What is your favorite Christmas Carol?

I know we’re in Advent, (my latest Advent reflection is here) and -for me, anyway- nothing captures the sense of longing and urgent anticipation of this season than O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. I also like O Come, Divine Messiah very much. Some of you may remember I vocally murdered it on one of my Advent Podcasts from last year.

But I think my three favorite Christmas Songs are Angels We Have Heard on High, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (I am partial to the French Carols) and, finally, We Three Kings.

The first makes me giddy; the rolling descent of the “Gloria” taken up by the breathy “in excelsis Deo” has seemed since my childhood to be the nearest thing to real angel song -to the real heavenly herald of that night- that my imagination can grasp.

Angels, we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plane
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strain:
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

It captures the psalms, where mountains clap, and cedars shout and dolphins and all water creatures praise the Lord!

The second is the solemn hush; we are so buried in sentiment in this season -both religious and secular- that we can easily forget how much peril accompanied the Nativity of the Lord. Mary and Joseph were away from home, traveling hard roads. A king went slaughtering after them, and the men from the East found another route home. And there has been, ever since, hard roads and peril. It is no light thing to deliver humanity from itself. Let All Mortal Flesh is a song suitable for any time -at least I sing it anytime- but we need to really hear it at this time of year, and to understand that it is a song of deliverance, and of exorcism:

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way
As the Light of Light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away

And the third, well, I really fell in love with We Three Kings when I heard
The Roches* haunting recording of it (Track 13), but even before then, I always appreciated the lore of it; the short verse-by-verse bios exploring the meaning of each of the gifts presented to the Newborn King, and the wonderful refrain which moves forward in a manner that almost replicates the herky-jerky movement of the camels, “westward leading, still proceeding…”

Myrrh is mine, it’s bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,
Star with Royal Beauty Bright,
Westward Leading, Still Proceeding
Guide us to the Perfect Light.

Sigh. Wonderful!

Speaking of Christmas Music, a few weeks ago I mentioned that the Benedictines of Mary, who are growing very quickly into a sizable monastic community without a monastery, had released a new CD of Christmas music** as a fund-raiser. Today I got my copy and I must say, this is some very lovely stuff. It begins with Angels We Have Heard… but then mixes well-known hymns with lesser-known classics, a bit of Gregorian Chant and several wholly new songs written by the nuns, one of whom is an accomplished musician and composer. Their recording of The First Nowell is gorgeous, but I also loved Of the Father’s Love Beginning, Dies Est Laetitiae and their hushed, reverent Silent Night gave me goosebumps; it sounds the least “polished” and the most personal.

Actually, I loved the whole album of 23 songs, and you might, too.

Related: What is your favorite psalm?

FTC Disclosure: *Your Amazon purchase generates a very small kickback to support the site. **No kickback to site.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://smalltalkwitht.wordpress.com SmalltalkwithT

    My absolute favorite is “O Holy Night.” Then all the traditional Christmas Carols.

    I also fell in love last year with Casting Crowns “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.” I never knew the background of the lyrics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7670CXvPX0 It brings tears to my eyes especially with our soldiers away from home fighting war.

  • Roz Smith

    My favorite Christmas music of all time is Silent Night sung in the original German. It is performed before midnight mass by the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale. The carols start at 11:15 and are followed by Mozart’s Coronation mass at midnight. The church where they perform was established for German speaking Catholic immigrants, my great grandfather among them. The parish clung to the traditional form of worships such as the Latin mass and the Chorale has been performing there since 1974.

    It is a very long service and on drive back to my mother’s house after 2:00 am I’d often put on a CD of carols. O Holy Night was my favorite at that hour, with the Minnesota sunrise still five and half hours away. Most often the air would be as clear and cold as ice made from the purest of spring water. The stars would indeed be brightly shining above the bleak snow covered landscape.

    “The thrill of hope The weary world rejoices,
    For yonder breaks A new and glorious morn.”

  • Dagwood

    I grew up listening to many different Christmas albums, from Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” to a sing-along set of LP’s by Mitch Miller. One favorite was by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians titled “The Sounds of Christmas”, which featured songs representing a wide variety of moods, including several songs I’d never heard elsewhere. Two that stand out were “I Wonder as I Wander” and “Children Go Where I Send Thee.” I recently searched online for a CD, but unfortunately it’s been out of print for years.

