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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

12 Songs of Christmas

So yeah, I am one of those Very Difficult Brides who decided to get married during the hectic time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sorry. Not really. I just... I love Advent. From the day after Thanksgiving (and no, y'all, I don't go anywhere near the stores on that dark, dark day) until our evening Christmas Eve worship service, I am like a kid with a candy cane.

I love the music especially.

My neighbor Mrs. O and I were comparing notes last week, and it seems she is as much of a Christmas Freak as I am. She boasts over 225 Christmas songs on her I-Pod, whereas I only have a measly 182. I still think I win, however, since I am arrogant actually EDITED my Christmas song list. Tonggu Momma, thy name is ANAL. I have no more than three versions of any song, and usually only one version. I do this because the Husband only tolerates enjoys Christmas music when there's variety.

I mean, how many times can one person listen to Frosty the Snowman without wishing someone - not mentioning any names - would melt already?

There are some carols that are just givens; you know, the ones sung by Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, even Amy Grant and Harry Connick, Jr.. But some holiday songs are just... random. Randomly GOOD. Here are my more unexpected faves:

The 12 Days of Christmas by Straight No Chaser.

I promise - on my honor - that this version of The 12 Days of Christmas will NOT irritate you. In fact, it quite probably will make you laugh with joy. I love every song on this album, but any Christmas carol that morphs into the melody of Africa by Toto deserves a huge shout-out.

All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey.

I realize this is a fairly popular one, but the Husband and I danced to this at our wedding. Because I am one of those Evil December Brides. And I don't care what you think. Because I got to dance to this song at my wedding.

Born in Bethlehem by Third Day.

What I love about this entire album is that it's mellow enough to play during a holiday party, and great enough to listen to in the car. I was hard-pressed to pick a personal favorite from this album, but I landed on this song because it's not a classic, well-known carol.

Carol of the Bells/ Sing We Now of Christmas by BarlowGirl.

I wish I could sing like them. I really do. Unfortunately, I sound more like Spike Jones, without the whistling. (And if you get that reference, I love you.)

Christmas Canon
by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

I cried the first time I heard this song. Because it is set to the tune of Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D Major, with new lyrics added. And y'all, I walked down the aisle at my wedding to Canon in D Major. Enough said.

Christmas Tonight by Dave Barnes (with Hillary Scott).

I can't help but tap my toe to this song, and grin at the video. It took awhile to grow on me, but this song is now one of my new favorites. I think this may possibly become a new classic. Because it's slightly addictive.

Gabriel's Message by Sting.

If you have never heard this song, I feel sorry for you. I seriously do.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/ We Three Kings by The Bare Naked Ladies, Featuring Sarah McLaughlin.

I love God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen when sung at a fast pace, which the Naked Ladies do. Thankfully they are singing about robed men rather than scantily clad women. Plus, Sarah McLaughlin takes over about one-third of the way through the song, and you can't argue with that. (And I can't believe this isn't on I-Tunes. For shame.)

Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Taylor.

It's James Taylor. Need I say more?

O Holy Night by the Glee Cast.

I wanted to fall on my knees in prayer the first time I heard this song. It is divine. I am actually not a Glee fanatic, but there are some that just amaze me. And they pretty much ALL amaze the husband. Who knew the man liked show-tunes until last year? Not me.

Ring the Bells by Travis Cotrell, Featuring Natalie Grant.

A cup of hot cocoa, a warm fire, softly falling snow and this song equals perfection.

Twas The Night Before Christmas by Hi-5.

I cannot believe I am including a Hi-5 song, but oh my lands, y'all, I have to. It's the Tongginator's favorite. And I sing along with this whenever it comes on. Which is often. Because it is the Tongginator's favorite. But - surprisingly - it doesn't annoy me. Even though I've heard it a trillion times. Which means it MUST be good. Actually, this is the least annoying children's Christmas album in our collection. I mean, in case you're desperate.

What are your more obscure favorites?


Aus said...

Well - I'll go with you on Jame Taylor for sure - and I get the Spike Jones reference so I love ya back!

