Christmas is upon us, at last, and we are giving in to its musical charms. On this, the second-to-last-week of the year, we present a holiday hodge-podge for your listening and last-minute-shopping pleasure. (Many classics are missing, but there's just not enough room on the blog.)
1. "The Christmas Song" - Nat King Cole
Who can deny this sentimental classic the #1 spot? The opening instrumental alone is enough to stir holiday memories.
2. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - The Jackson 5
Too many celebrities have passed away this year, but perhaps the most mourned has been Michael Jackson. So let's remember his innocent start, singing at 12 years old with his brothers about a crafty dad-in-disguise.
3. "White Christmas" - Otis Redding
Bing Crosby's casual singing-by-the-mantel is updated in Otis Redding's plaintive, soulful cover. Too bad DC is expecting rain on the 25th.
4. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - Leon RedBone & Zooey Deschanel
A sultry version of the classic winter-seduction song, performed by the mysterious Leon RedBone (just how old IS he?) and the actress Zooey Deschanel (heard in a duet of the same song with Will Ferrell in Elf).
5. "Hannukah Song" - Adam Sandler
Alas, Hannukah is over, but here is comedian Adam Sandler's now-classic ode to the Festival of Lights. (It's an educational song, really.)
6. "Santa Baby" - Eartha Kitt
A little cute. A little creepy. A lot Christmas. (We want Santa to bring us the deed to a platinum mine, too!)
7. "What Christmas Means to Me" - Stevie Wonder
Another song with a classic instrumental opening, followed by the dulcet tones of Stevie Wonder in all his 1967 glory. And we can particularly relate to "lots of snow and ice/everywhere you go"...
8. "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" - Gayla Peevey
Gayla Peevey was only 10 when she sang this slightly irritating number about a little girl's slightly unusual Christmas wish. Only to be out-done by Alvin and the Chipmunks, her contemporaries in high-voiced musical performances.
9. "Christmas Time Is Here" - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Throw your heads up and your mouths open and sing along with all the kids celebrating Christmas with Charlie Brown. You know, learning the true reason for the season by listening to Linus' monologue and decorating a scrappy pine tree.
10. "All I Want for Christmas Is You" - Mariah Carey
A relatively recent classic. The best Mariah Carey song ever? The best Christmas song ever? However you slice it, very few holiday songs are so universally popular and sing-and-dance-along-worthy.
11. "Silent Night" - Boyz II Men
A beautiful carol performed a cappella by the boys from Philly. Perfect.
12. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Judy Garland
Many have tried, but none can hold a candle to Judy Garland's original version of this tune, from 1944's Meet Me in St. Louis. A fitting end to a holiday play list, no?
Here we are as in olden days,
happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
gather near to us once more.
Through the years we all will be together,
if the Fates allow.
Hang a shining star upon the highest bow,
and have yourself a merry little Christmas now.
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