  • JohnD

    I must weigh in also to support O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The desperate longing, the anticipation of his arrival, the joy of His birth, and a tinge of melancholy that reminds us that this joyous coming will lead to great suffering and death… it is a wonderful, awesome song, both adjectives being used in their original meanings.

  • Anglican Peggy

    O come Emmanuel – I have always loved the key for this song. It has always spoken to me of an ancient, weary longing. Of course, no song anticipates Christmas so perfectly.

    Its also a good fit for me because I am not usually in such hurry to get to the celebration of Christmas that Advent gets lost along the way. I think there is too much skipping going on esp when it comes to hymns that were written for the Feast of Christmas being played before its Christmas! Everything in its right place and time I say (which probably goes a long way in explaining why I am an Anglican ;-) ) Besides, I love waiting and the counting down of the days in Advent and want to enjoy it.

    The Trisagion – I don’t know if its particularly a Christmas hymn but in my parish we will sing a setting of this beautiful prayer by the Russian composer M. Archangelsky throughout the Advent season. It just knocks me for a loop. The tune sounds ancient like it could be 2000 years old and yet the sense of eternal time is so strong and deep and peaceful. It is such a perfect antithesis to all that is wrong with modern life that it is like jumping in a icy river. It is something alive-making and that makes it perfect for Advent in my opinion.

  • Kurt

    Back when I was a kid, my favorite was definitely “Angels We Have Heard on High,” for some of the reasons you mention–but also because I thought it was fun to sing, and I was very good with the high parts. I still like it, but I haven’t enjoyed singing it in years as much as I did when I was younger.

    I see some have mentioned “O Holy Night.” That is one I have mixed feelings about. I think it is a lovely song and can be very well done, but it seems to have become the power ballad of the Christmas carols–one that must be tackled by any singer who is trying to show how serious he or she is. Hence, we have the likes of Josh Groban, Celine Dion, and Mariah Carey being sure to include “O Holy Night” on their Christmas albums. I could go on naming ambitious performers who’ve released versions of that song in the last dozen or so years. I’m afraid that song has gotten to be a little overdone in this day and age.

    As far as “Silent Night,” I always liked it when I was young, and I also liked the story about how it was first written and performed. But lately I grow tired of it whenever it is sung in church at any Christmas eve service. Must we really turn out all the lights and hold up candles, etc.? This is a bit of showiness that I find completely unnecessary, a tradition that has taken hold which I have very little patience for anymore. I’d like “Silent Night” much more if we could just dispense with that tradition every year. (If they did it once every four or five years, it might still seem nice, but every year has gotten old.)

  • By the Sea

    There are so many good Christmas carols:

    It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
    The Coventry Carol
    Gesu Bambino
    Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella

    One that always sends a chill down by spine is The Virgin’s Slumber Song by Max Reger. Here are the words:

    “Amid the roses Mary sits and rocks her jesus child,

    While among the tree tops, sighs a breeze so warm and mild.

    And soft and sweetly, sings a bird upon the bow

    Aaahh baby, dear one, slumber now.

    Happy is thy laughter,

    Silent is thy holy rest

    Lay thy head in slumber,

    Soft upon thy mother’s breast

    aaahh baby dear one, slumber now ”

    I think my two favorite Christmas recordings are two cd’s by the old Roger Wagner Chorale: Joy to the World and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

  • Lori

    O Little Town of Bethlehem – which I only really listened to after our music director said how much he disliked its Victorian sound! But the third verse in particular has won my heart:

    “How silently, how silently
    The wondrous gift is giv’n!
    So God imparts to human hearts
    The blessings of His heav’n.
    Though none may hear Him coming,
    Yet in this world of sin
    Where meek souls will receive Him still,
    The dear Christ enters in.”

    Another love is the Wexford Carol, which we had on a Julie Andrews album of yore. So lovely … go hear it now!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXkgqpVVpTg – I’m still tearing up. Stupid allergies!!

  • Elaine

    I also love ‘Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent” but I’ve never thought of it before as an Advent or Christmas carol – I always thought of it as referring to the Second Coming.

