Pop Go the Holidays

Christmas carols are a joy to behold and reassuringly traditional. Some are centuries old and have Jesus Christ’s birth at the heart of their lyrics. Carols formed the core of Christmas music, with festive concertos offering a classical complement to such hymnal works. But twentieth century composers discovered there was also a place for the secular amid the religious at Christmastime.

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Popular songs about Father Christmas, snowmen, sleigh-bells and reindeer hit the airwaves. As Santa and his magical world grew in stature so commercialism strengthened its grip on the holiday period. Pop and Christmas, it appeared, were made for each other. The Nativity was all good and well, but what about the big man and Rudolph, trees and snow, jingling bells and chestnuts roasting on an open fire?

The reason Christmas came to be wasn’t entirely lost on popular composers so there were still occasional nods to that night in Bethlehem, like “Mary’s Boy Child”. But festive music had changed forever. No question, carols had staying power. It was just that now we had another batch of Christmas frontrunners with which to contend. Today, just as with carols of old, what would Christmas be without them? Here are the top 25 chosen by How to Christmas, along with song lyrics and origins.

Click on a song title to take you to the lyrics and story behind your choice or scroll down to view them all.

 
 

Music bauble 1021784441 – “White Christmas”

The Irving Berlin classic “White Christmas”, as sung by legendary crooner Bing Crosby, is the biggest selling single of all-time – according to the Guinness Book of World Records – with estimated sales of more than 50 million. It is also one of the songs with the most cover versions. Add those in to the sales and they top 100 million. Berlin (1888-1989) wrote “White Christmas” in 1940 in a hotel in a US state renowned for heat – but whether it was California or Arizona is uncertain to this day. Crosby (1903-1977) first publicly performed the song on his NBC radio show in the USA on Christmas Day 1941. It was first featured in Berlin’s “Holiday Inn” and was top of the US charts by the end of 1942, winning that year’s Academy Award for Best Original Song. It would later become the title song for the 1954 Crosby musical “White Christmas”.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

Just like the ones I used to know

Where the treetops glisten

And children listen

To hear sleigh bells in the snow

 

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

With every Christmas card I write

May your days be merry and bright

And may all your Christmases be white

 

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

Just like the ones I used to know

Where the treetops glisten

And children listen

To hear sleigh bells in the snow

 

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

With every Christmas card I write

May your days be merry and bright

And may all your Christmases be white

 

Music bauble 1021784442 – “The Christmas Song”

“The Christmas Song” is also known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” – which is the opening line to this festive gem, written in 1944 by Mel Torme (1925-1999) and Bob Wells (1922-1998). Torme revealed the song was written in just forty minutes during a sweltering hot American summer when he was “thinking cool to stay cool”. The Nat King Cole Trio first recorded the song in 1946, but Cole’s 1961 version is considered the definitive recording. Torme himself made several recordings of “The Christmas Song” and it is one of the most-covered festive hits in history. But the magnificent Cole (1919-1965) will forever be inextricably linked to this song.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Jack Frost nipping at your nose

Yuletide carols being sung by a choir

And folks dressed up like Eskimos

 

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe

Help to make the season bright

Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow

Will find it hard to sleep tonight

 

They know that Santa’s on his way

He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh

And every mother’s child is gonna spy

To see if reindeer really know how to fly

 

And so I’m offering this simple phrase

To kids from one to ninety-two

Although it’s been said many times, many ways

Merry Christmas to you

Music bauble 1021784443 – “The Twelve Days of Christmas”

The twelve days in question in the western church run from Christmas Day to January 5th – the eve of Epiphany. First published in 1780, this English carol makes the song collection of the How to Christmas music section because it isn’t overtly religious and is as easily found on contemporary, pop or classical albums as it is on definitive festive choral albums. The cumulative song is believed to have French roots and may have its earliest origins in a parlour game. There are theories the song helped instruct Christians during a time of religious change and fear in the 16th century – and that each number and gift had hidden biblical meaning. But we reiterate, the lyrics make no direct mention of religion. The French word for partridge is Perdrix (pronounced per-dree) so it is quite possible something was lost in translation when it came to writing about partridges in pear trees. English partridges, at least, are not known for their tree-perching proclivities. If all the gifts in the song were delivered, there would be 364 in total. The gifts on the last four days are often switched in order. The calling birds were once – and can sometimes still be heard sung as – colly birds. The word ‘on’ at the start of each verse was only added in 1909 by English composer and singer Frederic Austin (1872-1952).

