By Dean Lusk
The Christmas season tends to make me really happy. Except for the parts that involve shopping in the midst of hyper-populated stores (this year Hobby Lobby and Sam's Club win the "isn't this number of people a violation of fire code?" awards).
At its ideal moments, Christmas lights and music whisk my mind back to my childhood in the 70's, when my parents had green shag carpet in their room and my mom wore trendy dresses with poofy sleeves. In my mind, though Christmas defies time and space, it exists in a few eras
: 2000 years ago, the 1970's, the 1940's, the late 1800's, and the middle ages. The last three of those are particularly accessible in my imagination via music. This is why I tend to dislike modern Christmas music
. While many are about Jesus' birth, they just don't represent Christmas past to me.
My perennial favorite artist/group award goes to the Ray Conniff Singers
. They take me back to my early childhood; Ray Conniff was always on the record player during the Christmas season back then. Same thing with Billy Vaughn
. Last year I purchased the mono version of "Christmas Carols
" (this album was originally recorded in both stereo and mono versions).
Given that background, here are my five favorite Christmas songs. This list was more difficult than the one that named my least favorite ones.
- O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Veni, Veni, Emmanuel)
- The Holly and the Ivy
- The Coventry Carol (the link goes to an Amazon.com freebie!)
- The Sussex Carol (On Christmas Night All Christians Sing)
I wish there were room on the list for "The Wassail Song (Here We Come A-Caroling)
" and "Sing We Now of Christmas
Now, if I had to use songs from this
century, my list would look like this:
- Sleigh Ride (orchestral or Johnny Mathis' version)
- It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Andy Williams)
- The Christmas Song
- Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
- A Charlie Brown Christmas (the Vince Guaraldi Trio album). This 16-song album is a must-purchase download at the Amazon MP3 store -- only $5.00!
Time for your input -- share your favorite five (or more) with everyone in the comments below!