    Silent Night, especially if we sing more than one verse. We Three Kings all the verses. Adeste Fideles in Latin because it is so solemn and joyful.

    I also grew up with Waring and the Pennsylvanians and was delighted to find the album remastered and for sale as a double CD set last year. Dagwood, check for a website going by “yestermusic” or ‘yestervideo” I still get messages from them, and that’s where I found it. I, too, love ‘Children, Go where I Send Thee” and “I Wonder as I Wander.”

  • Theca

    I’m enjoying the new Ephesus CD also. I’m keeping it in the car and I feel happy every time I turn the music on again.

    My yearly favorites change yearly but I always love the versions of Carol of the Bells.

    And thanks to this conversation I have to go find some John Rutter music on Rhapsody now… scuze me.

  • Ruth

    O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. When I was in 5th grade we sang this in choir. I was agnostic and it filled me with so many questions. When I was 16 the answers came.

    O Holy Night

    Good Christian Men Rejoice

    Breath of Heaven

    I Wonder as I Wander (but I hardly hear it)

    Lord of the Dance (Christmas Revels)

    Corn, Water and Wood (Michael Martin Murphey)

  • honeybee

    Favorite carol:
    God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen…..

    “Let nothing you dismay
    Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day
    To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray
    O tidings of comfort and joy!”

  • Ellen

    I love In the Bleak Midwinter dearly, and Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent as well, but a particular favorite of mine is Good King Wenceslaus. I heard a version of it that had a baritone singing the King’s lines, a boy singing the servant’s lines and the chorus sang the rest. It was wonderful.

    I’ve burned out on a lot of Christmas carols though – the perils of working retail where you hear it all the time. Also, may I rant a bit? Please quit using inclusive language in carols. If I hear God Rest Ye Merry, Christian Friends one more time, I am likely to explode.

    [Bleak Midwinter & Wenceslaus are two of my faves, also, and you rarely hear Good King Wenceslaus anymore -admin]

  • Chris

    Speaking of The Roches, their three-part a capella rendering of the Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah is wonderful. (Not really a Christmas carol, but customarily heard during the season.)

  • Chris

    Here’s a link to the Roches’ Hallelujah chorus (not the best quality). Link

  • SCOTTtheBADGER

    As a good Norwegian/Wisconsin Lutheran Badger, I find that both Breath of Heavan, and Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, sung by Celtic Woman, can reduce me to tears.

    Breath of Heavan, because it reminds me of the courage of a 14 year old, who is willing to accept the responsibilty of being the Mother of God. I don’t even know what to say about that, that would sound even the least bit coherent. Yet she accepted the job. Egad, but that gives one pause for thought!

    Celtic Woman’s really does a number on me, with the peerless music of Bach, and the crystal clear voices of those young women, fills one with the amazing love that has for us all, ( presumably even non-Badgers ), even though I, at least, have done very little to deserve it. I am filled with such gratitude for that love when I watch that song on YouTube. Thank goodness it isn’t on thier Christmas album, or I would have to stop the Ranger, while it played.
    I heard it earlier tonight, and my muzzle is still soggy, and badgers look silly that way.

    A Merry Christmas to you, dear Anchoress, and all your readers.

  • Tom

    My two favorite Christmas Albums: “The Soul of Christmas: A Celtic Music Celebration,” and Kathy Mattea’s “Good News.” My favorite Christmas carol is “Christ Child’s Lullaby,” a Scot’s Gaelic song (Taladh Chriosta) from the Outer Hebrides. I love the English version sung by Kathy Mattea. I love the very idea of the song: Mary singing a lullaby to her child and her God. Here’s a link to a (somewhat cheesy) YouTube video: link

  • Richard Clark

    I love most of them. But one of my favorites is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” I love it because of its realism. Written in the context of the American Civil War one stanza contemplates the state of the world and acknowledges that “…hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth….”
    But it is just as realistic to proclaim with the carol:
    “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
    The wrong shall fail; the right prevail
    With peace on earth, good will to men.”

  • tnxplant

    Great post!

