Best Versions of Christmas Songs (My Ultimate Holiday Playlist)...

I really enjoyed making a list of my favorite Christmas movies and all the feedback that accompanied it (who know people felt so strongly about A Christmas Story?), so I thought I'd do something similar with Christmas music.

I think it's pretty obvious that there aren't that many Christmas songs out there... just about a gazillion versions of them/artists who perform them. In fact, every Christmas I find myself asking, "How on earth did this person make it on the radio??" Anyway, these are what I consider the best versions of these songs. Feel free to chime in!

1. Angels We Have Heard on High- by Josh Groban and Brian McKnight- I fell in love with this the first time I heard it and have adored hearing it every year since. For two very different artists, this is a superb blend of vocals and it is such a cool arrangement. Actually, I would highly recommend Josh Groban's Christmas album, Noel. Every song is great!

2. Feliz Navidad- by Celine Dion (and her family!)- this is such a fun version of this song... Celine Dion's whole family joins in and it's like listening to a big party!

3. All I Want for Christmas Is You- Michael Buble- I must confess, I do, uh, tap my foot rapidly when I hear the Mariah Carey version of this, but Michael's smooth, mellow arrangement is just pure listening gold. Again, I would recommend the entire album, since it is absolutely wonderful.

4. White Christmas- Bing Crosby- probably the most classic/famous Christmas song of all time. I wonder if Irving Berlin knew what a gem he had when he wrote it? And who doesn't love Bing? Of all his performances of the song, I think my favorite is still in the beginning of White Christmas when he sings it to the soldiers; it just makes me happy.

5. I'll Be Home for Christmas- Rascal Flatts- sweet acapella arrangement and they have such tight harmony.

6. The Christmas Song- Nat King Cole- this is one of those songs that comes on the radio and makes you think, "Now it's Christmas." Although when I was little I thought it said, "And so I'm offering this simple phrase to KISS from one to ninety-two" and it grossed me out that someone would kiss 92 times. Haha.

7. Santa Clause is Coming to Town- Carpenters- Both Carpenters Christmas albums, Christmas Portrait and An Old-Fashioned Christmas, are my absolute favorite holiday music, but this is my very favorite song on them (along with Merry Christmas Darling.) The saxophone solo in the middle is simply magical, and Karen Carpenter is pretty much my singing idol. That looow, low alto... oh, to have her voice!

8. Holly Jolly Christmas/Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer- Burl Ives- I'm pretty sure Burl Ives's voice is the definition of jolly. If silly songs are necessary at Christmas (and apparently they are), these are the versions I prefer to hear.

9. My Grown-Up Christmas List- Kelly Clarkson- good song, GREAT voice. She is crazy talented and I really love this one.

10. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas- Kenny G- This plays during a scene on Miracle on 34th Street that I love. Saxophones are amazing, and who is better than Kenny G? Nobody, that's who.

I know that this list is not even close to extensive and that there are many more beloved Christmas songs out there... these are just some of my favorite versions. What are yours? Any that you just can't stand? (I'm not a fan of that hippopotamus song, for example.) Do tell! Happy listening/singing along/caroling! (Fa-la-la and all that!)



  1. I just cheated on my waiting til next Sunday to listen to the Michael Buble version of All I Want For Christmas is You. I'm enjoying it, but I think the Love Actually fan in me still prefers Mariah Carey :)

    Bah! Now I can't seem to stop listening to your picks!

  2. The beauty of the post is that most of these are on "special" on itunes right now. If you don't have them (I had all but 1. . .but I have it now!) you can pick them up for a song (ha!).

  3. Oh, and by the way, I have a "Dash of Ash" Christmas playlist on Spotify now. . . ;)


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