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In the bleak Midwinter...

I can't say that Christmas is my favorite time of year, I find things to love in all seasons.
But I have to admit I like it when I can start playing Christmas music without feeling like a doof.

I love the variety of Christmas music that is out there, Carols and hymns and pop tunes and Broadway show-stoppers and ancient melodies on harps and pipes.

It's sad that all you hear on the Radio anymore is Sleighride and It's-Christmas-eve-my baby-left-life-sucks songs.

I have quite a collection. And enjoy adding to it.

What are your favorite seasonal songs?



( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
My favorite Christmas song is probably O Holy Night. But I also like

It came upon a midnight clear
I saw three ships
Carol of the bells
Silent Night
Adeste Fidelis
Angels we have heard on high

actually, I like most of the traditional carols. *grin*

My favorite Christmas CD is this one:

Frosty the Snowman
Nov. 29th, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
I'm a big fan of Little Drummer Boy
Nov. 29th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
I like the "Catmas Carols," especially "We Three Cats" and "Oh Hold Me Right."
Nov. 29th, 2006 07:31 pm (UTC)
Actually, In the Bleak Midwinter has recently become one of my favorites. I hadn't heard it until a couple years back when Peter bought the Crash Test Dummies Christmas CD (very good, once you get past the first song). I tend to like the more traditional, religious songs.
Nov. 29th, 2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
The season doesn't begin for me till I hear the Bing Crosby version of "White Christmas" on the radio, its a weird thing.

Any of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra holiday songs.

Mel Torme singing "The Christmas Song"

"We Wish You A Merry Christmas"

"Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

The other day, Diana and I were driving, listen to the "ALL XMAS ALL THE TIME" Station and we were noting just how many "Holiday Classic" songs are actually holiday songs. "Winter Wonderland", "Most Wonderful Time of The Year", "Jingle Bells", "Frosty the Snowman".
Nov. 29th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC)
The one that gets me most is "Angels We Have Heard On High". It's gotta have that full chorus, though, and by that I don't mean vocal -- it can be an instrumental version -- but the soaring, powerful chord changes leading up to "Gloria".

(Which immediately makes me think of P.D.Q.'s Angus Dei: "Gloria... I just met a girl named Gloria....")

I like a lot of Christmas carols as well, although Bruce Springsteen's cover of the Jackson 5 arrangement of "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" is probably my fave. "White Christmas", "Deck The Halls", "We Three Kings", "Jingle Bells", "O Tannenbaum". Not "The Little Drummer Boy".

"Santa Baby". "Christmas At Ground Zero". "You're A Mean One, Mister Grinch". "Snoopy's Christmas". "Thank You Very Much" and the hand-bell chorale from Scrooge. "A Patrick Swayze Christmas", "Whispering Christmas Warrior", and "Merry Christmas If That's Okay" from MST3K.
Nov. 29th, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
Favorites? the ones in _my_ Christmas album collection :)
Bing Crosby's White Christmas
Nat King Cole
Burl Ives
Rudolph, Frosty & Friends (sonds from the Rankin-Bass specials)
Christmas with Coniff
Jimmy Buffett's Christmas Island
Mickey's 12 Days of Christmas
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Anything from Cinnamon Bear :)
Nov. 29th, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)

Most of the classics can make me cry if arranged at all properly (i.e., lots of brass and bells), but my favorite is Hark the Herald Angels Sing for the association with Charles Schulz and for the sheer unabashed joy. Honorable mention to Guaraldi's recording of Oh Tannenbaum. Damn, I'm tearing up right now.

Nov. 29th, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC)
It's not hard for me to say that Christmas is my least favorite time of year. The reasons are so many and complex that I could fill a book with them, but much of it boils down to the way everyone I know is so busy doing Christmas things that I don't get into that nobody has any time for anything else, including me or anything I like to do. I think this spills over into an irrational bias against Christmas music. Even though there are a lot of Christmas songs I like, I have this notion each one of them is a rare oddity; because I "know" I don't like Christmas music, I avoid buying Christmas albums from groups I otherwise like.

I guess my two favorite traditional carols are Good King Wencaslaus and We Three Kings. And I'm sure there are several obscure Christmas songs I've heard that I should be recommending, but they've plumb evaded me.
Nov. 29th, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)
it isn't the Holiday season until I hear Handel's Messiah, I also really like Benjamin Brittan's "Ceremony of Carols"

I also like "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" "I Saw Three Ships on Christmas Day"

I sang in a choir in High School, one that was an accapella chorus. (it was where I met Todd) And we sang a number of Christmas Carols. We also went out caroling in four part harmony. I miss that.

Nov. 29th, 2006 08:08 pm (UTC)
"Once in Royal David's City" always makes me cry.

I love singing "Adeste Fideles".

"In the Bleak Midwinter" is good. I like "The Snow Lay on the Ground". "Adam Lay Y-Bounden" is an old favorite from Lessons and Carols.

"I Saw Three Ships" because my mother used to sing it.

The whole jingle-frosty-shopping-snow thing leaves me dead cold. "I'll be Home for Christmas" is one of the most depressing songs I know, and Rudolph makes me want to throw things because I don't think St. Nick would permit that kind of cruelty.

Blessed Advent to you and yours!
Nov. 29th, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
"I'll be Home for Christmas" is -supposed- to be depressing. It's a wartime song, by a soldier who is most certainly -not- going to be home for Christmas.