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me

A partridge in a pear tree

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Two turtle doves

And a partridge in a pear tree

On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Three French hens

Two turtle doves

And a partridge in a pear tree

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Four callings birds…

And so it continues with:

Five gold rings

Six geese-a-laying

Seven swans-a-swimming

Eight maids-a-milking

Nine Ladies dancing

Ten Lords-a-leaping

Eleven pipers piping

Twelve drummers drumming

And a resounding last belting out of:

“And a partridge in a pear tree!”

Music bauble 1021784444 – “O Christmas Tree!”

This 16th century German folk song “O Tannenbaum” has become a festive favourite, but there is no direct reference in it to the Christmas story or even the Yuletide decorating of the tree. German composer Ernst Anschutz (1780-1861) wrote the modern lyrics in 1824. The English translations are varied.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Your branches green delight us!

They are green when summer days are bright

They are green when winter snow is white

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Your branches green delight us!

 

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

You give us so much pleasure!

How oft at Christmas tide the sight

O green fir tree, gives us delight!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

You give us so much pleasure!

 

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Forever true your colour

Your boughs so green in summertime

Stay bravely green in wintertime

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Forever true your colour

 

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

You fill my heart with music

Reminding me on Christmas Day

To think of you and then be gay

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

You fill my heart with music

And a second English version is:

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

How are thy leaves so verdant!

Not only in the summertime

But even in winter is thy prime

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

How are thy leaves so verdant!

 

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

Much pleasure dost thou bring me!

For every year the Christmas tree

Brings to us all both joy and glee

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

Much pleasure dost thou bring me!

 

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

How lovely are thy branches!

Not only green when summer’s here

But in the coldest time of year

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

How lovely are thy branches!

 

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

How sturdy God hath made thee!

Thou bidds’t us all place faithfully

Our trust in God, unchangingly

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

How sturdy God hath made thee!

 

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

Thy candles shine out brightly

Each bough doth hold its tiny light

That makes each toy to sparkle bright

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

Thy candles shine out brightly!

Music bauble 1021784447 – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

Judy Garland (1922-1969) sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in the 1944 film “Meet Me in St. Louis” and it has been tugging at heartstrings the world over ever since. Hugh Martin (1914-2011) and Ralph Blane (1914-1995) composed the song, which originally contained the lyrics: “Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.” Frank Sinatra requested something more upbeat for his 1957 recording of the song and the line became: “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.” In his autobiography, Blane contended that he alone wrote all the lyrics and music to this song – and indeed all the songs in “Meet Me in St. Louis” – saying a lack of business savvy had allowed him to give Martin equal screen credit and royalties.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Let your heart be light

From now on our troubles

Will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Make the Yuletide gay

From now on our troubles

Will be miles away

Here we are as in olden days

Happy golden days of yore

Faithful friends who are dear us

Gather near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together

If the fates allow

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough

And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

Music bauble 1021784449 – “Jingle Bells”

James Lord Pierpoint wrote “Jingle Bells” for the American Thanksgiving holiday in 1857, although it is now synonymous with Christmas. Its original title was “One Horse Open Sleigh”. A plaque in the centre of Medford Square, Medford, Massachusetts, USA – erected by Medford Historical Society – reads: “On this site stood the Simpson Tavern, where in 1850 James Pierpoint (1822-1893) wrote the song ‘Jingle Bells’ in the presence of Mrs. Otis Waterman, who later verified the song was written here…Jingle Bells tells of the sleigh races held on Salem Street in the early 1800’s.” Little did Pierpoint know that his song would become world famous, earn him a place in the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and be the first song to be broadcast from outer space by American Gemini VI astronauts in a 1965 prank.

