With the holidays right around the corner, it's time to take out the Christmas CDs and pour the wassail. In the last decade I have amassed quite a collection of songs, and so that you know what sort of girl is making these recommendations: my ipod playlist includes everything from Mendel's Messiah to Brenda Lee to Destiny's Child. I love "Joy to the World" and "Jinglebell Rock" just as much as the next person, but these popular favorites can be heard everywhere.
Here is a list of ten Christmas gems that deserve to be as popular as "All I Want For Christmas Is You."
10. "Christmas Wrapping" by Waitresses. A modern day Christmas fairy tale unfolds in the lyrics and will have you going to the store for cranberry sauce.
9. "Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer" by Jewel. Jewel and her mother sing about Rudolph an a capella duet. It is a fun spin on a classic song, and I can't help but smile with the last "bawm."
8. "Christmas Alphabet" by Dickie Valentine. Long before Fergie felt the need to sing-spell her favorite words to us, Mr. Valentine spelled out Christmas in this swanky-schmoozy, catchy song.
7. "Winter Wonderland" by Harry Connick, Jr. I first heard Connick Jr.'s jazzy piano version of the song in When Harry Met Sally. Have loved it ever since.
6. "It's a Marshmallow World" by Vic Damone. This is a light, breezy song about the fun of snow. And let's face it, what can be bad about associating snow with sugar!
5. "Peace on Earth" by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. At the height of his glam-rock popularity, Bowie teamed up with '40s crooner Crosby for what is simply the most beautiful duet. Past and present, new and old, traditional and modern--whatever metaphor you like--in perfect harmony.
4. "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" by Sixpence None the Richer. This is a folksy descant to the classic carol that I can listen to over and over.
3. "White Christmas" by the Drifters. A doo-woppy fun variation of a classic Christmas song.
2. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" by The Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan. Channeling Peter, Paul, and Mary, the three deliver the perfect antidote to hearing "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" one too many times.
1. "The Christmas Song" by the Raveonettes. My new favorite. The only thing this song has in common with Nat King Cole's is the title. The '80s punk sound and lyrics are all their own.
Sarah Bareilles' "Winter Song" is a new release. A haunting, melancholoy song. Perfect for winter, or the Christmas blues.
Aled Jones' "Walking in the Air." I found this traditional song when I was living abroad. I'm a sucker for a song in a minor key.
Ella Fitzgerald's "Santa Clause Got Stuck in My Chimney." Beware: this one will stick in your head too! I have often wondered if this song inspired the beginning of Gremlins, but now that I've typed out the title, I realize it has all sorts of implications. lol.