The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

All right, ladies and gentlemen, start your engines — it’s time for the annual debate. What are your favorite Christmas Holiday Season songs? Here’s my current top-ten list, to start things off.

1. Nat King Cole, The Christmas Song. The all-time classic. It’s old, comfortable, well-worn, and a great song. You can’t listen to the first line without automatically saying, “yep, it’s Christmas time.” (Alternate: Bing Crosby, Winter Wonderland.)

2. Gene Autry, Rudoplh the Red-Nosed Reindeer. A classic “fun” Christmas song. Fun to sing with the kids, yet not obnoxious or overbearing. (Alternate: Frosty the Snowman).

3. John Lennon, Happy X-Mas. Because nothing says holiday spirit quite like some festive anti-war activism. (Alternate: David Bowie, Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy. Peacenik lyrics: Check. Rock singer: Check.)

4. Martina McBride, Silver Bells. Because this list is lacking in women; and because the fusion of country-pop with Christmas music is, well, a little catchy. (Alternate: Mariah Carey, All I Want for Christmas is You.)

5. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Christmas Eve (Sarajevo). Christmas music never had more distortion or power chords; remarkably, the combination works, at least in the short term. Even headbangers like to celebrate the holidays. (Alternate: Metallica, Master of Puppets.)

6. Hallelujah Chorus, Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Christmas isn’t Christmas (at least, around my house) without a little MoTab. (Alternate: O Holy Night, Mormon Tabernacle Choir.)

7. Alvin and the Chipmunks, Christmas, Don’t Be Late. A little annoying, to be sure. Okay, a lot annoying. On the other hand, it’s kinda catchy. And it’s something I can sing along to — if I only have to do it one month of the year. (Alternate: Alvin and the Chipmunks, All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth.)

8. Adam Sandler, The Chanukah Song. Because we’re ecumenical like that. (Alternate: Um, hmm. Is there a good Kwanzaa song I should be aware of? Ramadan?)

9. Bing Crosby, I’ll Be Home for Christmas. The ultimate sad, nostalgic Christmas song. (Alternate: Elvis, Blue Christmas.)

10. Silent Night. Either choir or solo versions can be beautiful. The Tabernacle Choir does a great choir version; Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole all have great recordings of it as well.

What’s on your list?

You may also like...

17 Responses

  1. A couple that aren’t on your list but should be:

    Burl Ives, A Holly Jolly Christmas. I also think that Ives’ rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is superior, with all due respect to Gene Autry. 🙂

    Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan, Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Romantic Christmas classic.

    Your list is fantastic. It’s too bad that retail stores will make me sick of Christmas music by the time the day actually gets here. 🙂

  2. Chris says:

    WIthout question, the “Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord” mix by Boney M.

  3. Snoopy’s Christmas by the Royal Guardsmen

  4. A Lawyer Named Sue says:

    Christmas With Johnny Cash (2 CD set).

  5. Dave says:

    Bah humbug. It is not even Advent, much less Christmas. Unless you set your clock by Wal-Mart’s… in which case Christmas began for you two weeks ago.

  6. CSMcLean says:


    This one is funny, however it’s Rated PG-13 so click carefully.

    It’s The Dan Band’s “Rock You Hard This Christmas.” (Same Dan Band from Wedding Crashers “Total Eclipse of the Heart” fame)

    It’s really quite funny.

    You Tube Link

  7. “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid, first-movers in getting a whole bunch of famous people on one song for charity. I have the “45” somewhere, if I had something to play it on.

  8. Frank says:

    Here’s a nice list:

    the Sarah McLachlan appears perfect for those discouraged by the witless commercial frenzy of the holiday season.

  9. Sarah S says:

    Forever 80s:

    WHAM “Last Christmas” and The Waitresses “Christmas Wrapping”

  10. Heidi Kitrosser says:

    I’m very late in coming to this post but I just realized that “Run Run Reindeer” is nowhere on the list! Now that you live in San Diego, don’t you have an obligation to put the Beach Boys on the list? 🙂

  11. DEW says:

    Does anyone know the lyrics to an alternative version of Rodulph the Red Nose Raindeer sung by Bing Crosby???

  12. C Jones says:

    Carol of the Bells – The Bird and the Bee

    Gabriel’s Message – Sting

    Wexford Carol – Cambridge Singers

  13. Mommie Dearest says:

    I have favorites that wax and wane. Currently it’s MoTab’s “Sing Choirs of Angels” cd, from track 6 on. But my all-time permanent favorite for many years that I can’t celebrate without is the entire cd of 24 Christmas songs by The Roches, “We Three Kings.” Read the liner notes.

  14. D. Fletcher says:

    I don’t have anything to add, but if I was doing a dissertation on Christmas music, I’d say it is dominated by three sub-genres: “carols” and their clones; The Messiah (technically an Easter selection, but since that’s a lesser commercial holiday, the Messiah has become a Christmas tradition instead); and *surprise* American secular standards from a single decade, the 40s. Why? the 40s is debateable, but the fact remains — all the best songs are from that time. Something to do with Americanism and sentiment and WWII and musicals, all hitting at the same time.

    No song from the rock era belongs on the list of greatest Christmas songs. Rock = too cynical and badass.

  15. Darling says:

    Jingle Bell Rock is my favorite from childhood. I also like Amy Grant’s “Grown-up Christmas List”

  16. Risa says:

    The Christmas Song should only be sung by it’s writer, the legendary performer, Mel Torme. Anything else is sacrilige 😉

    My favorite secular Christmas song is “Merry Christmas, Darling,” my Karen Carpenter. It takes on extra special meaning now that many I love have gone on.

    My favorite religious Christmas song is “Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel.”