It's Christmas Eve, and while stockings are hung by the chimney with care, families attend church services, St. Nick loads-up his sleigh in the North Pole somewhere, some of us are getting in the mood by listening to Christmas music. Here are are a few of my favorite holiday songs...
All I Want For Christmas Is You, by Mariah Carey
Probably my favorite of the modern holiday tunes, Mariah's song is well-structured, well-sung and, perhaps most importantly, over-the-top and sentimental.
Christmas Conga, by Cyndi Lauper
Another more modern favorite. The Time After Time singer scored a win with this happy, dancey ditty. I still remember the conga lines on the floor of C-Street dance bar back in the day when this played.
Christmastime Is Here, by Vince Guaraldi Trio
This instrumental cut from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special is a classic. Nice and mellow.
The Christmas Song, by Nat King Cole
From the opening chords of this classic, we're transported to a nostalgic Christmas that likely never existed, except in our hearts, but Nat King Cole makes it sound so comfortable and believable.
Christmas Tree, by Lady Gaga and Space Cowboy
This is a nice and naughty, clubby holiday track. A lot of fun.
Christmas Wrapping, by The Waitresses
This early '80s gem tells a nice story of a woman and her crush, who unexpectedly meet cute at Christmas. A fun little ditty.
It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas, by Pet Shop Boys
Realizing a sentiment that so many share -- that it should snow at Christmas -- sees the Pet Shop Boys invoking holiday traditions, and even Bing Crosby!
It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas, by Perry Como
Nothing sounds like Christmas more than this standard, sung with Perry Como's smooth vocals.
Last Christmas, by Wham!
Love and heartbreak at Christmas? Sure, ok.
Little Drummer Boy, by David Bowie & Bing Crosby
Young and old come together for this awkward, yet endearing modern(ish) version of the Christmas classic.
Marshmallow World, by Dean Martin
You can envision Deano with glass of bourbon in-hand as he sings this jaunty little tune.
Mistletoe and Holly, by Frank Sinatra
Oh by gosh, by golly, it's time for the Chairman of the Board to lend his vocals to a song that has Christmas written all over it.
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, by Brenda Lee
Put some soft rock & roll together with Christmas trappings and Brenda Lee, and a classic is born.
Santa Baby, by Eartha Kitt
Can Christmas be innocently sexy? Earth Kitt finds a way to make it so.
A Seated Night, by Moby
It's like the electronic guru decided to imagine sitting in a church pew on Christmas Eve, listening to the choir singing, and put his own spin on it. Lovely, and strangely reverent.
Silent Night, Holy Night, by Burl Ives
Mr. Holly Jolly Christmas, himself, sings the definitive version of this classic. The slow-build, with his crisp, crackling voice rising over the chorus and music gives me chills. NOTE: It has to be this version. Ives also recorded just a regular version, titled Silent Night, but this longer version (both in length and title) is the one to listen to.
Take Me Away, by Nellie McKay
I usually don't like negative Christmas songs, wherein they point out the crass, commercialization of the holiday, but this one somehow happens to be cute and joyous enough to be palatable. And Nellie's impression of Rudolph is hilarious.
The Twelve Days of Christmas, by Harry Belafonte
I've always been somewhat annoyed by this song, yet it's an undeniable classic, and Mr. Belafonte's singing and the orchestration make it lushly bearable.
We Need a Little Christmas, by Johnny Mathis
Honestly, half the songs on this list could be Johnny Mathis versions of Christmas classics, but this is one of my favorites. Fast and joyous.
Wonderful Christmastime, by Paul McCartney
You've got a former Beatle, some cheesy '80s synths, and silly happiness galore. What's not to like?
And, those are my top 20 favorite Christmas songs. There are plenty of good ones that didn't make the cut, and no doubt you have your preferred ones to listen to at this time of year.
Now, it's time to tuck-in to bed and get ready for Santa. Don't forget to leave out a plate of cookies!