So every night I come home, plug in my little white-light Christmas Tree and crank up the tunes. There’s something truly soothing, and maybe even a little sad, about candlelight and Christmas carols. Some sappy, some silly, some poignant and some classics, the following are my favorite Christmas songs of all time, not necessarily because they’re musical masterpieces, but because they bring back memories of Christmases passed that will be with me forever. Add your own in the comment section!
1. The Pogues, Fairytale of New York: Ok, so it’s not suitable for Church, but you can’t deny that this Irish 80s tune tugs at your heartstrings. I think my favorite part about it is just that – it’s the anti-carol, but it’s got all my favorite Christmas things: New York, snow and maybe even a little regret all mixed together.
2. Band Aid, Do They Know It’s Christmas: There won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime, I know, but if this song isn’t on your Christmas playlist, there is something seriously wrong with you. I feel like it’s playing in the back of ALL of our Christmas home videos from ages one to five.
3. Mariah Carey, All I Want for Christmas is You: Cliché, I know, but when something’s good, it’s good. Plus, I think my favorite version is the performance in Love Actually. Oh, when Sam learns to play the drums to get the girl of his dreams to notice him and she finally does and the Prime Minister is making out with his former assistant behind the stage! So good.
4. O Holy Night: A bona-fide Church song. And every time I hear it sung I cry. I don’t know why, it’s just so beautiful – especially this version by Celtic Woman. Usually in Church it’s sung by first graders with angel wings that are either falling apart or extremely ostentatious. Different feel.
5. Schroeder, Charlie Brown Christmas Dance Song: I always wanted to be able to dance like Charlie Brown – to be able to move your feet at such an accelerated pace but keep your hips and arms still is amazing to me. Instead, I dance exactly like Linus. I’m pretty sure those are some hardcore Zumba moves Linus is sporting. Anyway, A Charlie Brown Christmas is a classic, and no list is complete without it.
6. Bob and Doug, 12 Days of Christmas: Oh my God, I had no idea this was animated! And my life is complete. I heard this song on the radio when I was in middle school, and I only knew the part where they say “and a beer…” which was awkward for my teachers. This is so much better than the real 12 Days of Christmas. Less birds, more practical gifts.
7. Dave Matthews Band, Christmas Song: I’m not gonna lie to you. I had no idea what this song was about until I read the lyrics like, five years after it came out. Which is kind of what I like most about it. It works as a regular song, a regular story, but it’s also pretty religious and spiritual. Nice job there David. I like when people put real life spins on the Nativity Story. Sometimes it goes a little far and ends up sounding something like Teen Mom, but Dave kind of toes the line.
8. Bon Jovi, Please Come Home for Christmas and U2, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home): Don’t judge me, but until about five minutes ago, I thought these were the same song. That’s an impressive 26 years of Christmas carol neglect. But since these songs were in practically every one of my childhood Christmas movies, they make the list on nostalgia purposes alone.
9. John Lennon, Happy Christmas, War is Over: So this is Christmas? Aren’t you a sucker for children singing backup to musical legends? Aren’t you a sucker for musical legends? I think the greatest thing about this song is that it’s really about the spirit of Christmas – that it’s not just a day, but a chance to re-examine the year, and decide if we’re going to be better people in the next one.
10. Carol of the Bells: This song freaks me out. For some reason it makes me think of a mix between Edgar Allen Poe stories and Kevin McAllister booby trapping his home in preparation for Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern to come and rob it. Man, that was 20 years ago already. When I was little my mom and aunts used to set us up in whichever movie theater was playing the latest Christmas movie, tell us not to move, and spend the next five hours shopping for our presents. I saw Home Alone three times in one day. And didn’t get up to pee once.
11. Bing Crosby, Silent Night: It wouldn’t be a complete list without Bing Crosby, right? Does Silent Night even need an explanation? “Sleep in heavenly peace.”