I recently did a post of favorite Christmas movies and I thought why not make a list of Christmas songs too? These aren't all time classics but just ones I seek out and try to listen to each year. I listen to probably 100 songs at least each Christmas, so the list is way too long, but these were the first ones that came to mind. If I find a Youtube link, I will post it.
Let's dig in!
Jars of Clay- The Little Drummer Boy
Sure many artists have done this song, and some may be better, but aside from the Bob Seger version, I choose this one most of the time. Part of the reason is because I have the CD Single that I've had for many years and played the heck out of it when I first got it. Besides Flood, its my favorite Jars of Clay song.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra- Wizards In Winter
This song usually must accompany this video. It holds a lot of sentimental value to me, and while I like TSO, it was really this video that made me like them more. My dad worked part time at a National Guard Armory and one day I went with him for some reason. I went with him on a few occasions, but never while he actually had to work, it was usually when he had to get something he left there. On this occasion, I can't remember the reason, but he had to stop in. If I think about it, it might be during one of his times when he was sick and he had to talk to his bosses there. Anyways, we sat in their office and they were shooting the breeze, and one of them asked my dad if he has seen this video of Christmas lights set to music. My dad wasn't a computer guy and I'd never seen it myself so we watched this video and we both loved it. I remember after we got home I looked it up so we could watch it again. After my dad passed away I make it a yearly tradition to watch this video or at the very least listen to this song. While Christmas Eve Sarajevo might be their better and more popular song, Wizards in Winter is still my favorite.
Mavis Staples- Christmas Vacation
Obviously if it wasn't for the movie, I doubt I'd ever hear this song, but I thought it was the perfect introduction to the movie, especially backed by cartoon. However as great as the setup was, it wasn't until I got older and realized it was Mavis Staples that I really fell in love with the song. I listen to all kinds of music, and I won't say I listen to a lot of Mavis Staples, but I like a lot of what I do listen to, so finding out she did it made the song better. Usually I only catch it when I see the movie but since the movie is on like 50 times during the holiday season, I get my fill of the song without needing to look for it.
Cheech and Chong- Santa Claus and His Old Lady
The majority of my Christmas songs I listen to are comedy or parody songs, but this one is usually at the top of the list. While I like almost the entire Dr. Demento Christmas Album, this one and Stan Freburg's Christmas Dragnet are the ones I usually listen to most. My dad also liked this song, and its really become a tradition in the family to listen to it.
Jose Feliciano- Feliz Navidad
Another song that has become a family tradition, this ones roots aren't entirely remembered, but here's the story I like to tell. I remember one year the entire family got in our suburban and went to a nearby town (I think it was Sedalia, and we might have even went to other towns too). While we was going my dad wanted to listen to Christmas music, and either found a radio station playing tunes or bought a cassette at one of the stops and popped it in. My dad's music tastes weren't as diverse as mine, but he was usually very vocal if he didn't like a song. As we were listening to the songs, suddenly this song came on. His reaction was something similar to "What the hell is this?" To this day my sister and I still laugh about it. A lot of times my dad would crack jokes about stuff just to make us laugh so I could never tell if he really never heard this song before or if he did it just to get a reaction from us, but either way I usually try to listen to it each year. There are other versions, but Jose's version is the one that brings back the memories.
Since I was young, I didn't really know what Feliz Navidad was, but by the time I took Spanish class (two years) in high school, I figured it out. I also learned a few Christmas songs in Spanish as well. I remember one year we had classes over TV with another school and our class and teacher visited that school and we walked around the school singing Christmas carols in Spanish. I remember singing Frosty The Snowman, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer were two of them, but we did about six of them. One of them might have been Feliz Navidad.
Mark Lowery- Mary, Did You Know?
Sure this song is now covered by everyone under the sun, but it was actually Christian comedian and longtime member of the Gaither family group Mark Lowery who wrote the lyrics to the song, and later the music was added by Buddy Greene. I like this version the most because I like Mark Lowery and it amazes me that a guy that usually cracks nothing but jokes penned such a beautiful song.
After hearing this video version, this isn't the one I usually listen to, its another video of him singing it that I enjoy more, which he also explains the song as well. Though this is still a good version.
Bing Crosby- Mele Kalikimaka
Another song I doubt I'd have heard if it wasn't for Christmas Vacation, but thanks to this song I learned how to say Merry Christmas in another language. So Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, and Mele Kalikimaka! One year I even learned how to say it in other languages like Chinese, but I've since forgotten it. I think I used Google Translate for it though.
Tim Wilson- Redneck 12 Days of Christmas
Sure most people that have heard this song have heard the Jeff Foxworthy version. Most people think he wrote it. Which is half true, he co-wrote the song with late comedian Tim Wilson. I've loved Tim Wilson since the first time I've heard him and when I found out he co-wrote this song, I listened to this song every year ever since.
Ray Stevens- Santa Claus Is Watching You
There are two versions of this song, and every year I have to sift through countless videos of the one I don't like. This is the version I first heard as a kid when I'd see it on TNN every year and its the one I fell in love with. One year my dad ended up getting a VHS tape of the Greatest Hits of Ray Stevens and this video was on it. I've always liked Ray Stevens.
Rosemary Clooney- Suzy Snowflake
I can't remember the year I bought a certain CD but one of the tracks was Suzy Snowflake. Until then I never heard it before, but it was a good song and one that wasn't overplayed on the radio, so since then I've listened to it every year.
So I'll post one last song since this is getting a bit long, and I've been sidetracked throughout posting this and I want to finish up.
Da Yoopers- Rusty Chevrolet
I can't pinpoint a year when I first heard this gem, and it wasn't even until I was out of high school or later when I found out who sang it. Since then I've had a copy of the song and listen to it every year. Sometimes I even watch the official video which I didn't find until a few years ago.
So that wraps it up. Like I said, there are tons more I listen to, but I thought I'd showcase some that isn't always mentioned. Thank you for reading and have a great night.