, not just at Christmas. But this makes me feel a little closer to her.