I’ve loved Christmas songs as long as I can remember. Back in the day, I used to send out cassette tapes as holiday gifts with my favorite Christmas songs on them. Later, I made CDs and we even recorded a Sallan Family Christmas song (this link is to our Music Video with the song) that was on one of those holiday CDs.
Why would I be qualified to do a list of the most beloved Christmas songs, you ask? Well, I’m Jewish. Irving Berlin was Jewish and he wrote “White Christmas.” Any more questions? Why don’t I publish a list of the great Hanukkah songs? Because they’re really aren’t many with the possible exception of the Peter, Paul, and Mary song, “Light One Candle.”
This list is NOT really the most “Beloved” Christmas songs, but I liked the word, “Beloved” as it fits the season. This list is simply my selection of favorite Christmas songs with an emphasis on both the classic and the unusual versions of those classics. I did a special Radio Show Xmas songs show, in which I featured several dozen Christmas songs. It was a heckuvalot easier than reducing this list to just 12!
1. White Christmas
I believe this classic, written by Irving Berlin and made famous by Bing Crosby is the biggest selling single of all time. It was featured in the movie, “Holiday Inn,” and included der Bingle’s own whistling. As much as I love the original version, The Drifters did my favorite rendition of this song in 1954:
2. The Christmas Song
Written by Mel Torme, but incomparably done by the truly incomparable Nat King Cole, this song is ALL Christmas to me, down to the roasting chestnuts.
3. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
This classic Christmas song has been done by some of my favorite artists of all-time: The Four Seasons, The Jackson Five, and Bruce Springsteen. But, it’s Bruce’s version that will get the nod here. NEW NOTE: I saw Springsteen perform this LIVE on December 4, 2012 and it’s right HERE on my website!
4. Winter Wonderland
WW is a true classic Christmas song done by EVERY great artist of the past 9 decades. Yep, it was written in 1934. However, Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox did the two most interesting versions. I can’t possibly decide which is best:
5. Phil Spector’s Christmas Album
Okay, okay, an album doesn’t really belong. BUT, this one is so masterful that it is impossible not to think of it as a WHOLE. Every version of every song on this album is beyond reproach. But, I suppose the horses in The Ronnette’s version of “Sleigh Ride” will get the wreath.
One other album that is really incredible is the Beach Boy’s Christmas album with Brian Wilson’s original compositions like, “Little Saint Nick,” and “The Man With All the Toys.” Elvis Presley also recorded several Christmas albums and his “Blue Christmas” is a classic as well. Most people don’t remember how much Elvis loved gospel and how much or a giving/caring/reverential man he was.
6. Feliz Navidad
There’s something about Jose Feliciano’s classic Christmas song that is irresistible:
7. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
This is yet another classic which has been done by so many wonderful artists, but it is the original done by the diminutive but BIG-VOICED Brenda Lee that stands out:
8. Jingle Bell Rock
I’m a purist and I do tend to like the originals much of the time. I don’t think anyone topped this one done by Bobby Helms:
9. Light of the Stable
This may be the most obscure and most religious Christmas song on this list, but it may also be the most beautiful and elegant of them all. EmmyLou Harris’ voice is angelic in this beauty:
10. Have a Holly Jolly Christmas
This is yet another classic Christmas song in which artist and voice seems inseparable to me. Who wants to meet under the mistletoe, while the late, great Burl Ives sings?
Runners-Up: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus, Let It Snow, Frosty the Snowman, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Marshmallow World, The Chipmunk Song, Little Saint Nick, The Little Drummer Boy, Do You Hear What I Hear, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, and any of Elvis’ Christmas songs, especially Blue Christmas.
I know I missed YOUR favorite Christmas song, so please add it below in our Comments Section. And, have a very Merry Christmas everyone!
Please note: This is my own re-purposed version of The 12 Most Beloved Christmas Songs, published earlier this month.