I know this may be a bit early, but I just don’t care. Christmas is weeks away which means the start of the ever-dreaded and ever-joyous… Christmas music. Some hate it, some love it and just can’t get enough of it. I happen to be a fan of all the songs and the spirit they bring. After all, you’ve got some serious legends belting out many of the classics! From Dean Martin to Aretha Franklin, just about every singer has taken on a Christmas song.
So how do you begin to tell them all apart? What makes them all different when, to some people, they all sound the same? I’ve put together a list of Christmas songs that, I believe, tell a story. Each verse leads and flows into the next so we can get a full image and idea of what’s happening from verse to verse… Just like a novel. I have a few personal favorites, but also some classics we all know and love. Gives these a listen and your heart may be captured.
1. ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham!
I’m starting off with a crowd pleaser here. Written by the late George Michael, this fantastic holiday hit tells the story of a man who had his heart broken by a past lover last Christmas. Does he ever get over the pain? Are the feelings palpable? Listen to the words and you’ll hear every emotion. I’ve never heard so many people belt out, “Once bitten and twice shy”. We still miss him, but this song lives on in every twinkling light.
2. ‘The First Noel’ by Josh Grobin and Faith Hill
No, these two artists are not the originals, but their version is quite powerful. This lovely tune tells the story of the night Jesus was born and the shepherds who followed the star that guided them to him. No matter what your religion is, you can surely say this is a beautiful song that’s been covered over and over again. It’s really a melody to be remembered.
3. ‘Frosty the Snowman’ by Jimmy Durante
The snowy man himself has to be here! Frosty’s story (and it must be the Jimmy Durante version) comes from the 1969 movie about a group of kids playing on winter’s day when their snowman named Frosty magically comes to life. It’s the stuff kids dream of. We just have to know if he melts or sticks around forever, but feel free to listen to the song and watch the animated and Claymation cartoons… They actually rock.
4. ‘All Alone On Christmas’ by Darlene Love
If you are a Home Alone buff like me, you’ll know this amazing song starts to play as Kevin McCallister crosses the 59th Street Bridge in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Its lyrics are bittersweet as the singer tries to write a letter to someone who’s just not around anymore. Since their love has gone all they can do is reminisce on their past Christmases together. Perhaps growing up doesn’t mean you have to lose Christmas and the way it used to be.
5. ‘Father Christmas’ by The Kinks
If you’re a Kinks fan this may already be a favorite of yours. This is a rockin’ little tune about a guy who always did believe in Santa until his job was to actually be Santa. He flashes back in his memory to when a group of rowdy kids let him know the real deal about Christmas. No toys, no games, just some money to make life a little easier. It’s not so innocent, but hey, it’s sort of true.
6. ‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’ by Whitney Houston
There are a lot of versions of this song, but Whitney just brings it to another level that is seemingly untouchable. She was, and still is, a legend. Her powerful voice and the voices of the choir push the narrative of this song to something incredible. The little shepherd boy tells the King of a child being born, that child being Jesus, who could save them all. This is a great one because you can almost imagine the story unfold of a meek shepherd telling the King of the big news. Plus it’s Whitney, guys.
7. ‘Christmas Wrapping’ by Waitresses
This is a fantastic little 80’s number that is pleasant, playful, and hard as hell to keep up with! The singer begins by weighing out how conflicted she feels over a holiday that she both loves and stresses about. Is it the guy that she hasn’t spoken to for a while? Is she going to attend any Christmas parties or prepare her own holiday meal in solitude? It may sound like the tone is bitter, but feeling is actually very relatable and spunky. Let’s just say there’s a pretty good happy ending.
8. ‘The Christmas Shoes’ by NewSong
For those of you who know this one, I’m sorry. For those of you who don’t, please don’t hate me. This tune is a tad… heart-wrenching. Our narrator begins his story about his last minute Christmas shopping and how he waits in line behind a little boy holding a box of shoes. The story we get behind the shoes is one that will make you shed a tear and then go hug your mom… No, I’m not kidding. Sorry everyone, but it will open your eyes when minuscule holiday stresses cloud your head.
9. ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ by Gene Autry
An absolute favorite among kids and adults, this fun little song will warm your heart with Rudolph’s tale about how he pretty much saved Christmas. Even without the music you could read this song to a kid and it’d sound like a bedtime story. The little reindeer that lit the way for Santa is a story we could all love and learn from: Everyone has a gift to share. Bonus if you can name all the other reindeer!
10. ‘Same Old Lang Syne’ by Dan Fogelberg
I saved the best (and my all time favorite) for last. If you don’t listen to any Christmas songs this season that’s fine, but I think you should give this one a chance. The late Dan Fogelberg wrote this beautiful, bittersweet song about two past loves running into each other at the grocery store on Christmas Eve. The tone is genuine and it feels like a mini novel or movie. The piano is beautiful and the sentiment is sweet. I highly recommend it… Really.
These are only a few of the awesome Christmas songs that you really have to listen to in order to get the full story and spirit of what the singer is putting across. Maybe that’s why a lot of people love Christmas music: There’s a piece of a story behind every verse that teaches us a lesson or brings a little extra magic to the holiday season. Christmas is the time to share stories of the past while looking forward to the future. So, what would your story be?
Feature Image Via Digital Trends