The Best of DS: Let’s Have a Frank Discussion About…the Perfect Christmas Song

Happy Christmas time, Samplers! In the days leading up to 2016, I’ll be sharing some oldies, but goodies to get us all in the spirit. Plus, you’ll remember me again and how I used to be a super dedicated and sassy blogger lady. And we’ll build our relationship from there. It’s fitting that my domain name renewal comes each year on 12/31. Keeps me on my toes. And now, please enjoy The Best of DS.

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I was going to title this, “What Makes the Perfect Holiday Song,” but then I remembered that’s stupid. Are there other holiday songs that aren’t Christmas songs (besides the ‘The Hanukah Song’?) Someone look into this and get back to me.
Now that it’s officially December, we are allowed to freely partake in Christmas music without guilt. I am probably one of the few strong ones left out there who avoided it until the official start of Christmas, which of course is when Santa Claus makes his way down 34th Street in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade- duh.

Anyways, to me, along with the decorating, Christmas cards, shopping, classic movies, baking, and holiday get-togethers, Christmas music is the heart of everything, setting the perfect mood for all of the aforementioned activities. Without Christmas music, December is just the first of many cold months ahead.

I’ve been long known as the girl who crafts the perfect Christmas mix for friends and family (whether they want it or not,) and now I will share with you some of what I believe makes a good and a BAD Christmas song. You will not agree with my entire list, but I’m the expert here. We all have our strengths. Yours might be crafts or foosball. Mine is Christmas music.

Odd Artists

One thing I love about Christmas music is that you can get away with listening to weirrrrrrd artist choices without feeling embarrassed. I mean, stuff you’d never be caught dead listening to the rest of the year. Example: two of my favorite Christmas CDs that hail from my childhood are Amy Grant’s ‘Home For Christmas’ album- the one from 1992 ONLY, and Lee Greenwood’s ‘Christmas to Christmas’ from 1989. I lied a little, because writing that was embarrassing, but it’s true. I have no idea how they made it into my home in the early 90’s, but I’m glad they did. Other “odd” favorites might include my penchant for the 98 Degrees’ ‘This Christmas,’ album, N’Sync’s single ‘Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays’ (I know I’m not alone on this one,) The Beach Boys’ ‘Little St. Nick’ and others. You get the idea.

This is the only safe Amy Grant album. Do NOT try her later Christmas albums, they all suck. Trust me.
This is the only safe Amy Grant album. Do NOT try her later Christmas albums, they all suck. Trust me.
Old Stuff that Sucks

I’m going to catch a LOT of flack for these, but I don’t care. They should be eliminated- plain and simple. They are overdone, and I never want to hear them again. Some of these Christmas songs include, anything by Anne Murray, Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ -and ALL other versions, anything Christmas-y by Elvis, and Johnny Mathis. I’m sorry Dad. I just can’t with the Johnny Mathis anymore.

New Stuff that Sucks

One of the worst songs I’ve ever, ever heard is the ‘Christmas Shoes’ song, by the same guy who wrote the God-awful ‘Butterfly Kisses’ song. Make it stop. Anything by Gloria Estefan that is labeled “Christmas” is not good. Nothing against Gloria, I just think it sounds like garbage. I always change the station when it comes on. Jessica Simpson recently put out one of the worst sounding noises I’ve heard and called is music. I know I’m being harsh- but please listen to her “breathy” renditions of ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ which I’ve already heard about 5 times this season, and tell me you don’t want to throw your shoe at her. I’ve also never been a fan of too-R&B sounding Christmas music. The reason is simple and it actually applies to almost all of the “stuff that sucks” category. It’s because no one wants to hear unique arrangements of the familiar songs they love. They want to be able to sing along and not sound all that bad. Christmas music was designed for the masses to be able to sing along to. And, bless your soul Whitney, it’s just too hard to keep up.

New Stuff that’s Worthy

Not all new stuff is bad. When I say new, I mean anything that’s come out in the last 10-ish years. For a while I liked ‘Where Are You, Christmas?’ by Faith Hill, but I’ve since gotten over it. From some of my mid-2000’s mixes, I really appreciated Maroon 5’s haunting ‘So This is Christmas (War is Over)”, the ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ duet between Sarah McLachlan and The Barenaked Ladies, Jewel’s first Christmas album ONLY (‘Joy: A Holiday Collection’), Kelly Clarkson’s a cappella version of ‘Oh Holy Night,’ John Mellencamp’s honky ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,’ ‘Winter Wonderland’ by Phantom Planet, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ by Coldplay, and the entire Relient K holiday album. I have no idea who Relient K is, they may be some whack religious band for all I know, but their Christmas stuff is great and upbeat. See? It’s all about the classic songs done right by modern artists. There’s a formula, guys.

The Instrumentals

Nothing gets me more pumped for life than the Boston Pops’ ‘Christmas Medley.’ It has a little of everything. You won’t regret it. There’s also something to be said for any jazz version of any Christmas song, for instance- ‘Carol of the Bells’ is always good, and a sprinkle of Kenny G never hurt anyone, in December ONLY. You may notice a lot of “ONLY” within this post. The rules of Christmas music are very specific, and you can easily be led astray if you’re not careful.

The Classics

There are some Christmas songs and albums that will forever hold that “this is Christmas” feeling. They feel so good, so comforting, and so classic that they will never get old. I love that no matter what age you are, no matter if you’re black or white, no matter if it’s 1965 or 2027… these are the songs everyone can usually agree on, enjoy, and be immediately transported to that beautiful, sparkling, cozy, even romantic ideal of what the holidays are supposed to be like. It’s nostalgia at its finest. Thank you to Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, the Jackson 5 for providing this feeling every year. Also to the guy who sings the original ‘Feliz Navidad’, that crazy cheesy Steve and Eydie ‘Holiday Feeling’ song, the live recording of ‘Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town’ by the Boss, and ‘Happy Holidays’ by Andy Williams.

It’s the holiday season… so whoop de dooo……

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5 thoughts on “The Best of DS: Let’s Have a Frank Discussion About…the Perfect Christmas Song

  1. V 8 Mile says:

    Personal favorites: the theme from A Charlie Brown Christmas; John Lennon’s Happy Xmas; Tchaikovsky’s the Nutcracker Suite, and a second vote for the lovely Choral of the Bells. Great list of songs!

    A downvote: Santa Baby, any version. Bleah.

    1. The Daily Sampler says:

      Those are all excellent! I’ve been kicking myself all day for forgetting things. I also enjoy all the Harry Connick Jr. selections. I could go on for a while, really.

      Santa Baby is a weak song if you’re not giving someone a Christmas lap dance.

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