It’s the holiday season, and since I’m feeling a bit better about it this year than last I thought I might share with you fine folks my all-time favorite Christmas songs. And by “favorite Christmas songs” I mean favorite VERSIONS of favorite Christmas songs—I am very, very, very picky about who is singing to me about sleigh bells and decking halls.
(Please note that these are in alphabetical order of song title, NOT in order of preference, because everything in my life has to be in alphabetical order or else I freak out.)
1. All Alone on Christmas by Darlene Love – Three of my favorite versions of my favorite Christmas songs are by Ms. Love, which may have something to do with the last Christmas I spent with my dad. That year was the year we went to a Darlene Love concert at the Bergen PAC, and after an entire afternoon of arguing and me pouting about us leaving too early for the show and not liking where we went to dinner, we really enjoyed the show. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite Christmas song this year.
2. All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey – I know, I know, DUH, this is probably on everyone’s list, but how can you NOT feel super giddy and festive when you hear this song? I feel like it’s not really the Christmas season until I hear this on the radio (which seems to get earlier and earlier every year, but still).
3. All I Want For Christmas Is You by Vince Vance & The Valiants – This is a new favorite, and although it goes by the same name as Mariah’s it is a completely different song. I love its broken-hearted country twang.
4. Believe by Josh Groban – Despite my best efforts to not enjoy Josh Groban’s music, this song gets under my skin. It’s just so…pretty. *Sigh*
5. Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley – This may be in my top 5, and it is definitely my mom’s favorite. I cannot stand any version other than Elvis’—seriously, why even bother?—because his voice is the perfect combination of sexy and blue.
6 & 7. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love and by Mariah Carey – I actually love both versions equally. This is collectively my mom’s, my sister’s and my favorite, certainly our favorite to sing in the car very loudly and very off-key.
8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland – I sort of want to scratch my eyeballs out when I hear any of the “Lite FM” versions of this on the radio, but not when I hear Judy’s. When I hear Judy’s I hear hope, sincerity, and the real Christmas spirit (whatever that is), mostly because of the movie it comes from: Meet Me In St. Louis. If you’ve never seen it do yourself a big favor and see it. Now. If you’ve never even heard of it chances are I probably don’t want to associate with you, so stop reading my blog. Now.
9. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by John Mellencamp – I very much enjoy The Jackson 5’s version of this little ditty, but John has that sort-of-country, wannabe-Springsteen vibe that makes me tap my foot just a little bit more enthusiastically.
10. I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Bing Crosby – A classic. A sad, sad, gets-stuck-in-your-head-so-easily classic.
11. Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms – This was probably my first favorite Christmas song, definitely the first one I knew all the words to, and one I always used to sing with my dad.
12. Last Christmas by Wham! – You know, T. Swift doesn’t do too bad a job with this song, but I have to stick to the original corny 80s-ness of it all.
13. Little Saint Nick by The Beach Boys – I like this one just because of the almost-monotone voice in the background singing “Christmas comes this time each year” over and over again. Um, duh.
14. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by NYSNC – I get the same cheesy, cheery, goose-bump-y feeling from this song as I do from All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey. Especially toward the end with the clapping. #Iamsuchasap
15. Merry Christmas Baby by Bruce Springsteen – I recently got yelled at for saying I like this one better than Otis Redding’s. I mean absolutely no disrespect to Mr. Redding, but The E Street Band’s opening piano gets me every time. And, of course, Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce.
16. O Holy Night by Celine Dion – I am not a religious person, especially not at Christmastime, but when she sings “Fall on your knees” that is exactly what I want to do. Fall on my knees in awe of that ridiculous voice.
17. Please Come Home For Christmas by Jon Bon Jovi – I think The Eagles’ version is more standard but you have to admit Bonj gives it that extra little oomph. It always reminds me of Look Who’s Talking Now when John Travolta is caught in the snow storm with the evil blond and doesn’t know if he can get home to his wife and kids and talking dogs, know what I mean?
18. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee – When I was about 10 years old my parents took me to see Brenda Lee in Atlantic City. This was the ONLY song of hers I knew, and she did it as the very last song. After the show my dad took me to the table where she was signing autographs, and for years after he constantly reminded me of how cool it was that I met her and got her autograph. #ThingsIcouldntappreciatewhenIwasyounger
19. Run Rudolph Run by Chuck Berry – Another collective family favorite—are you getting the impression that, as a group, we never really went for the traditional Christmas music?
20. Santa Can You Hear Me by Britney Spears – A lesser-known Christmas tune but perfectly pop-y and Christmas-y all the same. I distinctly remember this song coming out after the peak of her popularity but before she went batsh!t crazy, and thinking “I wonder where SHE’S been?”
21. Silent Night by Boyz II Men – I love this because a) songs like this SHOULD be sung acapellla and b) I can’t help but giggle at the 4th line, which is sung in quite possibly the deepest voice EVER.
22. & 23. This Christmas by Chris Brown and by Christina Aguilera – Another situation in which I like the two versions equally. I know I should probably be, like, shot for preferring a girlfriend-abuser and a crazy lady to the original singer, but alas.
24. White Christmas by The Drifters – You may recognize this from those Home Alone films, but I know it because of my dad. This had to have been his favorite, it is his ideal style of singing, the way he sang to me all the time.
25. Winter Wonderland by Darlene Love – Gotta throw in one “nondenominational” song, right? No radio station ever plays Darlene’s version, though.
Well I hope y’all have enjoyed my grown-up Christmas (play)list, now go have yourselves some merry little Christmases. Let your hearts be light.