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Merry Christmas!!! Are you up yet? Has Santa come? Here are some fun little lists for your holiday pleasure….

According to Wikipedia (source of all that’s true in the world) here are ASCAP’s top 25 “most performed songs”
OH — I’ve listed my favorite versions in the parantheses…..

    “Blue Christmas” – (Elvis is, of course, the standard. I also really like Sheryl Crow)
    “Carol of the Bells” – (both Patty Loveless and Los Lonely Boys kick butt)
    “The Christmas Song” – (Nat King Cole, Lou Rawls or Alex Chilton — all so mellow and coooool)
    “Feliz Navidad” – (the DB’s or Asleep at the Wheel)
    “Frosty the Snowman” – (America has a neat cover)
    “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – (Judy Garland’s is the best, but Shawn Colvin’s is pretty awesome)
    “Here Comes Santa Claus” (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) – (Gene Autry, the original singing cowboy)
    “A Holly Jolly Christmas” – (while Burl Ives is classic, I love Alan Jackson’s take)
    “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays” – (oh it has to be Perry Como, my mother’s pop idol)
    “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – (I love John Mellancamp’s version — do you realize his daughters are now adults?)
    “It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas” – (Eddy Arnold)
    “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” – (for me, this conjures memories of my auntie coming home from Vietnam — try Linda Ronstadt’s cover)
    “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – (throw in some Johnny Mathis)
    “Jingle Bell Rock” – (Brian Setzer, so awesome)
    “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” – (hmmm…. either Lena Horne or Harry Connick)
    “Little Drummer Boy” – (there’s a lot of hoopla for the Crosby/Bowie cover, I really like Ray Charles)
    “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” – (while the girls like Hannah Montana’s take, I prefer Rhonda Vincent)
    “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – (check out Harry Connick — he just rocks this song)
    “Santa Baby” – (Earth Kitt, definitive — maybe the cover from a Very Special Christmas 3)
    “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” – (ooo, Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters)
    “Silver Bells” – (Vonda Shepard owns it)
    “Sleigh Ride” – (the utterly delightful Squirrel Nut Zippers)
    “White Christmas” – (Bing, hands down)
    “Winter Wonderland” – (James Taylor has an awesome version)
    “Wonderful Christmastime” – (Paul McCartney; but I actually think Pipes of Peace is a better holiday song)

My Top 10 Christmas Carols

    “Children, Go Where I Send You” – (Natalie Merchant does a great job, but check out Nina Simone)
    “Go Tell It on the Mountain” – (the Zion Harmonizers are wonderful and so is James Taylor)
    “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!” – (Vince Guaraldi or Charlotte Church)
    “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” – (Longfellow’s poem — Sarah McLachlan’s voice is perfect for this)
    “I Saw Three Ships” – (either Sting or Don Dixon)
    “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” – (Frank Sinatra, so great)
    “Joy to the World” (Aretha Franklin – there’s a reason she’s the Queen)
    “O Come All Ye Faithful” – (Amy Grant or Marion Williams)
    “Silent Night” – (Patty Loveless or for an instrumental version check out Stanley Jordan)
    “We Three Kings of Orient Are” (the Miracles)

The movies that must be watched each year:

    White Christmas
    A Christmas Carol (either the George C. Scott version or the Muppets)
    Elf
    A Christmas Story
    Polar Express
    Christmas in Connecticut (the cute dark-haired baby is actually Chris’ cousin)
    Home Alone and/or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Some little known movies that need to become classics:

    Love Actually
    Joyeux Noel (the story of the 1914 Christmas truce)
    Unaccompanied Minors (pretty much the entire cast of Kids in the Hall plus Lewis Black — it’s great!)

Must-See Holiday TV

    Charlie Brown Christmas
    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated classic)
    Santa Claus is Coming to Town
    Frosty the Snowman (not the sad, sad sequel)

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always tried to read a holiday themed book or 2 in honor of the seaon:

    The Man who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford (2008): wonderful book about Dickens, A Christmas Carol, holiday celebrations and the 19th century publishing industry
    The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn (2003): great synthesis of all the “big guy” stories, the subsequent volumes get a little slow
    Two from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes (1972): I read this every year when I was little….
    God Rest Ye Merry, Soldiers: a True Civil War Christmas Story (2005): really fascinating look at soldiers in Civil War TN
    Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera (1999): The girls and I read this every year — and no one wants to be on the BB&G list 🙂
    St. Francis & the Christmas Donkey by Robert Byrd (2000): Another perennial favorite, the beloved saint reminds a little donkey that all creatures are worthy

So feast, cuddle and enjoy!!!

Take care,
Aly

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