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My 30 Favorite Classic Christmas Songs
I LOVE Christmas music. I love it so much that I can honestly say that I even listen to it when it's not the Christmas season. Christmas music never fails to cheer me up and lift my spirits. I play Christmas music constantly throughout my house from Thanksgiving up to a little after the beginning of January. I love snuggling up with a blanket, a warm drink, and enjoying the beauty of the Christmas tree while listening to some festive tunes. That is one of my favorite ways to relax and enjoy the holiday season. Since I love Christmas music so much, I found it fitting that I compile a list of my favorite classic Christmas songs. These are songs that I love. They each hold a special place in my heart and they bring back wonderful memories.
1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland
"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" was sung by Judy Garland in the 1944 film "Meet Me In St. Louis". The song was written specifically for the film by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane. However, when Judy first read the lyrics she felt that they were too depressing for a Christmas song and requested that the lyrics be changed. For example some of the lyrics Judy didn't care for were, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas / It may be your last/ Next year we may all be living in the past". I have to agree, those lyrics are pretty depressing. At first Hugh Martin opposed the suggestion but he later gave in and revised the song to make it more cheery. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" was released as a single for Decca records in 1944 and ever since then has become a Christmas classic.
This is my absolute all-time favorite Christmas song ever. I fell in love with this song the first time I watched "Meet Me In St. Louis" when I was young, and it's been my favorite Christmas song since then. Judy's voice fits this song perfectly, and in my opinion her version of this song is the best. Even though the lyrics were changed to make the song more upbeat, it still has a bit of a melancholy sound to it. This song never fails to bring tears to my eyes. It makes me nostalgic about days gone by, and it brings back wonderful memories of times with family and friends.
2. Christmas Auld Lang Syne - Bobby Darin
Bobby Darin does a wonderful job with this song. It is based off of the traditional song "Auld Lang Syne". Bobby Darin changed the lyrics of the traditional song to make it a song for Christmas. I don't know why this this song isn't more popular. The lyrics are beautiful and Bobby Darin's smooth voice is simply perfect for the song. Ever since I first heard this song it has become one of my favorites. It really gets me in the mood for Christmas.
3. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole
"The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)" was written by Bob Wells and Mel Torme in the summer of 1944. They wrote this song on a hot summer day in an attempt to escape the heat by reminiscing about winter. Little did they know that it would become one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time. Nat King Cole was the first person to record this song and he made a hit out of it. I am a huge Nat King Cole fan so I may sound biased but out of all the people who have recorded this song, his version is my favorite. I love how beautifully the strings, and piano flow with Nat's voice. Once I hear this song, I know it's officially Christmastime.
4. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Bing Crosby
"I'll Be Home For Christmas" was written by Kim Gannon, Walter Kent, and Buck Ram. Bing Crosby recorded this song on October 4th, 1943, under the title "I'll Be Home For Christmas (If Only In My Dreams)" for Decca records. Within a month of its release the song hit the music charts and stayed there for eleven weeks, peaking at number three. With the song being released in the midst of World War II, it particularly touched the hearts of soldiers and civilians. "I'll Be Home For Christmas" became the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows.
I can definitely relate to this song. Although I only live two and a half hours from my parents. I don't get to see them that often. I only get to see them a few times a year. The last two Christmases I wasn't able to see them for Christmas due to financial and auto issues. But hopefully, as long as everything goes well this year, I am going to see them for Christmas. I am excited and I look forward to it.
I absolutely love Bing Crosby's voice. I could listen to him sing all day. This is a beautiful, moving song. I have to admit It brings tears to my eyes as I remember memories from Christmases past with my family. I'm sure that a lot of people out there can relate to this song, for I think a lot of people have experienced a time when they weren't sure they were going to make it home for Christmas. This song is definitely a Christmas classic, and in my opinion Bing sings it best.
5. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas - Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters
"It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" was written in 1951 by Robert Meredith Willson. The song was originally titled "It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas". Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters with Mitchell Ayres and His Orchestra were the first to record this song on September 10, 1951. It was released on RCA Victor records and instantly became a hit.
I love the way The Fontane Sisters voices blend with Perry Como's silky, smooth voice. This song never fails to bring a smile to my face. It's really a cute and fun Christmas song.
6. The Christmas Tree Angel - The Andrews Sisters
"The Christmas Tree Angel" was written by M.K. Jerome and Jack Scholl. The Andrews Sisters with Vic Shoen and His Orchestra recorded this song for Decca records on September 20, 1950.
