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Holiday Songs

The other day, my friend Andy posted the following question to all his Facebook friends:

What is your favorite holiday-season song? Not just “I like Jingle Bells,” but the SPECIFIC VERSION you like best.

Almost immediately, he started getting some very interesting replies. The Little Drummer Boy as sung by David Bowie and Bing Crosby . . . Baby It’s Cold Outside by Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer  . . . and no fewer than THREE versions of Carol of the Bells (by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Straight No Chasers, and The Piano Guys).

I suggested a song most people won’t know, Hold Out for Christmas by Rockapella . . . which is a song I first heard while living in Japan. In point of fact, that whole album, Bash!, remains one of my favorite holiday collections of all time . . . and when I’m looking for a little “Christmas in July” (or any other non-seasonal month), that’s the one I generally turn to.

I may not be particularly big on celebrating any of the actual holidays associated with the season, but oh boy do I dig the music! Even all the over-playing that these songs will get in shops, lobbies, corporate on-hold lines, and homes and cars everywhere, I’m still looking forward to going through them all, one song at a time.

When I listen to music, it’s still in the form of “albums” or “CDs” rather than individual songs on a playlist or a randomized shuffle. I still enjoy the sense of wholeness that a group of songs, recorded together and organized in a particular order, provides. The only exception to this is holiday songs. I keep a big playlist with ALL of my holiday songs, no matter where they come from, and now that Thanksgiving is past, I’ll be delving into that folder a lot . . . simply letting my music player of the moment pick through them randomly.

It makes each one seem more like an musical gift . . . a little audio package that my ears unwrap, enjoy, and then move on to the next one under the metaphorical tree.

What are you going to be listening to over the next five weeks?


  1. Jeff LaSala wrote:

    Oooh! Pick me! Pick me!

    I’m big into Christmas music, just not the common stuff. And while I sometimes agree with you about liking the wholeness of an album rather than the randomness of a shuffle, sometimes I do like collections of diverse music placed deliberately together. I curated a few podcasts in this way, specifically of Christmas music. Maybe you’d be interested in some of it?

    I’m going to email you some specifics so I don’t just hijack your blog post…

    Meanwhile, I’m on the hunt for more original holiday music.

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 6:33 am | Permalink
  2. Jeff LaSala wrote:

    But I will add that I really, really love the sound and old-timey imagery of Sting’s “Soul Cakes,” from his If On a Winter’s Night album. That song gets stock in my head regularly.

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink
  3. Stan! wrote:

    Go ahead, Jeff. I bet other folks would like to see those links, too!

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink
  4. Lee Gunby wrote:

    Knew you’d hit that one when I saw the title of the post. Both Rockapella albums are staples, Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas, for more current songs, Buble’s “All I Want for Christmas” is an amazing torch song version of the classic Mariah Carey pop monstrosity.

    Friday, November 30, 2012 at 5:32 am | Permalink

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