Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Carols

Well, lest anyone think I'm a total Scrooge, let me just say that there is quite a bit of Christmas music that I like and a few Christmas carols that I like so much that I will stop and listen to them no matter how early I hear them. Yes, Annoying Co-worker has Christmas music playing again. She stopped last week, but I think the fact that it is now Thanksgiving, and a short week, has given her a new lease on Christmas spirit. She turned the Christmas music back on yesterday and it looks like it's here to stay this time. Oh well. At least it's a short week.

Since I was raised in church, I tend to like my Christmas music religious and choral. As the great Bing Crosby sings in "The Christmas Song", "Christmas carols, being sung by a choir" - yes. That is the way it is supposed to be. (Side note - you may notice in this post that I often cannot remember the proper name of Christmas carols. I do a lot of "that one that goes 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire'". Part of it is that I have a lousy memory for song titles and part of it is that I kind of avoid Christmas music as much as I can.) Anyway, I like most church Christmas carols. In fact, I can't think of any I don't like. "Joy to the World", "Silent Night", "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem", "Gloria in Excelsis Deo". Open a church hymnal to the Christmas section and I would be perfectly happy singing any of those songs. (Random fact - On not just Christmas carols, but most well-known church hymns, I can often sing more than one verse from memory. I can do almost all of Amazing Grace. And I have not set foot in a church in over ten years.) Also, one thing about me that you cannot get over a blog - I love to sing and I have a pretty good singing voice. Singing hymns was my favorite part of church and really the only thing I miss. I was in the choir and always in a Christmas program of some form. So I have sung Christmas carols a lot. That's the other hard part about listening to Christmas music - I REALLY want to sing along. When I lived with my mom, we had a deal. I would play the piano and sing while she decorated the Christmas tree. (I hate to decorate the Christmas tree. She can neither play piano or sing.)

Other than church Christmas carols, there are a few Christmas carols that I really love. "The Christmas Song" (that's "chestnuts roasting on an open fire", right?), "Carol of the Bells" ("hark, how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, throw cares away"), "Mary, Did You Know?" (favorite line - "When you kiss your tiny baby, you kissed the face of God." I think this is true of every baby, not just Jesus. I certainly feel that way about my babies.) "What Child Is This?"

And then there are just the fun Christmas songs. "Step into Christmas" by Elton John. "Happy Christmas" by John Lennon. And the guilty pleasures. The funny Christmas songs - "The 12 Pains of Christmas", "Merry Christmas from the Family" by Robert Earl Keen". The one that makes my husband cringe, but that I own on cd and will proudly admit that I play well into January - "Last Christmas" by Wham!

19 comments:

BeckEye said...

I will be looking forward to posting my Christmas mix this year!

My favorite non-religious Christmas song is Billy Squier's "Christmas Is The Time to Say I Love You" and my favorite religious one is "O Holy Night." I love belting it out when it gets to the FAAAALLL ON YOUR KNEEEES part. :)

Shelly Overlook said...

Wham! Hee!

I love the Barenaked Ladies version of God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen. I can listen to it all year long and it gets my booty moving every single time.

Shelly said...

Beck - Ooh! I'll be on the lookout for that.

I don't think I know that one. Teehee - the singer's favorite Christmas song. Everyone loves to belt that out.

Shelly said...

Shelly - I am an old-school George Michael fan and I don't care who knows it.

Cool! I like them.

nicole said...

I definitely prefer religious songs. Noe necessarily traditional arrangements though. I just don't get much out of the more secular songs, or even the traditional classics from Bing Crosby and so forth. My husband makes jokes about how many versions of "O, Holy Night" I can find. :) But my most favorite song is "Here With Us" by Joy Williams. Beautiful. Haunting. Amazing.

BeckEye said...

For the "O Holy Night" lovers, there is a surprisingly good version by Sufjan Stevens. It's one of my favorites that I've heard.

Of course, you can't go wrong with Celine Dion's or Martina McBride's for sheer power.

Shelly said...

Nicole - I don't think I'm familiar with "Here With Us". I'll have to find that one.

Shelly said...

Beck - Ooh, I'll have to look for that one.

Yes, I'm sure they both sound really good on O Holy Night.

desperate housewife said...

I LOVE "Mary Did You Know," and your favorite line is mine, too, for exactly the same reason.
"Carol of the Bells" always gives me awesome goosebumps, as well, of course, as "O Holy Night." I also really like this kind of obscure Christmas carol called "Some Children See Him" (I think!) about how all kids see Jesus as looking just like they do. And the last line is, "Tis love that's born tonight." It's so sweet.

desperate housewife said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shelly said...

Des - I like "Some Children See Him"! It's a very sweet song.

And I like Sarah McLachlan, so I'll have to check out Wintersong.

Jess said...

I think my favorite, or one of my favorites, is the Sarah McLachlan/Barenaked Ladies duet of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. So good!

Shelly said...

Jess - I'll have to find that version. I really like that song.

Fiona Picklebottom said...

My favorite is "O Holy Night." I also love all those you mention. My mom was a Christmas music NUT and she took us (and whatever neighborhood kids she could get to tag along) caroling every year and I am the only one I know who knows almost ALL the verses of almost ALL the carols because my mom drilled them into us as kids for the purpose of the whole caroling thing... we weren't allowed to do just one verse; she wanted people to get their money's worth (though really we were forcing it on them).

For some reason, I also like "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." I just can't help it.

Shelly said...

Fiona - I think I would get along with your mom. I would take the kids caroling if we lived in a neighborhood. (We live in the country. Our neighbors are trees.)

I kind of like that song, too. In small doses.

Alice said...

growing up we were a completely a-religious household, but we often would go to the unitarian church on christmas eve for the carol ceremony so we could sing all those chorale versions that you mention. i do still love them, but ONLY IN THE TWO WEEKS BEFORE CHRISTMAS. it is still too early for xmas music for me :-)

Wendi said...

Wham! is my favorite. Oh, George Michael--what happened to you?

Shelly said...

Alice - YES! I burn out on Christmas stuff in about two weeks, so I cannot start doing anything Christmas until next week at the earliest or I WILL WANT TO KILL PEOPLE by Christmas day.

Shelly said...

Wendi - Hello and welcome!

*weeps* for George Michael. God, wasn't he awesome back in the day?!