Christmas Music Memories

Now that it’s the day after Thanksgiving, we can officially say it’s Christmastime! I don’t know about your house, but here in Charleston, the rule is no Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving. I figure this seems perfectly fair because, like Sarah mentioned the other day, retail stores beat Christmas to death before Halloween has even arrived! Also, there’s no reason to bypass a holiday that celebrates all the blessings we have in our lives.

But, Thanksgiving has officially come and gone. So, all’s fair in love and Christmas music! Sarah and I love love LOVE Christmas music, but we’ve got a pretty diverse range (I’m sure you’d expect nothing less). So, we thought we’d tell you about a few of our top faves, and we even created a playlist for you to jam right along with us.

  • “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole

    • Sarah: There’s nothing better than Nat King Cole’s sweet, smooth voice singing these words. This song brings to mind all of my favorite things about Christmas. The weather, the activities, and the look of pure joy on a child’s face.
    • Deborah: It’s a classic, for sure! And, no matter how how many other people cover it, Nat King Cole’s will always be the best…
  • “Christmas Time is Here” by Vince Guaraldi Trio

    • Deborah: So, it’s not Christmas without The Peanuts Gang ice skating and Linus quoting Luke 2:8-14. And, despite all the songs in that special, this one is my fave! I even named one of my Pinterest boards after it. 🙂
    • Sarah: Who doesn’t love this song?! I have the sheet music for A Charlie Brown Christmas and this is one of my favorite pieces to play while celebrating Christmas with my family. Speaking of which, I better get to practicing!
  • “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by *NSYNC

    • Sarah: I know what you’re thinking. This isn’t a top ten Christmas song. What’s it doing on this list? I was ten years old when this song came out and NSYNC’s “Home for Christmas” album was the first Christmas CD I ever bought–with my own money. I grew up loving this song and it became a part of my Christmas celebration. I smile every time I hear it because it really does take me back. In case it’s been a while since you’ve heard it, be sure to check out the music video here to get the full effect. I promise, it’s worth it.
    • Deborah: I was one of those few girls who wasn’t into *NSYNC or the Backstreet Boys (I preferred plusONE), but even I like this song! It’s one of those fun Christmas songs that just makes me feel happy and smiley any time I hear it. And Sarah’s right. The video is a must in all of its late-90s glory!
  • “Carol of the Bells” by Family Force 5

    • Deborah: “Carol of the Bells” is just a cool song in general, especially when the lyrics are performed. But, of course, FF5 put their own twist on it. Still trying to set the first 17 seconds of the song as my ringtone for Christmas…
    • Sarah: One of the coolest Christmas songs you will ever hear! Nothing can replace the classic version of “Carol of the Bells,” but this song is fun. Did I mention the auto-tune?
  • “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland

    • Sarah: You probably know this song from the movie, “Meet Me in St. Louis.” But did you know it was actually written for the movie? In one of the most famous scenes, Judy Garland breaks our hearts when she sings this song through her own tears to her sister, in an attempt to cheer her up about having to move to New York. It’s beautiful and it makes me feel sentimental. It’s Judy Garland. Enough said.
    • Deborah: You can’t go wrong with Judy Garland. And obviously I need to see this movie (how have I not seen such a classic?!). I love Judy Garland, and her voice is excellent, no matter what the season.
  • “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” by The Carpenters

    • Deborah: This is the first track from The Carpenters’ A Christmas Portrait album, and probably my mom’s all-time favorite Christmas album. The whole CD brings back memories of decorating the tree with her each year. And, as a bonus, it’s one of the rare times we hear Richard Carpenter, since Karen was usually the songbird of the two.
    • Sarah: I’d never actually heard this song until Deborah added it to the list. It’s pretty good. Definitely some cool harmonizing!
  • “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee

    • Sarah: A lot of the Christmas songs I love come from my favorite Christmas movies. You probably remember this one from “Home Alone”–when Macaulay Culkin’s character is trying to trick the bad guys into believing the house is full of people instead of just him. He throws a very convincing Christmas party and this song is the soundtrack. To this day, it’s one of my favorite scenes. I can’t imagine a more happy, feel-good song to get me in the Christmas spirit.
    • Deborah: This is one of those “rockin'” songs of the season (see what I did there?) that’s perfect for Christmas parties, so it was a perfect choice for the movie! Haha! It’s one of those I like to blast in my car while I’m running my holiday errands.
  • “Santa Claus is Back in Town” by Elvis Presley

    • Deborah: You will soon learn that, no matter what the occasion or reason for the playlist, if I have any say in it, The King will appear at least once. For this playlist, I figured I’d pick one that showcased his trademark hip-swinging tunes. I mean, Santa shows up in a “big black Cadillac.” Can’t get much more Elvis than that.
    • Sarah: What a fun song! I’ve always loved Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” the most but this is definitely a close second. The piano solo alone makes it for me.
  • “The First Noel” by Josh Groban with Faith Hill

    • Sarah: One of my all-time favorite Christmas carols, yet I’d never heard such a moving rendition till this one. Josh Groban and Faith Hill perform this song with such power and emotion, all you can do is listen in awe.
    • Deborah: When you bring two powerhouse voices together, you know it’s going to be amazing. I get the chills every time I listen to this version. Beautiful.
  • “Sing We Now of Christmas/O Come, O Come Emmanuel” by Michael W. Smith

    • Deborah: Any kid who grew up with Christian Contemporary Music knew Smitty’s distinct voice. This song is from one of his first Christmas albums, and I love his use of the choir at the beginning. Also, it’s one of the few worshipful Christmas songs, as it is pretty much just singing some of the many names of God.
    • Sarah: I actually had the pleasure of singing this piece as a member of the choir at the church I grew up in. As Deborah said, it’s very worshipful and really helps you to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Also, as a bonus, any Christmas music from Mannheim Steamroller and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a must! Mannheim puts on a great concert (Andrew took me to their 30/40 tour last year for my birthday), and Trans-Siberian Orchestra are the ones that get used for all those insane light displays you see in videos.

So, now that we can officially say that the Christmas season is actually here, it’s time to blast all the music that talks about snowy nights, holly, and, of course, the true meaning of Christmas: Jesus’ birth.

What’s on your Christmas playlist?

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