Now - interesting (and worth your checking out) is anything by The Celtec Women - their version of the classic Danny Boy brought me to tears - I even had to explain to the girls why I was crying so hard (I'm getting teary just thinking about it) - but their rendition of "Let it Snow" is just plain GREAT too! Google them and check out those two and you'll have them on your playlist in a minute!!

hugs - aus and co.

happygeek said...

My face Christmas song is "grandma got run over by a reindeer". Because I have NO class.
Favorite Christmas carol would be "come thou long expected Jesus".
No dicotomy there at all!
I too walked down to Canon in D. So beautiful.

Number 6 and no more counting! said...

I am basically the same as you with the music. But, shamefully I admit that there is usually one Christmas song per season that I repeatedly listen too. It changes every year though! I am so sappy!

Love this post.


Anonymous said...

I really love Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong cd, but my favorites from that would be River (because it talks about SKATING and it always makes me want to cry, but in a good way) and her rendition of What Child is This, which is haunting and powerful.

I only discovered Straight No Chaser last year. They are now among my favorite holiday artists!

Oh, and Celtic Woman's O Holy Night. Simply lovely.

autumnesf said...

Pandora Christmas Radio is full of the older stuff my dad used to listen to. You can leave it on for hours with no repeats.

But my fav???? Its off of Rebecca St. James Chirstmas album - O come emmanuel. LOVE IT!

sara said...

Hooray for James Taylor! His Christmas album is one of the firt to make its debut every year. I'm going to have to check out these other ones...thanks for the tips!

Sharie said...

I love the Little Drummer Boy with David Bowie and Bing Crosby...and of course I love Harry Connick and Burl Ives. However the Christmas song I listen to most is Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer - by the Smithereens. Because I'm not a lover of Christmas music and that song ROCKS!

Stefanie said...

Tori JUST sent me this version of O Holy Night... I can't stop playing it... it's beautiful!
I love Christmas music too, you've inspired me to hit iTunes and get some new stuff :)

Gayla said...

12 Days by Straight No Chaser makes me CRY!!! Seriously... last year at this time we had just received our referral for a gorgeous little 3 year old from Ethiopia and I would cry when they sing "I had Christmas down in Africa" thinking of her there in the orphanage... and this year I cry and she's right there in the backseat!!!! Just LOVE it!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh TM you definitely win. I really need to edit my ipod Christmas songs! I have a few to add to your list. I love the song "Mary Did You Know?" and the Dominick the Donkey song too. Yes, I love ALL Christmas songs with TM!

I also just got the James Taylor CD and another is on hold at the library! No, you can never have enough!

Mrs. O

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to hear the donkey song.


Enjoy. My DS LOVES this song. Kind of like my brother and I loved Grandma Got Runover By a Reindeer! My mom was horrified and we laughed and laughed when it came out!

Mrs. O

Mamatini said...

Let's see, pretty much any version of O Holy Night can make me "fall to my knees", but I love the classics, so I'll go with Pavarotti's.

And on the totally irreverent flip side, Bob River's 12 Pains of Christmas makes me snort through my nose everytime I hear the escalation in the 'rigging up the lights' part. It brings back such memories of my dad putting up the Christmas tree lights, right down to the "now why the %$^& are they blinking?" and "fine, you're so smart, you rig up the lights!" Makes me laugh till I cry.

Mia_h_n said...

I'm with O Holy Night. I'll have to YouTube the Glee version.

Plus I really like Frosty the Snowman even though it always make me choke up. I'm strange that way, I know. I'm a crier...

Myrnie said...

I adore TSO'S Canon Carol...and alright, I talk a lot about my fancy sister, but for my birthday the year that album came out she bedecked my room (while I was sleeping) with dozens of tissue snowflakes, a miniature Christmas tree, and then right before she snuck out, she stuck the new TSO album in my boombox and turned on the Canon Carol. Can you imagine how much fun it was to wake up that birthday morning?? I adore Christmas music, great list!!

Claudia said...