Jingle bells jingle bells

Jingle all the way

Oh what fun it is to ride

In a one-horse open sleigh

Jingle bells jingle bells

Jingle all the way

Oh what fun it is to ride

In a one-horse open sleigh

 

Dashing through the snow

In a one-horse open sleigh

O’er the fields we go

Laughing all the way

Bells on bobtail ring

Making spirits bright

What fun it is to ride and sing

A sleighing song tonight

 

Jingle bells jingle bells

Jingle all the way

Oh what fun it is to ride

In a one-horse open sleigh

Jingle bells jingle bells

Jingle all the way

Oh what fun it is to ride

In a one-horse open sleigh

Music bauble 10217844411 – “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”

Academy Award nominee Meredith Willson (1902-1984) wrote “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” in 1951 and it was a festive hit for Perry Como (1912-2001). The Grand Hotel mentioned in the song is possibly the one that operates to this day in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia – where Willson was known to stay and which faces Frost Park. Willson is famous for writing the book, music and lyrics for the smash hit Broadway musical “The Music Man” and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Everywhere you go

Take a look at the five-and-ten

Glistening once again

With candy canes and silver lanes aglow

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Toys in every store

But the prettiest sight to see

Is the holly that will be

On your own front door

 

A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots

Is the wish of Barney and Ben

Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk

Is the hope of Janice and Jen

And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Everywhere you go

There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel

One in the park as well

The sturdy kind that doesn’t mind the snow

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Soon the bells will start

And the thing that will make them ring

Is the carol that you sing

Right within your heart

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Toys in every store

But the prettiest sight to see

Is the holly that will be

On your own front door

Sure it’s Christmas once more

Music bauble 10217844413 – “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” was written by Johnny Marks and recorded in 1958 by 13-year-old Brenda Lee (b. December 1944), although it only made its mark in the US charts in 1960 as Lee’s popularity grew. It reached number 14 that year, would sell well in the subsequent Christmas seasons and peaked at number three in December 1965. In the UK, it reached a high of number six in 1963. Mel Smith and Kim Wilde made a version of the song in 1987 to raise money for Comic Relief and it climbed as high as number three in the UK singles charts.

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree

At the Christmas party hop

Mistletoe hung where you can see

Every couple tries to stop

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree

Let the Christmas spirit ring

Later we’ll have some pumpkin pie

And we’ll do some carolling

 

You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear

Voices singing: “Let’s be jolly; Deck the halls with boughs of holly.”

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree

Have a happy holiday

Everyone dancing merrily

In the new old-fashioned way

 

You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear

Voices singing: “Let’s be jolly; Deck the halls with boughs of holly.”

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree

Have a happy holiday

Everyone dancing merrily

In the new old-fashioned way

Music bauble 10217844415 – “Fairytale of New York”

“Fairytale of New York” is one of the most popular Christmas songs of the last three decades and will inevitably take its place as an all-time festive classic, if it hasn’t already. It was written in 1987 by Shane MacGown and Jem Finer of Irish group The Pogues, who perform the song alongside Kirsty MacColl. Steve Lillywhite, then MacColl’s husband, produced the record and asked her to lay down the guide track for a demo. The Pogues liked it, so kept Kirsty. The song spent five weeks at number one in the Irish pop charts in 1987, but stalled at number two in the UK charts – denied top spot by the Pet Shop Boys and their remake of an Elvis Presley classic “Always on My Mind”. However, “Fairytale” has returned to the charts time and again – an indicator of its enduring popularity. An ITV poll in 2012 declared it ‘Britain’s Favourite Christmas Song’. MacColl sadly died a week before Christmas 2000 on holiday in Mexico, when she was hit in the water by a speeding boat having pushed her 15-year-old son to safety.

