The brightest Christmas music emphasizes feelings of joy, fun, anticipation, reverence, and sentimentality. Seeing as how there is a vast array of favorites to choose from, it is unlikely any of us would ever choose very many of the same songs in a list of our top 18 that brings out the most inspired Christmas within our hearts.
In 2005, Martha Stewart came out with a CD that showcased her traditional music choices for a most festive and satisfying Christmas. Her selections were thoughtful and very well chosen. This singular examiner found herself actually being able to agree with a whopping six choices on the disc which would also be included in her own personal Christmas CD of 18 most representative tracks.
See what you think and what you would come up with in your own short list of 18.
These are the six on her CD that I would also include in my list:
- Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
- Feliz Navidad - José Feliciano
- The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
- Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth - Bing Crosby/David Bowie
- (OR, for this examiner, Little Drummer Boy by Lou Rawls)
- Sleigh Ride - Johnny Mathis (runner up: Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson)
- It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams
Following are her other twelve choices with my own replacements and comments.
- White Christmas - Frank Sinatra
- Much prefer Bing Crosby. Sinatra's image and Christmas just don't mix, at least not in this examiner's opinion. He did have a cheerful song made with his family; i.e., Twelve Days of Christmas, which I wouldn't want to listen to more than once or twice a year. Overall though for my seventh selection, I'd go with Bing Crosby's version of Do You Hear What I Hear.
- Silver Bells - Martina McBride
- Nice, but would rather listen to the rendition by Doris Day
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - James Taylor
- Is she kidding? Judy Garland sings that song.
- Blue Christmas - Elvis.
- This examiner doesn't like Blue Christmas very much by anybody. Would replace it with the much chirpier Here Comes Santa Claus by Elvis.
- Silent Night - Mariah Carey
- Would select Carol of the Bells by Mannheim Steamroller
- What are you Doing New Year's Eve - Barry Manilow
- Dump that. Anything sung by Barry Manilow, I'd rather hear sung by Englebert Humperdinck; but for this track, I'd put in a whimsical version of Jingle Bells by Barbra Streisand.
- Winter Wonderland - Aretha Franklin
- Speaking of Englebert Humperdinck, his dreamy version of Winter Wonderland is special, but would instead go for Eartha Kitt's most delightful Santa Baby.
- This is Christmas - Luther Vandross
- Take that out and put in Mahalia Jackson's Go Tell it on the Mountain.
- The First Noel - Chris Botti
- Would replace The First Noel with arguably the most beautiful Christmas carol ever written; namely, O Holy Night. It is done so well by Josh Groban, Celine Dion, Placido Damingo, Pavarotti, Il Divo, Celtic Women, Sarah Brightman, and many others; but my own favorite version is by John Berry.
- Baby, It's Cold Outside - Rod Stewart/Dolly Parton
- Cute, but not as great as Dean Martin's version. However, I'd probably select Marshmallow World by Dino as my 16th song.
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Willie Nelson
- No Willie Nelson. Replace with Steve and Eydie.
- My Favorite Things - Tony Bennett
- Great song and would likely rate as my 19th pick. For no. 18, though, I'd give the nod to Perry Como's No Place like Home for the Holidays.
Well, how did I do? Did I even come close to your own list? In any case, I truly hope your season is filled with memorable laughter, love, and lots of joyous music. Merry Christmas!