Probably Joni Mitchell's 'River' and The Pretenders' '2000 miles', both of which make me CRY. And by the way, I've just spent my babies' entire nap on the internet listening to christmas songs and I blame YOU! (I was looking for the version of O holy night that is in the West Wing, but it doesn't seem to be on the internet ANYWHERE, which is very annoying because it has the best. harmonies. ever).

Sherri said...


I am the daughter of a huge Elvis fan. My sweet mom loved his Christmas music. In fact, I have him singing to me right now. Blue Christmas, Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me, etc.... Now that my mom has been gone for 14 years (how have I survived without her for that long?) it is even more precious to me.

I love Harry Connick Jr's Christmas albums. He's delicious.

Phil Driscoll's Heaven and Nature Swing album. My hubby is a trumpet player and we love to listen to this man play his trumpet.

Ginny Owens has a really nice Christmas cd.

City on a Hill. Love it.

My favorite on any day may change. It all depends on the mood I'm in. Today I'm feeling kind of jazzy/bluesy. So today is Elvis and Harry.

I have AN ENTIRE IPOD dedicated to Christmas music.

Sherri said...

One more thing.

Can I list my LEAST FAVORITE Christmas song?

Christmas Shoes.

That little boy is out by himself shopping for shoes for his mother to wear to Heaven? Please. Who is in charge of him? Call social services.

The Gang's Momma! said...

I <3 you. This is such a fun list!

Although, I do have to ask: why the "even" Amy Grant? Cuz her songs for the holidays totally set the mood 'round here. "Tender Tennessee Christmas?" Makes me sigh. And her version of "O Come, O Come Immanuel" is HANDS DOWN the only one I love. I cry almost every time I hear it.

I also love my JT Christmas album.

My favorite-est will be posted on the blog this week - thanks for the inspiration for another post. With the strep bug running around here and the TO DO list lengthening daily, I was running dry on ideas :)

Carla said...

From another EVIL December Bride...LMAO boy I really am beginning to think we should have been raised together. ;)

But, I adore 12 Days of Christmas by Straight No Chaser and I totally need to get that song for my ipod.

While You Were Sleeping by Casting Crowns - something about making me really think during Christmas...


Then pretty much anything by Manneheim Steamroller in their Christmas music.

Here's another family favorite...and so obscure I had to spend 30 minutes finding it online because I couldn't remember WHO sang it!


Yes, another 12 Days song, but again one you can enjoy listening to. :) First Call is who sings it and we have the CD "An Evening in December"

Mahmee said...

Yeah, I'd have to say 'Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer' is way up there. Along with any holiday song by Gene Autry. I'm kind of a purist and like the original artist versions of the songs. Princess Sparkly has informed me that 'Frosty The Snowman', 'Jingle Bell Rock', and 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer' are still her faves.

Wendy said...

Oh, Holy Night...by Rebecca Kohm. My daughter. I've made her promise me to put it on her first Christmas album.

Lisa said...

Hark the Herald Angels Sing....its always the last song we sing at Christmas Eve Mass in my old hometown. At that moment, everythinbg seems possible and world seems new again.

O Holy Night gives me goosebumps too and at home I LOVE LOVE

Christmas All Over Again ( Tom Petty)

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas ( The Pretenders)

Happy Christmas/War is Over ( John Lennon)

Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth ( Bing Crosby/Davide Bowie)

Gosh, this was FUN!!! :)

Amanda said...

Great song list! :-)

"Mary Did You Know" always makes me cry.

Anonymous said...

I'm eclectic--I love both choir boys and jazz versions of Christmas classics. But for something completely different, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Blue Hawaiians version of "We 3 Kings/Little Drummer Boy." It's possibly the most fun Christmas song EVER. You will love it, I am pretty sure.

The Byrd's Nest said...

My daughter is getting married next December 17th. The day AFTER her graduation from college. She may not be an evil bride but she is crazy! lol

I love all of these. My husband loves Oh Holy Night so much that he listens to 46 different versions back to back, it makes me crazy...I mean...we love this song:)

Sarah said...