My current favorite songs are "Gabriel's Message" (which isn't really a -Christmas- song, but it's the only time I hear it), "I Wonder as I Wander" (again, not really Christmas), and "Still, Still, Still". John Rutter wrote a beautiful song called "A Shepherd's Pipe Carol", which is a 'dancing' carol (as is "Il est Ne", although it's rarely done that way) and "My Dancing Day".

Lexi and I can reliably get Tom to run screaming out of the room if we start singing "I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas".

Nov. 29th, 2006 10:12 pm (UTC)
""I'll be Home for Christmas" is -supposed- to be depressing. It's a wartime song, by a soldier who is most certainly -not- going to be home for Christmas." You know that, and I know that, but I have the impression that a lot of people don't listen to the words beyond the title . . .

For all that, The Messiah isn't just a Christmas piece, either, but one hears it most at Christmas and I love it dearly.
Nov. 29th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
A blast from the past
I made the mistake(?) of mentioning, "All I want for Christmas is my 2 Front Teeth" to my 5-yo with her first loose tooth. You'd think by now I'd have learned never to mention any song, no matter HOW good, if I didn't know all the lyrics.

At one point I had a really beautiful & challenging piano arrangement of "O Come, All Ye Faithful".

I've always been really impressed by someone who can sing "O Holy Night"

"Silent Night" is the epitomy of Christmas eve. (Written to be gorgeous on solo guitar).

(Never ask my favorite song -- it's like asking about my favorite kid, except that for kids I can legitimately stop at the top two).
Nov. 29th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
Some of my favorite Christmas songs to do with school choirs include:

Carol of The Bells
The Huron Carol
Feliz Navidad
The Friendly Beasts
Do You See What I See?
When A Child Is Born
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Good News/Go Tell It On The Mountain

Others I really like:

The Coventry Carol
The Holly and The Ivy
What Child Is This?
Wassail Song
War Is Over (If You Want It) by John Lennon
Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy sung by David Bowie and Bing Crosby
Nov. 29th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
Obviously, I'm pretty much Not The Audience, but while I didn't used to have a favorite, I do now. It's "The Christians and the Pagans" by Dar Williams.
Nov. 29th, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
I love carols and wish I had more opportunities to sing them. I got mostly put off going to church to get a carol fix after the time I did that and the priest of whatever stripe he was decided to give his sermon as a lecture on how awful it was to only come to church for Christmas. Well, yes, really winning yourself a congregation there then. Spread the love. Anyway - carols, but preferably sung by ordinary mortals so I can hear the lyrics and join in (carols as sung by impressive choirs are all very well but I usually can't make out the words and they're being clever singing it in 4 part harmony which only makes it worse).

I adore Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. I'm moderately fond of Percy the Puny Poinsetia too, which was on the B side of the tape single I bought of the former. I got Gwen to singe Grandma with me at a party 2 years ago and it was great.

Awful pop song christmas album songs. Even Last Christmas. I like wandering through shops singing along (so long as it's actually the right season - I can cope now but I'd rather it was actually December, and I strongly disapprove in October. I'm opinionated, me).

I think it boils down to liking songs I can sing along to. I use carols as lullabys too, because they're often nice quite tunes that I know well enough to sing several verses of them to a sleepy baby.
Nov. 29th, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
I actually did a Top 10 Christmas CDs Countdown in ContraPositive Diary starting on December 14, 2003 and counting down to Christmas Eve. This was long before I was mirroring Contra on LJ, so you have to go to my own archives to see it:


I've always liked Carol of the Bells, and discovered a few good recordings of In the Bleak Midwinter a year or so ago, most recently by First Call. The melody (Cranham, by Gustav Holst) still gives me chills, and I would have liked it years ago except that my only recordings were by people with weak or outright bad voices.
Nov. 29th, 2006 09:18 pm (UTC)
God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings - BNL and Sarah McLachan
Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
Wonderful Christmastime - McCartney
Father Christmas - Kinks
Santa Clause Is Coming To Town - Springsteen

Do You Hear What I Hear - ever since we sang it in fourth grade choir
Carol of the Bells - always sounds vaguely creepy to me, especially the instrumental version (but for me, that's a *good* thing!)
Silver Bells - always reminds me of my Mom
Anything not currently being used in a TV advertisement
Nov. 30th, 2006 02:44 am (UTC)
Oh, and how could I forget Chiron Beta Prime? I've been a Jonathan Coulton addict lately...
Nov. 30th, 2006 01:08 am (UTC)
I can't say I've got one favorite, but there is definitely an UN-favorite:

The Elvis Presley recording of "I'll Have a Blue Christmas Without You".

I actually *like* the song...sung by anyone else.

But his backup group's "oo-doo-de-doo-doo" makes me TOTALLY GAG.
Nov. 30th, 2006 03:58 am (UTC)
Christmas At Ground Zero - Weird Al (no really, it's got that great Spector-ish production and everything)

Ok ... fine ... serious answer ... White Christmas ... it makes me get all silly ... ok ... fine ... I'm a softie ... like you didn't know already
Nov. 30th, 2006 05:56 am (UTC)
... vegetables are always fresh.

"Good King Winter Brussel Sprouts are always crisp and even."

Dec. 9th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
Carol of the Bells

Caroling, Caroling

And a magnificent choral extravaganza that happens at Fountain Street Church on the fourth Sunday of Advent called "Sing O Heavens" (which a cursory Google search is not helping me identify in more detail, although I'm getting completely different pieces with the same title). It involves the combined choirs AND the organ AND the piano, and has a wonderful anticipatory swell at whose climax the whole congregation of 1400 people stand and start singing "O Come All Ye Faithful."

As Marc Cohn put it, "she said, tell me, are you a Christian child? I said, Ma'am, I am tonight!"
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )