Top 10 Best Holiday Songs

by Kimberly on December 17, 2009 · 11 comments

I love this time of year. The caroling, the lights, the gifts, the tree. It all makes me smile.

It probably won’t surprise you that my absolute favorite part about this time of year is the music. I LOVE listening to and singing Christmas songs this time of year.


For the majority of the year, if you ask me to name my favorite pieces of music, I’d be hard-pressed to name just a few. But it’s different with Christmas music. I have my favorites. Some I enjoy listening to and others I enjoy singing.

My Top 10 Holiday Songs include:

  1. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire). I don’t really know why, but this is my absolute favorite Christmas song. Hands down. I sing it every year.
  2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. This is my #2 favorite Christmas song. You can’t beat Judy Garland’s version in “Meet Me In St. Louis“–it’s a classic. I’ve always preferred the original words, too, that go “…until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow” (rather than “…hang a shining star upon the highest bough”). Did you know the words were different?
  3. Silent Night. I love it’s simplicity. I love it’s beauty. I love harmonizing to the melody–takes me back to my high school alto days!
  4. The Hippopotamus Song. I heard this song for the first time last year. I don’t know how well-known it is, but I was hooked! It’s an oldie, but I love campy, make-you-smile kinds of songs like this one. My favorite line? “Mom says the hippo would be me up, but then/Teacher says a hippo is a vegetarian”
  5. Santa Baby. It’s on my “bucket list” to sing this in front of an audience one day, Eartha Kitt-style.
  6. The Chanukah Song. Ahhhh, Adam Sandler. This song makes me laugh every single time.
  7. Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Like with Santa Baby, it’s on my “bucket list” to sing this duet one day. Love it.
  8. 12 Days. Have you heard of Straight No Chaser? They are an awesome all-male a cappella group, originally from the Indiana. They are a tight group and a hoot to watch. There’s another song they have you may have heard on the radio, called “The Christmas Can-Can.” Hysterical! They actually came out with a CD just this year: Christmas Cheers. Click that link if you’re interested in checking it out!
  9. The First Noel. This is another classic, traditional Christmas song that I just love.
  10. Jingle Bells. Yes, I love “Jingle Bells” in all it’s child-like simplisticity (my 3 year-old loves it this year!). Did you know it has three verses? Pretty much everyone knows the first verse, some even know there are two (it starts with “A day or two ago…”). The third verse goes: Now the ground is white/So go it while your young/Take the girls tonight/And sing this sleighing song/ Just get a bob-tailed nag/ Two-forty for his speed/Then hitch him to an open sleigh/And, crack!, you’ll take the lead.

So, what’s on your “Top 10” list? Leave a comment below!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin December 17, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Wow! These songs are very, very cute, which brings me to a music therapy-related question. What are your thought on using Christmas carols and songs in session? Since they have a somewhat ‘religious’ connotation, do you ask first? I’ve wondered the answer to this question since the season began, and this is just the perfect post for that!

Thanks for the Music Therapy Maven, Kimberly. Its resources and wealth of information are much, much appreciated as I continue my undergraduate studies!
.-= Erin´s last blog ..A Sense of Community =-.

Lisa December 17, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Great list – I have to say that I have always loved “O Holy Night” for the melody and slow rhythm it has. I’ve also always enjoyed the song “Christmas time is coming” because it was the only time my grandfather ever sang and he’d only sing the one line from the song but it makes me think of him when I hear it.

Kimberly December 17, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Great question! I follow two general rules: 1) it depends on the clinical setting and population and 2) music is a wonderful way to celebrate the seasons. If you have the opportunity to use seasonal music (Christmas, solstice, summer, fall, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc.), DO. Not only does it help celebrate the season, but it also breaks up the “routine” of the normal songs you use. That not only helps keep you fresh, but it can also helps keep your clients engaged and interested. Always be considerate of the setting and population, though. Tomorrow I’m going caroling at a Adventist hospital in Denver; with that in mind, I will primarily be singing traditional, Christian carols and hymns. But when working with kids, I’ll use mostly children’s holiday songs (Jingle Bells, Frosty, etc.). Finally, Christmas is not the only holiday being celebrated this time of year. It’s always a good idea to have other holiday songs in your repertoire (Hanukkah, solstice, Kwanzaa, etc.) so you can be ready in any session. ~Kimberly

Kimberly December 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm

What great songs! Isn’t it fascinating how some pieces we like because of the music itself (as in “O Holy Night” for you) and others because they remind us a fond memories and people we love? Thank you for sharing, Lisa. ~Kimberly

Ginny December 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm

I’m with Lisa. I love “Oh Holy Night” and I have a special place in my heart for “Sleigh Ride.” Something about the muted trumpet whinny and the slap stick sounding like a whip; it makes me smile. Merry Christmas, Kimberly!

rachel December 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm

I love this 12 days of Christmas ! hysterical. Thanks for the heads up!

Adelaide Dupont December 18, 2009 at 2:12 am

Let me think about the music I like for Christmas, as I read all your thoughts and memories.

When I was a little girl I loved Deck the halls with boughs of holly, White Christmas and the Twelve Days of Christmas. Probably my first Christmas-song memory was in 1985 (yes, 1985!) and I was listening to this tape with Silent Night and similar songs. It was a story book which came from British publisher Marshall Cavendish.

I am a Secular Humanist so I like the songs which have little religious content. My Grown-up Christmas List is wonderful, and probably the religious songs I do like are Adestes Fidelis (O come all ye faithful) and Hark the herald angels sing.

My new favourite (this year) has become Grandma Ran over a Reindeer.

I remember The First Noel because of Pippi Longstocking singing it in her movie (Tami Erin did the singing when she acted as Pippi). It was when she was coming home to Ville Villa Kula, her house, after she had to stay in an orphanage.

This year we had an accessible Carols full of signing and singing.

Kimberley, I hope you do sing Santa Baby.

Our favourite singers also release songs, like Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is you and Celine Dion’s Don’t save it all for Christmas Day.

I admit downloading the Wikipedia article about Christmas songs at the start of this December.
.-= Adelaide Dupont´s last blog ..Running sheet for Key Concepts and Development: prelim and first draft, with pics and sounds! =-.

Joel K December 18, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Yes, I DO know that third verse to Jingle Bells! I use it once in a while in my work just to see if anyone knows it, and sometimes someone joins in. (Usually this means they’re a Gene Autry fan.)

And Adelaide: do you mean “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”? Or is there a revenge-filled sequel to the original?

Adelaide Dupont December 18, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Yes, I did mean Grandma got run over by a reindeer.

Some grandmothers have wanted to run over reindeers, I am sure, as well as hide their grandchildren’s stuffed toys after they (the toys) have taught them the song. (Grandmas also do teach the children the song).

That might be a thing for our music therapists to work on!
.-= Adelaide Dupont´s last blog ..Running sheet for Key Concepts and Development: prelim and first draft, with pics and sounds! =-.

Kimberly December 18, 2009 at 8:01 pm

If you liked 12 Days, you’ll also like their new song Christmas Can-Can. Happy Holidays! ~Kimberly

Kimberly December 18, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Ooooh….Sleigh Ride. A holiday band favorite. We played it every year in high school! Merry Christmas, Ginny:D

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