Christmas is coming, which means it's time for holiday get-togethers filled with Christmas cookies, laughter and some spiked eggnog. If you're planning on hosting a party this year, you will also need the quintessential Christmas songs playlist.
No need to panic, Bed-Stuy Patch has assembled an unscientific list of the Top-10 Christmas songs that will definitely put everyone in the spirit of this holiday (from 10 to 1, with 1 being the highest).
There’s a mixture of soul, classical and even blues tunes in there to meet the musical tastes of anybody. You may not agree with the entirety of this list, but I guarantee there will be at 2-3 in there that bring back some of your best childhood memories of Christmas.
10. It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas, Perry Como— Does this, or does this not remind you of shopping in a department store during Christmas? You remember those days, making your way inside of Macy’s from a fresh blizzard only to meet another blizzard of people inside the store doing their last minute shopping. No matter your background, Perry Como’s voice on this song truly is quintessential Christmas.
9. Handel’s Messiah, Robert Shaw, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir— The lush blend of melodies on this song are enough to give you chills. The repetitive chorus of “Hallelujah” (Praise God!) is so infectious, so familiar and so rousing, it reminds you of the true point of Christmas.
8. Let it Snow, Boys II Men— Ah, the 90s, the 90s, the 90s… Boys II Men hit a high note when someone convinced them to do an entire Christmas album. This song became an instant hit! Not only did it make snow seem sexy, it inspired you to whip up some hot chocolate, grab a warm blanket and settle in close with your boo.
7. Christmas Time is Here, Vince Guaraldi Trio— I dare you to say you did not watch “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” every single December as a child? Remember how everyone made fun of his reject tree? But Charlie Brown loved that tree, nonetheless. This theme song, played beautifully by a single piano and one drum, always brought you back to the original feeling of love, closeness and the importance of caring for all living things, whether society rejects it or not.
6. All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey— I know, Mariah Carey always somehow emerges as the woman you love to hate, and hate to love. But guess what? Since its release in the early 90s, her Christmas album remains one of the biggest-selling Christmas compilations of all time. And this song is one of the most popular off of that album. So don’t hate; appreciate. You know this song has become an irrevocable part of Christmas.
5. I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, The Jackson Five— This has got to be one of radio’s favorite fun tunes for Christmas. I don’t recall a single Christmas when this song wasn’t played ad nauseum. Yet every time, you managed to smile from ear to ear! R.I.P. Michael, you gave us countless gems, and this is certainly one of them!
4. Silver Bells, Johnny Mathis with Percy Faith— Johnny Mathis’s Christmas album is another true gem. Now I admit, I was grappling with whether to choose this version or the one sung by Bing Crosby, which is also an indisputable classic. Really it’s a toss up. But in the end, I tend to err on the side of soul.
3. The Nutcracker Suite: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky— Really, this entire album deserves the number-three spot in my mind. My favorite on this album is actually the Pas de Deux. But I chose this song because it truly has become the definition of Christmas music for me… You never really slept on Christmas Eve… you just sort of tiptoed through an artificial dream state. And “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” defines that delicate and excitable moment.
2. This Christmas, Donny Hathaway— This song is number-two because of what this song does. You hear it at every party, on every radio station and in every mall during this holiday. I even heard this song playing in an outdoor courtyard in Italy one year while I was vacationing during Christmas. Point being, no matter your age, background, culture or financial status – you can have lint in your pockets and nan pot to piss in – but “This Christmas” still will guarantee to put you in the happiest of Christmas moods!
1. The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole— All I can say is, “Thank you, thank you, thank you Nat King Cole” for making this Christmas album! This album is the classic of all classics, and I just might have to cut someone who tries to disagree. From the very intro with the violin on this song, before Nat even utters the first words, the feeling of Christmas has entirely filled/consumed the air. Most of us have never even had a chestnut roasted on an open fire. But you know it must taste good, simply because Nat said so!
White Christmas, Otis Redding— You probably have not even heard this version of “White Christmas.” If not, get ready to jettison any old versions of this song you’ve heard before. This version will tug on your heartstrings. Nobody does it like Otis.