So, given that my last several posts have involved things that don’t really excite approximately 90% of my readers, I was thinking about Christmas music today…largely because I hate it. I mean really, Christmas stops being fun after the second year of working retail, and only starts being fun again when you have kids and get to watch them enjoy Christmas…or so I’m told. My lack-of-enthusiasm for the holiday has deeper reasons that are beyond the scope of a blog post, but for a little bit, I’ll at least attempt to hand out a few awards for my preferred Christmas songs…
Favorite Pre-1960, non-religious Christmas song
“Here Comes Santa Claus”
I chose this one because it’s a rare breed. I’m not the biggest fan of hearing it, but it’s notable to me because it’s a Santa-focused Christmas song that declares “We’re all God’s children” and encourages listeners to “give thanks to the Lord above”. As an added bonus, these statements presumably help prevent it from being the victim of infinite remakes.
Favorite Post-1960, non-religious Christmas song
This track is the only Christmas song I know to utilize the word “damn” in its lyrics, and its mention of the now-defunct A&P supermarket ages the song more than its sax riff. It’s also one of only two Christmas-centered story songs I can think of (the other being “The Little Drummer Boy”). While the song was clearly reflective of music trends in the early 1980s, the story itself is all but timeless. Admittedly it is a Christmas song in the same way that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, but from a purely cultural standpoint it’s fun and evokes a mental picture in every one who listens to it.
Favorite Faith-Based Christmas Carol
O Come Let Us Adore Him
Though sung and re-sung by no shortage of artists, I consider Nat King Cole’s rendition to be the definitive one. Moreover, I like the fact that this song references the birth of Christ in a context where singing the song in the middle of August still makes perfect sense.
Favorite Modern Faith-Based Christmas Song
Breath of Heaven
This song, though not directly based off a Biblical account, seems like a reasonable look into how Mary and Joseph were feeling and thinking at the time of Jesus’ birth, with a direct expression of their reliance on God to get them through a very difficult situation for them.
If you’ve got any categories you’d like me to add, feel free to write it in the comments.