    Here’s my list in no particular order:

    Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

    Still Still Still (Mannheim Steamroller version)
    link

    Of the Father’s Love Begotten

    He Is Born

    Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming

    Silent Night (Phil Keaggy on guitar/Majesty and Wonder CD)

    And just for the happy, celebratory sound of it,

    Feliz Navidad!

  • tomg51

    Oh Come, All Ye Faithful (to sing)

    Night of Silence (to hear)

    My choice would be “O Little Town of Bethlehem” to sing, except that I can’t sing and cry at the same time. I just get caught up in “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful”, so no problem there.

  • http://www.savkobabe.blogspot.com Gayle Miller

    O Holy Night – the favorite of both my late mother Irene and me! I cry every time I hear it because it reminds me of her. Isn’t it interesting, she’s been gone 33 years and I still miss her every single day. Now THAT is impact! She was intelligent, talented, slightly goofy and absolutely the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.

  • anniebird

    My current favorite is “In the Bleak Midwinter” because of this verse:

    “Angels and archangels may have gathered there. Cherubim and Seraphim thronged the air. But only his mother, in her maiden bliss, worshipped the Beloved with a kiss.”

    Maybe it’s my pregnancy, but how can your heart not catch in your throat at the thought of Mary, pure and tender, kissing the face of her truly perfect new baby?

  • Beth

    I love singing “The Messiah” , especially the part that goes ” and the Glory, the Glory of the Lord, shall be revealed.” It is such a glorious work of music. My favorite traditional carol is Joy to the World, exactly because it is so joyful.

    Favorite Psalm: 103. “Bless the Lord oh my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy Name”.

  • Myssi

    O Holy Night
    O Come All Ye Faithful
    The First Noel and
    It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

    This year, my favorite Christmas song is “My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord” which my praise team is singing this Sunday in our contemporary service. It’s a very upbeat song and I’d love it anyway, but the chorus is an arrangement of The Magnificat and there’s just something that tickles my funny bone about singing it in a Southern Baptist sanctuary.

  • http://www.spartafumcyouth.blogspot.com Amanda

    “O Come all Ye Faithful” is my absolute favorite but “In the Bleak Midwinter” is a close second…

    1. In the bleak midwinter, frost wind made
    moan
    earth stood hard as iron, water like a
    stone;
    snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on
    snow,
    in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

    2. Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor
    earth sustain,
    heaven and earth shall flee away when
    he comes to reign.
    In the bleak midwinter a stable place
    sufficed,
    the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

    3. Angels and archangels may have
    gathered there,
    cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
    but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
    worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

    4. What can I give him, poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd, I would bring a
    lamb,
    if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
    yet what I can I give him: give my heart.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Ellen, LOL, I guess you wouldn’t like “Good Christian Friends Rejoice”? (Me neither.)

    I used to work in retail too. Fortunately, the places I worked at played mostly modern Christmas songs, along the lines of “The weather outside is freezing/but it’s a white Christmas in the city/where silver bells ring/I’ll be home for a holly-jolly Christmas” la, la, la, and so forth. They rarely played the more traditional stuff, so I never burned out at that.

    My brother once worked in retail, near a line of singing santas, all singing “Holly Jolly Christmas” at once, with the voice of Burl Ives. All day long. He kept his sanity, though I’m not sure how.

  • Craig Payne

    Those (like me) who like “I Heard the Bells” and “In the Bleak Midwinter” should get the Windham Hill CD “Winter Solstice III”–the performances by John Gorka and Pierce Pettis are lovely, haunting. The rest of the CD is also quite good.

  • http://www.reflectionsbykris.squarespace.com Kris, in New England

    Silent Night, hands down. Our neighborhood used to do a carol sing at an old church nearby, the friday before Christmas. Silent Night was always done last; and we’d only hum the final verse. Moving and would reduce everyone to tears.

    The Hallelujah Chorus is always welcomed. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring as well – and I don’t limit them to Christmas. I listen to them all year long. I’m working now on teaching myself to play Jesu on my piano. Challenging and rewarding.

  • SicSemperTyrannus

    Amen to all that have been mentioned before, but I want to put in a plug for my favorite non-favorite.

