1] CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE (Written by Vince Guaraldi – from A Charlie Brown Christmas)
Show me a better song representative of Christmas? Okay, maybe The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole – but nothing revs up the Holiday heart strings like this classic tune sung by the Peanuts gang on one of the best Christmas TV specials of all time.
2] THERE’S ALWAYS TOMORROW (FOR DREAMS TO COME TRUE) By Janet Orenstein from Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special
Like Christmastime is Here (from A Charlie Brown Christmas) this true-love bearing (and en-deer-ing) song from TV’s other classic perennial, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, hits all the right chords. Years after first hearing it as a kid, my college crush Debbie Bell (yep, that was her name) sang this for me on her piano. And I couldn’t believe she had the sheet music.
3] SILVER & GOLD (performed by Burl Ives in Rudolph)
Stripping away the materialism of what it may appear to mean (silver and gold money, for example), this song caters to core of Christmas – and teaches us to decorate our trees with only the sincerest of colors (that you just know somehow glisten on and make into Heaven – which, of course, is already paved with silver and gold).
4] HOLLY-JOLLY CHRISTMAS (performed by Burl Ives in Rudolph)
Put away your frown, Mr. Scrooge…I dare you not to dance when you hear this jingle bell.
5] LAST CHRISTMAS by George Michael
George has certainly had his share of issues in the years since his early days with WHAM, but this song wasn’t one of ’em. Instead, it goes down in history as one of the most beautiful and somber pop-rock carols of all time.
6] ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU by Mariah Carey
Like George Michael before her, Mariah Carey has experienced a few personal challenges in recent years. However, her talent is astounding – and her voice is pure – as is so pristinely evident heart-felt holiday rockin’ tune.
7] FELICE NAVIDA by Jose Feliciano
Before it became hip for non-Latinos to speak Spanish in the US, the gifted Jose Ferrer introduced mainstream Americana to the international sounds of Christmas with this bangin’ gee-tar-driven holiday present that broke the language barrier.
8] SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS (offcially titled Happy Christmas) by John Lennon TIES with LITTLE SAINT NICK by Brian Wilson (and Mike Love)
One would expect nothing less from Lennon – the man who brought us the timeless beauty of Imagine – while the genius of The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson is front and center for Christmas. And is it really any wonder that “Little Saint Nick” appears on TBB’s first Christmas album, which just so happened to be released in the same year (1964) that Rudolph debuted on TV? ‘Course not. The angels know what they’re doing.
9] DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS? (Various artists)
Before being charitable in the super-mainstream public eye became cool, and as the precursor to “We Are The World” [by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie] this haunting tune was recorded to help feed the hungry – not only of the body – but of the heart and the soul. In the process, it reminds us exactly what Christmas is supposed to be all about (clue: not buying Christmas gifts at the mall, which opens at 4 AM on Black Friday).
10] EDELWEISE by Rodgers and Hammerstein from The Sound of Music
If this isn’t a Christmas song, I don’t know what is. It is infested with love, and as far as I’m concerned, is one of the most beautifully melodies on the planet. And though The Sound of Music is not “really” a “Christmas story,” per se, it really kinda’sorta is.