I only discovered this song about two years ago, and I immediately fell in love with it. Discovering this song was definitely a wonderful treat. I don't know why this song isn't more popular. It's really a beautiful song, and I love the little story that it tells.
7. Christmas Is A Feeling In Your Heart - Andy Williams
Andy Williams recorded "Christmas Is A Feeling In Your Heart" in 1954 for Cadence records. The song was only released as a single, and was never put onto a complete album. I love the message of this song. It reminds us that during the Christmas season what really matters is not the material things but what does matter is faith, hope, and love. These are things we should cling to when Christmas is far away so that we can embrace the spirit of Christmas throughout the year.
8. There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays - Perry Como
Perry Como makes a second appearance on my list. What can I say, I love his voice. "There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays" was written by Robert Allen and Al Stillman. Perry Como recorded this song on November 16, 1954 and released it as a single for Christmas of that year. "There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays" reached number 8 on Billboard music chart in the United States. Perry Como was the first person to record this Christmas standard.
I definitely agree, there's no place like home for the holidays! Even If I can't see family much throughout the year it's essential to me that I see them for Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Although this song is played during Christmastime it can also apply to Thanksgiving as well. This is a fun song that gets me ready for the long drive to see loved ones.
9. Toyland - Doris Day
"Toyland" was written by Victor Herbert and Glen McDonough. Doris Day recorded this song sometime during 1964. Doris Day's beautiful voice is suited perfectly for this song.
This song make me cry. Why do so many Christmas songs make me cry? I guess it has to do with all the beautiful memories they bring back. This song is so beautiful, it sounds like a lullaby. This song makes me long for my childhood once again. It makes me want to go back to a time when everything was innocent, life was full of wonder, and there was nothing to worry about. Now that I'm grown-up, things are, well, they're sadly different. I guess it's true, once you pass Toyland's borders, you can never return again.
10. White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Another favorite by Bing Crosby. "White Christmas" was written by Irving Berlin in 1940. Bing Crosby recorded the song with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby singers on May 29, 1942 for Decca records. Bing recorded this song in only 18 minutes. "White Christmas" was released on July 30, 1942, as part of an album consisting of six songs from the film "Holiday Inn". Bing Crosby's version of "White Christmas" is credited for selling 50 million copies, making it the best selling single of all time.
I really wish it snowed where I live. It would be lovely to have a snowy, white Christmas. But since that will probably never happen, I can just listen to this song and imagine. This song is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit, and is without a doubt a Christmas classic.
11. The Christmas Waltz - Frank Sinatra
"The Christmas Waltz" was written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne. This song was specifically written for Frank Sinatra. Frank wanted a Christmas song of his own to sing. He recorded this song in 1954 as a B-side to his recording of the song "White Christmas", he also recorded it for his 1957 Christmas album, "A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra".
I think the lyrics to this song are so beautiful. I have always loved this song. I am also a huge fan of Frank Sinatra, and his version of the song is my favorite. This is a beautiful song, sung by one of the most beautiful voices in musical history.
12. It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year - Andy Williams
Andy Williams once again makes it onto my list. "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" was written in 1963 was Edward Pola and George Wyle. The song was recorded and released that year by Andy Williams for his first Christmas album, "The Andy Williams Christmas Album".
I have wonderful memories of helping my grandma decorate her Christmas tree with this song playing in the background. My grandma loves Andy Williams and she is always playing his Christmas music during the holiday season. We also would watch reruns of his Christmas specials on PBS together as well. Those were good times. This song never fails to lift my spirits, and it always puts a smile on my face. This song has been covered by several other artists, but Andy's version will always be my favorite.
13. This Time Of The Year - Brook Benton
"This Time Of The Year" was written by Cliff Owens and Jesse Hollis. Brook Benton recorded this song in 1959 for Mercury records.
I don't know why this song doesn't receive as much airplay as other Christmas songs. It's really a beautiful song, and Brook has a beautiful voice that is quite similar to Nat King Cole's. I was little when I first heard this song but I have always loved it, and it has remained one of my favorites since then.
14. Silver Bells - Bing Crosby and Carole Richards
Yes, I know, I know, another Bing Crosby song, but hey, I love his music.
"Silver Bells" was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. Bing Crosby and Carole Richards were the first to record this song, and it was released on Decca records in October 1950. This seems to be the most popular version of the song, and out of all the versions I have heard, it's my personal favorite. I love the way Bing and Carole's voices mesh together in the beautiful Christmas classic.
15. Jingle Bells - Frank Sinatra
"Jingle Bells" was written by James Lord Pierpont. It is unknown what year he wrote this song, but it was originally titled "One Horse Open Sleigh" when it was published in the fall of 1857. Although this is one of the most well known Christmas songs ever, it was originally intended to be a song for Thanksgiving.