    “Some Children See Him”
    by Wihla Hutson & Alfred S. Burt 1951

    Some children see Him lily white,
    the baby Jesus born this night.
    Some children see Him lily white,
    with tresses soft and fair.
    Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
    The Lord of heav’n to earth come down.
    Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
    with dark and heavy hair.

    Some children see Him almond-eyed,
    this Savior whom we kneel beside.
    some children see Him almond-eyed,
    with skin of yellow hue.
    Some children see Him dark as they,
    sweet Mary’s Son to whom we pray.
    Some children see him dark as they,
    and, ah! they love Him, too!

    The children in each different place
    will see the baby Jesus’ face
    like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
    and filled with holy light.
    O lay aside each earthly thing
    and with thy heart as offering,
    come worship now the infant King.
    ‘Tis love that’s born tonight!

  • Anglican Peggy

    Ok, since some here have mentioned some favorite recordings of Christmas carols/hymns, I’ll have to put a good word in for two of my favorites both on the first Very Special Christmas album.

    Whitney Houston’s Do You Hear What I Hear. God, she just nails it esp when she puts extra sauce on the line” He will bring us gooooodness and light!” She just pulls the whole thing from beginning to end up from the bottom of her heart. I bawl every single time I hear it. But somehow, like all great performances, her powerful delivery doesnt get in the way at all of the even more powerful lyrics. It just captures the inversion of the Incarnation just so perfectly. A king brought to worship a babe in a manger. The babe in the manger the Lord of the Universe come to sacrifice himself for us.

    Then Bob Seger’s Little Drummer Boy. I have always loved the song, but he just does it with a directness and a sincerity that gets the tears gushing for me. I really like how he does the last line “Then he smiled at me…” How does a crusty old rocker with a gravelly voice capture the wonder of a poor child seeing the sweet baby smile of his Lord and Savior? I don’t know but he does it. My amazement that he pulls it off is part of the pleasure, I think.

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  • Sal

    Our public elementary second grade signs and sings “Silent Night” at the Holiday concert.
    The toughest dads cry like little girls.

    One favorite not mentioned yet is “The Snow Lay on the Ground”. I like its simple folk-like quality. And it mentions St. Anne, my patroness.

    Wyoming Catholic College has an Advent/Christmas CD that they were giving out as a donation ‘thank you’ last year. It was a great mix of old, new, well-known and more obscure. Their version of ‘Silent Night’ was especially charming. I look forward to listening to it again this year.
    Might be worth checking to see if it is still available. It really was very good.

  • Texas Red

    “Let all Mortal Flesh” raises the hair on the back of my neck, in a good way. “Veni Emmanuel” if done simply is one of my favorites. I also like “The Wexford Carol,” “Riu, Riu Chiu” and “Aus Himmel Hoch.”

    My favorites to sing are “Christ Child’s Lullaby” and “Of the Matter of Bethlehem.”

    I’m afraid I’ve heard and sung too many bad versions of “O Holy Night,” ‘Silent Night,” “Away in a Manger” and “In the Bleak Midwinter.” And “Gesu Bambino” and the Bach/ Gounoud “Ave Maria.” They all can be lovely, but, well . . . let them rest for a year, please dear choir director.

  • Mary

    Joy to The World

  • http://cartagodelenda.blogspot.com Matteo

    Adeste Fidelis can be pretty amazing. Last year, two of my brothers-in-law did a duet of O Holy Night at a simple country Mass that was sublime.

    I can’t remember the name of the female artist, but on a fifteen hour drive to my in-laws last year, my wife and I heard an amazing Scots-Irish version of “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” which had a rousing military cadence, almost like an 18th century army on the march. It changed the way I think about that song! It had sort of the same feeling as the theme song used for the John Adams miniseries, but more energetic and upbeat.

    Also for Advent: The King Will Come When Morning Dawns.

  • thad

    In honor of our Bavarian Pope, how about two German classics:

    ‘O du Fröhliche’ UND
    ‘Es ist ein Ros entsprungen’.

    Nobody does Christmas like the Germans.

  • B. Durbin

    A number of years back, I wrote a Christmas song after being exposed to one too many horrendous modern pop abominations. None of the carols listed above gets played on the radio, while we get to listen to the umpteenth version of ‘let’s save Christmas’— when “saving Christmas” means getting the toys and food back from the Grinch, not keeping the celebration of the holy day.

