I’ve mentioned on here before that I’m a big fan of Christmas. Even working half my life in retail has not dimmed my enthusiasm for the holidays. I suppose part of this holiday spirit comes from my mother, who went collected Santas of all sorts and decorated to the point that you couldn’t walk through her house without stepping on something that jingled, jangled, or played a Christmas tune. A lot of it, though, comes from the all the things the season represents–hope, family, magic. These things keep me going through the busy season at work, reinforced by the extensive collection of holiday music I have amassed.
Here are a few of my favorite holiday songs:
—All I Want For Christmas Is You by Vince Vance and the Valiants. Not to be confused with the Mariah Carey version, this song epitomizes the anti-commercialism that many of us feel in any store this time of year.
—It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Josh Groban. I’ve heard dozens of people do this song, but no one does it like Groban.
—This Christmas by Donny Hathaway. Puts a little soul into Christmas music.
—It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Johnny Mathis. Sometimes, a classic is a classic for a reason, even if I often think of this when I’m listening to it.
—Merry Christmas, Baby by Bruce Springsteen. Because it’s The Boss.
—What Christmas Means to Me by Stevie Wonder. It’s Motown AND Christmas. How do you beat that? Stevie also has another song I particularly like in “One Little Christmas Tree”.
—Please Come Home for Christmas by The Eagles. This version barely beats out both the Bon Jovi and U2 versions of this song, although they are almost interchangeable on my list of favorites.
—I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by Gayle Peevey. ” . . . or rhinoceroses. I only like hippopotamuses . . . .”
—O Holy Night by Al Green. I have about a dozen versions of this song on my computer, but I like Green’s version. It’s simple and imperfect, but it packs a lot of soul into an already great song.
—Silent Night by Aretha Franklin. No one sings her ass off like Aretha, even on a song requiring as much restraint as this one.
—Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews. Even though it never mentions anything about Christmas and even though the lyrics make it sound like a prelude to a date rape, this song is a holiday classic and I like this more powerful version better than the tame Dean Martin one.
—It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Brian McKnight. I do like the Andy Williams version, but McKnight’s take is jazzier and smoother than the classic.
Again, if anyone has any suggestions to this far-from-complete list, or recommendations of songs I should listen to, please feel free to pass them along in the comments section. I’m always looking for new songs to add to my collection.
In semi-related news, I haven’t decided when I will start posting this year’s Christmas stories, although I suspect it will be soon.