I’ve covered the songs that make me feel as if I’ve been force-fed fruitcake; now for the ones that bring me joy and merriment. My favorite Christmas songs are the ones that make me feel a quiet inner peace or bring back fond memories of Christmases when I was young and didn’t worry about what to buy whom, felt those butterflies in my tummy and struggled to sleep on Christmas Eve. These are those songs.
Anything by Mitch Miller. Back before light-rock stations made the deal with every retailer everywhere and started playing Christmas music non-stop in November our family had a cassette tape of Mitch Miller’s holiday sing-a-long. It had the religious stand bys and the secular “Must Be Santa” type songs. Years ago after the cassette tape could be pencil repaired no more my dad gave me the CD for Christmas. It still gives me the bubbly, joyous I’m 7 and this is fantastic feeling.
Christmas Time Is Here-The Peanuts Gang. It’s slow, almost melancholy and it always gives me the visual of them singing in Charlie Browns Christmas when they all pause for breath at the same time. It’s a total tree lights on, wrapping presents, quiet moment song.
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town-Bruce Springsteen. The opening banter about the wind whipping down the boardwalk puts me in the back seat of the Chevy Cavalier leaving the Princeton Airport after seeing Santa (who also happened to be my Jewish uncle) arrive by plane on Christmas Eve. The butterflies in my tummy anticipating the rest of the day and the next morning, watching Gary play with the Ernie doll he just received; all was well with the world. And it is again each time I hear this song.
Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree-Brenda Lee. Always been a favorite and was kicked up a notch with the scene from Home Alone in which young Kevin foils the burglars with his fake Christmas party. That kid was a genius.
Angels Among Us-Alabama. This one is not just a holiday song but this is the only time of year you hear it. The band’s hair makes me not want to like it but the message is there. I find it inspiring; not only that there are angels among us but to be an angel to someone in need in some small way.
Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer-Elmo and Patsy. This one is actually pretty crappy as far as its musical merits but it’s another that puts me in different time and place. When you’re little this song is pretty darn cool and I remember listening to it on the little table top Juke Boxes at Jim’s Diner. I crave a good pork-roll, egg and cheese on a hard roll whenever I hear it.
The Seasons Upon Us-Dropkick Murphys. This is a new one that’s growing on me. With the lively beat of an Irish reel I can’t help but tap my toes and I love the sentiment. It’s the Yankee equivalent of “Merry Christmas from the Family” done by Montgomery Gentry or the Dixie Chicks.
All Things Bing Crosby (with the exception of “Christmas in Killarney” and “Mele Kalikimaka”). I had wonderful grandparents but if I could have hand-picked them I would have had a Grandpop Bing. It’s possible that Bing is my search engine of choice for this reason. Yahoo! Google…eh..Bing; now that’s a name I trust for guidance. His voice just sounds like Christmas.