Unapologetic progressive. Fearless activist. Plucky liberal.

My favorite Christmas music

I can’t get enough of Christmas music this time of year. A list of my favorites is below, split into traditional and nontraditional songs:

Traditional

  1. “Carol of the Bells,” George Winston. I love playing this on the piano, so it’s no wonder I like Winston’s song.
  2. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,”Amy Grant. “Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies.”
  3. “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, Whitney Houston. I will always remember my mom’s comment when listening to this on a car ride: “If he’s shivering in the cold, why don’t they bring him blankets and clothes instead of silver and gold?” Good question.
  4. “What Child is This?”, Vanessa Williams. Another one I love to play on the piano.
  5. Here We Come a Wassailing,” Kate Rusby. I discovered this one last year and it’s been my favorite version ever since.
  6. “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan. This is just such a lively and bouncy version. They sound great together.
  7. “Hallelujah Chorus,” Mormon Tabernacle Choir. “King of kings, forever and ever, hallelujah!”
  8. O Holy Night,” *NSYNC. Let go of whatever preconceived ideas you have about “boy bands” and listen to this. It’s an absolutely gorgeous a cappella edition.
  9. “Angels We Have Heard on High,” Sixpence None the Richer. I just like the chorus.
  10. “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays,” Debbie Reynolds. The title says it all.

Nontraditional

  1. “Little Town,” Cliff Richard. This is probably the worst music video ever, but the song is neat.
  2. “Happy Xmas (War is Over),” John Lennon and Yoko Ono. “A very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.”
  3. It Feels Like Christmas,” A Muppet Christmas Carol. Maybe my favorite Christmas special ever. “It’s true wherever you find love it feels like Christmas.”
  4. “The Peace Carol,” John Denver and the Muppets. Yes, there’s a bit of a Muppet theme. I really like the album John Denver did with the Muppets. “The branch that bears the bright holly, the dove that rests in yonder tree, the light that shines for all to see, the peace of Christmas Day.”
  5. 2000 Miles,” The Pretenders. I like the way this one sounds more than the actual lyrics.
  6. “The Magic of Christmas Day,” Celine Dion. “God bless us every one, the good and the bad, the happy, the sad…”
  7. Breath of Heaven,” Amy Grant. A young woman performed this at a Christmas Eve church service years ago and blew me away. It was just lovely. It’s also from Mary’s perspective, which is a nice change.
  8. Christmas,” Blues Traveler. “If it’s Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, solstice, harvest or Dec. 25, peace on Earth to everyone and abundance to everyone you’re with.”
  9. “Last Christmas,” Cascada. One of the few versions of this song that makes me want to sing along.
  10. “Christmas in Killarney,” The Irish Rovers. This is a fast-paced, rollicking song.

What are your favorite holiday songs?

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