The church bells in town, all ringing in song …
“2000 Miles,” The Pretenders
“All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey
“All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Vince Vance & The Valiants
“Blue Christmas,” Bright Eyes
“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” Darlene Love
“Christmas Wrapping,” The Waitresses
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Aimee Mann
“It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas,” Sam Phillips
“Merry Christmas Baby,” Charles Brown
“Please Come Home for Christmas,” Bon Jovi
So as a compromise, here’s a fairly secular list of Christmas love songs.
The Mariah Carey link is to her singing backstage at Jimmy Fallon, accompanied by The Roots on schoolkids’ classroom instruments. Because everything is better with ?uestlove.
That song was written in 1994, so it’s been nearly 20 years since somebody wrote a new bona fide Christmas classic. That seems like it should be easy — a bit of sentiment, liberal use of the word “home,” sprinkle in some snow and add some bells (jingle, church, or both) and there you go. But most of them don’t stick, melting away as one-season novelty songs. We’re about due for a new one, I think.
The newest song in the list above is Sam Phillips’ tune, which is lovely and hits all the right emotional cues of dark nights and longing for a new year, but isn’t likely to catch on as an annual standard. One Toad the Wet Sprocket reunion record does not a standard make. (But I still think Stars Hollow would be a nice place to spend Christmas.)