As I’ve already said, I love Christmas music. I love dear old carols and modern favourites. I love it instrumental. I love it a capella. I love it warbled in the shower, hollered by kids, and belted out by revellers. I love it spoken like poetry. All the same, some Christmas music has lost its lustre. Brenda Lee can stop rockin’ around all trees of any kind, forever. Nobody ever needs to cover “Last Christmas” again; Wham! did it right the first time. We don’t need any more mechanical phone-ins of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” either, complete with icky banter between the two singers at the end (although the old clip I just linked to has its charms). And Bob Geldof really needs to consider some alternative treatment to Band-Aids. The 1984 original is simply unbeatable. That moment when Bono wails “tonight, thank God it’s them instead of you” brings tears to my eyes, every time.
When Remembrance Day is over, Christmas music creeps into the background of my life. Sometimes, it’s our dusty CDs, rescued from the storage room and savoured, one by one, at odd moments. Sometimes, it’s the sweet surprise of hearing a Christmas favourite on the radio for the first time since last Boxing Day. Many times, it’s been the joy of discovering that Majic 100 has gone all Christmas, all the time – after days of checking in because we know it’s coming. In those cases, it comes roaring to the forefront, and I leap into it and roll around like Scrooge McDuck in his money vault. Today, I feel like sharing some of my favourite Christmas songs. These are in no particular order, and they are everything from whimsical to wistful. They are perfect for dashing through the mall, wrapping presents like a pro (even getting the ribbon curls right, because I am told that some people do), making a mess of a gingerbread house, or nibbling on your pen in front of a pile of blank cards. They are a precious part of my Christmas celebration, and I look forward to them every year. I’ve linked each title to the song. Enjoy, if you’ve a moment ….
“Snoopy’s Christmas” by the Royal Guardsmen
This old treasure, oddly tying together Snoopy and the first world war and that beautiful story of a Christmas truce, has been part of my Christmas for as long as I can remember. Oh, those bells after the baron wishes Snoopy a merry Christmas!
“2,000 Miles” by the Pretenders
I don’t know what it is about this, but it both lifts my heart and squeezes it, all at the same time.
“O Come All Ye Faithful” by Elvis Presley
The moment when the music surges and the drums pound us into the second verse, the high, sweet choir urging us to “sing”! That is a musical moment I look forward to, and cherish, every Christmas. It stops me in my tracks, every time.
“Santa Claus is Back in Town” by Elvis Presley
Elvis gets two songs …. but he’s Elvis, so it’s ok. This sexy little romp is pure festive fun, and I used to blast it at Christmastime when I was a teenager and my parents still had a record player. Now, I have the record, and it is no less loved.
“Spaceman Came Travelling” by Chris de Burgh
Chris de Burgh’s sweet quaver, and the echoing chorus, and the idea of seeing the manger from high above the planet like the spaceman …. and a celestial song kicked off by the first sound of new life, a baby’s cry.
“I Love Christmas” by Ali Milner
This jazzy little confection is just adorable, and you can just picture each scene as she sings about it. Instant mood boost ….
“Christmas is Calling” by Roch Voisine
Not sure who the leggy gal in the video is, and I know it’s rather random – but this is the only video I could find for this beautiful song. The sadness, the longing, the love – and the acknowledgement that Christmas can be many things, and it’s not always unalloyed delight.
“As Long As There’s Christmas” by Aselin Debson
This is just plain sweet …. Her wispy voice, the joy and nostalgia, the imagery – the homecoming. And the truth: there is always a little bit of a little girl in me at Christmastime.
“Maybe This Christmas” by Ron Sexsmith
Maybe this Christmas there will be an open door …. maybe we will touch or be touched, maybe there will be forgiveness and redemption. Maybe we will not have heaven on earth, but maybe there will be gratitude for the good we do have. This song is less than two minutes long, but it captures the simple message of Christmas: renewal. And maybe that’s enough.
“Another Year Has Gone By” by Celine Dion
Ok, ok, it’s Celine Dion. A Canadian cheeseball. But, but, but …. If you listen to the beautiful lyrics of this song, you will hear the story of a strong love, and the celebration of another brick – another year – being laid on a solid foundation.
“Merry Christmas, Darling” by the Carpenters
“But I can dream, and in my dreams, I’m Christmassing with you” …. This is lovely and sad, made more stirring by the rich, clear voice of Karen Carpenter and the perfect harmonies in the background.
“Momma Mary” by Roger Whittaker
And then there’s this one …. How I love this song! The thrilling lyrics – “it had begun, he was the one”. The powerful story of the woman who said “yes”, and became a vessel for the love of God made flesh, and all that seventies folk rock awesomeness. My favourite Christmas album, in fact, is Roger Whittaker’s.
These are just a few of the many Christmas songs I find deeply moving, and that I love to hear every year, over and over. I hope they make your celebration more beautiful, too. Merry listening!
(I’m sure that as soon as I post this I’ll think of one or two that I left out somehow …. And feel free to share your favourites, too! Maybe I’ll hear something new to add to my collection ….)