    It was a deliberately wretched song, and I really ought to record it.

    Anyway. Point is that if the radio stations had a playlist of the songs listed above, that song would never have come into existence. Hooray for traditional carols!

    Veni, veni, Emmanuel;
    Captivum solve Israel,
    Qui gemit in exilio,
    Privatus Dei Filio.
    Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel—
    Nascetur prote Israel!

  • Chris

    Mine has to be Jose Feliciano’s version of Mary’s Little Boy Child.

  • http://fineoldfamly.blogspot.com Sally Thomas

    Didn’t link to any of mine in my earlier post; here’s Angelus Ad Virginem in a strange, spare, compelling performance (I thought!).

    Coventry Carol

    In Dulci Jubilo

    Enjoy!

  • Betty

    Lately my oldest daughter and I love “Ding Dong Merrily on High”. It is just impossible to not smile when I hear that song.

    For pure sentiment, though, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” kills me every Christmas Vigil Mass.

    Mild, he lays his glory by
    Born that man no more may die
    Born to raise the sons of earth
    Born to give them second birth.

    Dang, I’m choked up just typing it!

  • Monica

    “Silent Night’… it touches me like no other. “Oh Holy Night” is beautiful and haunting. The last is “Oh Come all Ye Faithful” just because it was my mother’s favorite.

  • Andrew B

    I have always favored the weird, old, dark carols, the ones that probably came to America in our earliest days and then vanished into the hills and hollows of Appalachia for a few centuries: I Wonder As I Wander, The Cherry Tree Carol, and, especially for anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing my wife sing it, Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head.

    Magical, a little melancholy, but moving in a deep and profound way.

  • Bernard

    I *love* Let All Mortal Flesk Keep Silence (my wife and I chose it for our wedding), but I’ve always thought about it as a Eucharistic Hymn. I understand that this is its context in the Liturgy of St James, from which it is taken. Although, yes, it works at Christmas, too.

    As for particularly Christmas hymns, I’m with Mr(s) Durbin above: Veni, Veni Emmanuel!

  • Ben Hartley

    Hoooooo…! Just ONE favorite? OK, here ’tis:

    “Minuit, Chretians!
    C’est l’heure solonelle,
    Ou l’homme Dieu descendit
    J’usqua nous….”

    [and really belt this line:]

    “Peuple, a genous!
    Attend ta delivrance!

    (In English, it’s “Oh Holy Night,” of course. And no, I will not apologize for misspellings!)

  • Elaine

    It isn’t Christmas for me without “Silent Night”… the third verse never fails to give me goose bumps. My all time favorite version is by Jim Reeves, with Andy Williams a very close second and Bing Crosby a very close third.

    Other songs that it just ain’t Christmas without are “O Holy Night,” and “Joy to the World.”

    My favorite Advent tunes are “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming” and “On Jordan’s Bank.”

    My favorite secular Christmas tunes is (believe it or not) The Royal Guardsmen’s “Snoopy’s Christmas” — I had that song on a 45 rpm record as a kid and played it to death, all year long!

  • Jan B

    O Holy Night, since I first learned it at the age of 6 or 7. I’m 58 now, and I still look towards the sky, filled with love and wonder, every time I hear it.

  • B. Durbin

    Elaine:

    Christmas bells, those Christmas bells…

    Oddly enough, that song is tied to one of the weirder good Christmases that I had. Weird because I had to work; weird because I was sick as a dog. But it was a radio station, playing nothing but Christmas music that day, and I had a window to look out on the falling snow, a mug of Theraflu, and nothing to do but push buttons and listen to Christmas music, which in the state I was in was all I wanted to do anyway. I’d actually never heard that song before, so I found I liked it.

    (Bernard; my first name is like yours, Bernadette. I don’t use it when commenting partly because I know I’m going to typo it sooner or later.)

  • http://www.reflectionsbykris.squarespace.com Kris, in New England

    Anglican Peggy – I thought about my fave from the 2nd of those recordings.

    “Noel” by Extreme. Gorgeous harmonies, beautiful message. I play it endlessly at the holiday season and beyond – I never get tired of it.


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