I absolutely love Frank Sinatra's version of "Jingle Bells", it's my favorite version of this song. I especially love the way the song begins, and the singers accompanying Frank have great voices as well. He really did a fantastic job with his rendition of the song.
16. (Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man with the Bag - Kay Starr
"(Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man with the Bag" was written in 1950 by Irving Taylor, Dudley Brooks, and Hal Stanley. Kay Starr's version of this song launched its popularity, and she earned one of her biggest hits with this song as well.
I fell in love with this song while I was working at a department store during the holidays. I had never heard it before then, but I immediately fell in love with it. I adore Kay's voice and she really adds life to this wonderfully jazzy Christmas tune.
17. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) - Elvis Presley
"Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)" was written by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman. This song was first made popular with Gene Autry's version of the song which he recorded for his 1957 Christmas album. Elvis also recorded his own version of "Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)" for his 1957 "Elvis' Christmas Album".
My favorite version of this song would have to be Elvis'. I love how he adds his own style to this song. This is really a cute Christmas tune.
18. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Perry Como
"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie. It was first heard on Eddie Cantor's radio show in 1934. The song instantly became a hit with orders for 100,000 copies of sheet music and more than 30,000 records sold within 24 hours. Perry Como recorded his version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" in 1951. He was the first person to really make this song a hit.
Perry Como's version of this song is my favorite. He the brings the tempo of the song down quite a bit compared to others, and in my opinion it sounds better that way compared to the faster versions of the song. He adds his own style to the song, and I love that.
19. Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt with Henri Rene and His Orchestra
"Santa Baby" was written by Joan Javits and Philip Springer in 1953. Eartha Kitt was the first person to ever record this song. She recorded it along with Henri Rene and His Orchestra in July, 1953. The song was released as a single in 1953 for RCA Victor records. "Santa Baby" was a huge hit for Eartha, and she said it was one of her favorite songs to record.
I absolutely love this song! It has been one of my favorites ever since I was a little girl. I wish Santa Claus would bring me all the things Eartha mentions in the song. Who knows, maybe someday. Eartha's beautiful sultry voice is simply perfect for this song. She really owns this song, and in my opinion no one else's version holds a candle to hers.
20. The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year - Sung By The Misfit Toys From The Rankin/Bass Christmas Special, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
"The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year" was written by Johnny Marks specifically for the television special "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer". Unfortunately, I could not find any information on the actual chorus that sang this song.
I have loved "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" for as long as I can remember. I have always loved the music from it as well. A couple of years ago, I bought the soundtrack so that I could always have the music on hand for whenever I felt like listening to it. "The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year" has always stood out to me as one of my favorites from this holiday special. The song starts out sounding a little glum, but then the song picks up and becomes a beautiful and joyful Christmas song.
21. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
"Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer was written by Johnny Marks in 1939. Johnny Marks based the song on the 1939 story "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" that was published by the Montgomery Ward department store company. It was actually Marks' brother-in-law, Robert L. May, who created the story of "Rudolph" as an assignment for Montgomery Ward. Marks', who was a radio producer at the time, was inspired to turn the story of "Rudolph" into a song. Marks' also wrote several other Christmas songs as well, and a few are mentioned on this list.
Gene Autry was the first person to make this song a hit. HIs recording of the song hit No. 1 on music charts during the week of Christmas in 1949. Gene Autry's recording of the song sold a whopping 1.75 million copies during its release that Christmas season. It eventually ended up selling a total of 12.5 million records.
I don't know how anyone can not like this song, I mean how can you not love little Rudolph? I have always loved Gene Autry's version of this song the best, but I also consider Burl Ives version to be my second favorite. I really love the way Gene adds just a bit of country flair to this beloved classic. It's not Christmas for me until I hear this song. I have many memories of singing this song when I was in elementary school for our yearly Christmas programs. With as much as I've heard this song in my lifetime, I will never grow tired of it.
22. Frosty The Snowman - Jimmy Durante
"Frosty The Snowman" was written by Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson. Jimmy Durante recorded this song for the 1969 Rankin/Bass Christmas special in 1969. He also narrated the holiday special as well.
Jimmy Durante's version of this song is my favorite. I like how his unique voice works perfectly with the song. He really gets you into the story of Frosty. I have many fond memories of watching "Frosty The Snowman" and singing along to this song, heck, I still sing along to it.
23. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) - Alvin and The Chipmunks
"The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) was written by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., also know as David Seville, in 1958. Bagdasarian is also the creator of those loveable little chipmunks. It's only Bagdasarian's voice you hear throughout the entire track, he would speed up the playback of the track which would result in high pitched voices, which created the perfect effect for the speaking and singing voices of The Chipmunks. Although he is the one singing the song, the vocal credits are given to Alvin and The Chipmunks.
This song was very successful and it even reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart. This became The Chipmunks one and only No. 1 single.
This has been one of my favorite Christmas songs ever since I was a kid. How can you not love those adorable little voices? Even if you are in a bad mood, I don't know how you can't help but smile when this song comes one. This has to be the cutest Christmas song ever!
24. A Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives
"A Holly Jolly Christmas" was another song written by Johnny Marks for the 1964 Rankin/Bass special "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer". Burl Ives sang the song for the holiday special, yet he re-recorded it for his 1965 Christmas album, "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas". The version featured on Burl Ives Christmas album is slowed down a bit compared to the one featured in "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer". It is also the most commonly heard version of the song.
This is yet another song that I would sing often for my elementary school Christmas programs. It's a cute, fun, and cheery holiday song. Burl Ives version is the one I have been familiar with my whole life, and in my opinion no other version can compare.
25. Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms
"Jingle Bell Rock" was written by Joseph Carleton Beal and James Ross Boothe. Bobby Helms was the first person to record "Jingle Bell Rock". His version of the song was released in 1957 as a single for Decca records.
It's really hard to not want to get up and dance to this song. Thanks to Bobby Helms, he left us with this fantastic rockabilly Christmas song. Without a doubt, Bobby's version of this song is the best.
26. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
"Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" was yet another Christmas song written by Johnny Marks. He wrote the song specifically for the Rankin/Bass Christmas special "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer". In the holiday special you can hear an instrumental version of "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" playing in the background.
Brenda Lee recorded this song in 1958. It's hard to believe that Brenda was just 13 years old when she recorded this song. Although Decca records released this song as a single in 1958 and then again in 1959, it really did not sell well until 1960 when Brenda Lee was starting to become popular. During the Christmas season of 1960, "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart, and it continued to sell well throughout the following Christmas seasons.
This is one the most popular Christmas songs of all time. It's impossible to not like this song. Brenda's powerful voice really brings this song vivacity. She really makes you want to have a dance party around the Christmas tree.
27. Do You Hear What I Hear? - Bing Crosby
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" was written in 1962 by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne. The pair wrote the song as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Bing Crosby recorded his version of the song on October 21, 1963, and the song was released as a single on October 26, 1963. Bing is the one who really made this song a hit.
The lyrics to this song are so beautiful. They bring vivid images of that first Christmas to mind. This has always been on of my favorites ever since I was young. Bing, as always, did a wonderful job with this song. No one else can sing it like Bing.
28. The Little Drummer Boy - The Harry Simeone Chorale
"The Little Drummer Boy" was written by American classical music composer and teacher Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. The song was originally titled "Carol Of The Drum".
It was actually Harry Simeone who changed the title of the song to "The Little Drummer Boy". The Harry Simeone Chorale recorded "The Little Drummer Boy" for the 1958 album, "Sing We Now Of Christmas". The song became extremely popular, and it scored on the U.S. music charts from 1958 through 1962.
This is such a beautiful song. The Harry Simeone Chorale did a beautiful job singing this song. Their vocals are so hauntingly beautiful, I have to admit I get chills down my spine when I hear this song.
29. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen - Ray Conniff and The Ray Conniff Singers
Also known as "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen", "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" is a traditional English Christmas carol. It was published in 1833 by William B. Sandys yet the author of the song in unknown.
Ray Conniff recorded "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" for his 1965 album, "Here We Come A-Caroling". I really like that Ray Conniff's version is more upbeat, and peppy, compared to other versions where the song is sung in a very serious tone. The Ray Conniff Singers vocals harmonize together beautifully, they make you want to sing right along with them.
30. Silent Night - Nat King Cole
"Silent Night" was composed in 1818 by Franz Xaber Gruber and the lyrics were written by Joseph Mohr. The original lyrics were written in German, but in 1859 Episcopal priest John Freeman Young published the English translation of the song, and that is the song we now know today. Gruber's original version of this tune actually had a very upbeat tempo, while the version we know today sounds more like a lullaby.
This is by far one of the most popular Christmas songs ever. It has even been translated into over 100 languages.
Nat King Cole's version of "Silent NIght" is my favorite. His calm and soothing voice is absolutely perfect for this beautiful Christmas classic.
© 2014 Danielle