Oh TM! It's posts like this that remind me why we're blog friends. I'm actually posting my favorite songs on Mondays this month. And NONE of them are on your list, although I do like your list. How do you feel about the Christmas Can-Can?

prechrswife said...

You have 2 of my favorites on the list--Straight No Chaser and Trans-Siberian orchestra. I also love Josh Groban's "Little Drummer Boy" and "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" by Casting Crowns.

Kay said...

I agree with Amanda..."Mary Did You Know" speaks to a mother's heart for sure! I especially like Clay Aiken's version, but Kenny Rogers and Winona Judd duet this one well, too. Hey, with all these kids around, nobody has listed Alvin and the Chipmunks yet. Fav. at my house! :)

Becky said...

I second your Trans Siberian Orchestra song. I love the whole album, listening to it straight through tells such a wonderful story.
But one of my all time favorite songs for Christmas is off Bebo Norman's Christmas: From the Realms of Glory. It is called 'The Rebel Jesus'. Love all of his work, though. :)
Sorry, can't figure out how to link it to you!
Becky, a reader from CA

snekcip said...

TSO's Christmas Canon is my ALL-TIME FAVORITE!!! I cry everytime I hear this time of year!

PS I had to laugh @ Sherri's comment about the Christmas shoes! The song is really depressing!

snekcip said...

Had to comeback and comment that Josh Groban's O Holy Night is beautiful as well!

Kerrie (and Jason) said...

We generally don't do Christmas songs around here as we don't have a cd player (or an 'i' anything for that matter) but I do enjoy Kylie Minogue's verion of 'santa baby' when I hear it on the radio at work - is that weird??

Gail said...

Awesome list TM! You've got a few on there that I'll check out.

I LOVE Christmas music and we've been listening to it since about mid October or so.

BTW TSO Christmas Canon is playing on my blog right now....I adore it!!!

Oh you evil December bride...you.;)
I wouldn't have dreamed of getting married that month. But when I think about it maybe it was a great month to get married.

Wanda said...

Today I trimmed the Christmas tree to the (at top volumne) heavenly, amazing voice of David Phelps and O Holy Night.

Oh my!!!!!!!!!!!

Julie said...

Kay Thompson's Jingle Bells sung by Andy Williams. Love it!

Polar Bear said...

I will admit, I am a Christmas song junkie. There! I've said it, and it is out in public.

I start listening (secretly) weeks before Thanksgiving. Then during Thanksgiving week I let it go and play Christmas music non-stop ~ much to my husband's dismay.

I'm almost ashamed to admit how many Christmas songs are on my iPod. I have many versions of some of the favorites. I divide the songs into genres (ie. classical, country, jazz). I have a children's mix, an easy listening mix, and even a Christmas workout mix. Then I have a big heaping mix of everything.

One that I must have is an old song, 'Fall Softly Snow' by Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius. I remember hearing that on my grandma's kitchen radio years and years ago, and I fell in love with that song. Now it reminds me of my childhood Christmases.

I also have to have 'I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas' by Gayla Pevey. It's a fun song.

I could go on and on, but I don't want to bore you.

Thanks for letting me share my secret obsession. It's so freeing. ;o)

Chris and Julie said...

LOVE your list. And most of them are on my ipod to!! But my most favorite song, and the one that I start singing in early Nov is "Christmas is Coming, The Goose is Getting Fat" by John Denver and the Muppets. Might be b/c it was on the very first Christmas album I owned. My sweet hubby, then boyfriend, hunted down the CD (before the digital age) and surprised me with it. He probably just wanted proof that the ridiculous song really existed! ha ha. Might have to do a similar your post!

Briana's Mom said...

I heard the 12 Days of Christmas by Straight No Chaser just last weekend for the first time and it is truly awesome!

This is a bit sad, but I love the song "It Won't Be The Same This Year" by Vince Gill. It is about Vince Gill's first Christmas without his older brother who passed away from cancer. Doug's older brother died in 1997, so whenever I hear it, I think of him. It brings tears to my eyes every time.