Well, the holidays just sort of snuck up on me! Since it is Christmas season, what better way to celebrate the season than to actually play Christmas songs! But, I don’t like Christmas carols. They’re fine and all but they just seem… preachy and too happy. I’d rather listen to “alternative” Christmas songs and there are a lot out there.
In fact, right off the top of my head, I can name five Christmas songs that I like that aren’t Christmas carols. And here they are… in descending order.
5. What’s This? – Jack Skellington
This comes from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. The plot of the film is about how Jack Skellington, the spirit of Halloween, stumbles into Christmas Land and falls in love with the holiday. He becomes so enamored with Christmas that he decides to take over, believing he can do a better job than “Sandy Claws” at running it. But enough of the movie! What about the song?
In all honesty, the melody of “What’s This?” isn’t really that good. It’s kind of catchy but nothing really special. It’s the lyrics that makes the song special. It manages to capture the child-like wonderment of looking at all the decorations that pop up during the holiday season. It manages to describe a change in the mood of people. Bottom-line, it communicates how a kid feels during Christmas and that’s what makes it my #5 Christmas song.
4. Christmas Song (Don’t Be Late) – Alvin and the Chipmunks
This song takes me back to my childhood every time I hear it. I still have very vivid memories playing this song on our record player (for you youngsters out there, “records” are black plastic discs) when I was young. It’s all about the Chipmunks singing about Christmas day and how they can’t wait for it to arrive so they can open up their presents.
What I like about this song is how honest it is. It’s not trying to teach children a lesson about the “spirit of Christmas” or anything like that. No! The songs says very directly that kids love Christmas because they get presents! And, as a kid (and even a part of me now) still identifies with that way of thinking! It may be selfish but it does speak the truth!
3. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon
John Lennon managed to include two messages in this one song. The first message is how Christmas is supposed to be a time for peace and how anyone can enjoy it, regardless of race, age and gender. The second message is sung by the choir of children. The children actually repeat the same lyrics over and over again: “War is over. If you want it. War is over. Now.” Can’t get any more clear than that!
The brilliant thing about this “Christmas” song is that it really isn’t a song about Christmas in the purest sense! “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” was originally intended as a protest song against the Vietnam war. But the lyrics still ring true up to now.
2. The Night Santa Went Crazy – Weird Al Yankovic
I’m a big fan of Weird Al Yankovic and his songs. While he’s mostly popular for creating parodies of popular songs, I think there’s a little more to him than just that. He actually is a music genius in my opinion. And this song is proof of it!
I always wondered how Santa manages to keep sane, especially since he has to travel around the world in a single night for… what reason again? I mean, what’s his reward for giving gifts to all the good little boys and girls in the world? Well, “The Night Santa Went Crazy” is a hilarious take of what would happen when he finally realizes that the world’s been taking advantage of his good nature! I love the escalation of his actions and how the song ends by telling what happened to the “survivors” of Santa’s rampage in the North Pole.
Mr. Yankovic, you’re a genius and, on the off chance you’re reading this, thank you for this song! It brings a smile to my face every time I hear it.
And my number one Christmas song is…
1. Merry Christmas, Darling – Karen Carpenter
I liked this song when I was young because of the way Karen Carpenter sang it. The intro is so distinct and unique that, when I was young, it grabbed my attention when I first heard it on the radio. The background choir does an excellent job at backing up Karen’s singing and the saxophone during the interlude is just perfect!
But, as I got older (and I actually listened to the lyrics), I actually grew to love this song even more! It’s a very bittersweet song of a girl who just wants to see her special someone on Christmas. We never really know why he’s not there but the lyrics makes it clear she really wishes he could see him on Christmas. After I figured that out, I actually could hear a twinge of sadness in the tone of the song… which just made the song better as there’s a deeper meaning to it.
I may be thinking too much into it but… well, that’s what I think!
So, that was my list of Christmas song that I enjoy listening to. What are your favorite Christmas songs? Let me know what they are in the comments below!