This is such a daunting challenge that there will be two lists - one today for favorite Christmas carols and one tomorrow for favorite Christmas hymns. Both lists will be a little more expansive so as Christmas carols will cover my favorite non-religious Christmas music and hymns will cover my favorite religious Christmas music. And as before with favorite music, I'm going to point you to a specific artist and version.
With that in mind, here's my list of Top 10 Favorite Christmas Carols, in no particular order.
- Winter Wonderland by Jason Mraz - Jason Mraz has the funnest version of this song. Very simply scored, with lots of fun shout-outs in the background. It will put a smile on your face.
- Happy Xmas (War is Over) by Maroon 5 - I love this song and Adam Levine presents a very stripped down version that can truly sell the lyrics and message of the song. The combination of his voice and the piano is really all the song needs. And I'm of the opinion stripping the children's choir out of the background at the end is a real benefit.
- Jingle Bells by Michael Buble with the Puppini Sisters - this is another Christmas classic that is just put into a very fun arrangement. From the "Ready Mr. Buble" banter at the beginning to the Puppini Sisters showcasing their best Andrews' Sisters, this to me is the definitive Jingle Bells.
- White Christmas by The Drifters - This is my favorite version of White Christmas. Bing Crosby may be iconic, but this is the most fun to listen to and sing. Otis Redding's does come a close second, though.
- The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole - The icon for a good reason. No one has come close yet to the smooth, pure sound of Nat King Cole's voice. This is one that makes Christmas when it is played.
- Feliz Navidad by David Crowder Band - Feliz Navidad as interpreted on a Casio electric keyboard. I'm a huge fan of David Crowder and this is a prime example of why.
- (It Must Have Been Ol') Santa Claus by Harry Connick, Jr. - Harry Connick's New Orleans jazz addition to Christmas music. Just a great, funky beat and a great, great band.
- Please Come Home for Christmas by The Eagles - A great song, not just a great Christmas song. From the octave bell tones at the beginning to the end, this is the Christmas blues song (sorry Elvis). And while Charles Brown's original is good, the Eagles own this song.
- All I Want For Christmas is You by Idina Mendzel - one of the greatest modern additions to the Christmas genre interpreted by one of Broadway's best. This to me edges out Mariah Carey's version with the ending.
- I Believe in Santa Claus by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers - it was hard to decide between this and With Bells On, but I Believe in Santa Claus won out because of the message. I'm still convinced Once Upon a Christmas by Dolly and Kenny is one of, if not the greatest Christmas album of all time, and this is my favorite song on that recording. I may be a little biased based on years of listening to this as a kid in a I Believe in Santa Claus sweatshirt, but I'm sticking to it.
Bonus - I didn't include it on the list as it's a December song not a Christmas song, but What Are You Doing New Years Eve? is quickly rising up my list, particularly as interpreted by Seth McFarlane. I'm not a fan of his style of humor, but his voice is such a perfect throwback.
That's my list. What are your favorite Christmas songs? Are there any underappreciated gems that you love?
Tomorrow - favorite hymns.