It was Christmas Eve babe, in the drunk tank

An old man said to me, “Won’t see another one”

And then he sang a song, the rare ‘Old Mountain Dew’

I turned my face away, and dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one, came in eighteen-to-one

I’ve got a feeling, this year’s for me and you

So Happy Christmas, I love you baby

I can see a better time, when all our dreams come true

 

They’ve got cars big as bars, they’ve got rivers of gold

But the wind goes right through you, it’s no place for the old

When you first took my hand on a cold Christmas Eve

You promised me Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome, you were pretty, queen of New York City

When the band finished playing, they howled out for more

Sinatra was swinging, all the drunks they were singing

We kissed on the corner then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD Choir were singing ‘Galway Bay’

And the bells are ringing out for Christmas Day

 

You’re a bum you’re a punk

You’re an old slut on junk, lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed

You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot

Happy Christmas your arse I pray God it’s our last

The boys of the NYPD Choir still singing ‘Galway Bay’

And the bells are ringing out for Christmas Day

 

I could have been someone

Well, so could anyone

You took my dreams from me when I first found you

I kept them with me babe, I put them with my own

Can’t make it all alone, I’ve built my dreams around you

The boys of the NYPD Choir still singing ‘Galway Bay’

And the bells are ringing out for Christmas Day

Music bauble 10217844417 – “Here Comes Santa Claus”

The Hollywood Christmas Parade is in large part responsible for the creation of “Here Comes Santa Claus”, which was written by America’s singing cowboy Gene Autry (1907-1998) and US composer Oakley Haldeman (1909-1986). Autry rode his horse in the 1946 Santa Claus Lane Parade (later renamed for Hollywood) – and the idea sprang from his festive journey. Autry recorded the song in 1947 and it reached the US top 10. He also sang it in his 1949 film “The Cowboys and The Indians”. Autry also had Christmas hits with “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman”.

Here comes Santa Claus

Here comes Santa Claus

Right down Santa Claus Lane

Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer

Pulling on the reins

Bells are ringing, children singing

All is merry and bright

Hang up your stockings and say your prayers

‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight

 

Here comes Santa Claus

Here comes Santa Claus

Right down Santa Claus Lane

He’s got a bag that’s filled with toys

For the boys and girls again

Hear those sleigh bells jingle jangle

Oh what a beautiful sight

Jump in your bed and cover your head

‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight

 

Here comes Santa Claus

Here comes Santa Claus

Right down Santa Claus Lane

He doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor

He loves you just the same

Santa knows that we’re God’s children

That makes everything right

Fill your hearts with Christmas cheer

‘Cause Santa Claus is coming tonight

 

Here comes Santa Claus

Here comes Santa Claus

Right down Santa Claus Lane

Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer

Pulling on the reins

Bells are ringing, children singing

All is merry and bright

Hang up your stockings and say your prayers

‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight

Music bauble 10217844419 – “Jingle Bell Rock”

Brenda Lee’s version of “Jingle Bell Rock” reached the US charts in both 1964 and 1967, although the first and perhaps most famous recording was in 1958 by American country music singer Bobby Helms (1933-1997). Composing credits went to Joseph Carleton Beal (1900-1967) and James Ross Boothe (1917-1976). The song is played during the opening credits of the 1987 Mel Gibson film “Lethal Weapon”.

Jingle bell,  jingle bell,  jingle bell rock

Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring

Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun

Now the jingle hop has begun

 

Jingle bell,  jingle bell,  jingle bell rock

Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time

Dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square

In the frosty air

 

What a bright time, it’s the right time

To rock the night away

Jingle bell time is a swell time

To go gliding in a one-horse sleigh

Giddy-up jingle horse, pick up your feet

Jingle around the clock

Mix and a-mingle in a-jingling beat

That’s the jingle bell rock

 

Jingle bell,  jingle bell,  jingle bell rock

Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time

Dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square

In the frosty air

 

What a bright time, it’s the right time

We’re gonna rock the night away

Jingle bell time is a swell time

To go gliding in a one-horse sleigh

Giddy-up jingle horse, pick up those feet

Jingle around the clock

Mix and a-mingle in a-jingling beat

That’s the jingle bell

That’s the jingle bell

That’s the jingle bell rock

Music bauble 10217844421 – “The Little Drummer Boy”

American classical music composer Katherine Kennicott Davis (1892-1980) wrote “Carol of the Drum” in 1941 – inspired by on an old Czech carol. The song was recorded by Austria’s Trapp Family singers (of “Sound of Music” fame) in 1955 and was re-titled “The Little Drummer Boy” when recorded with an amended arrangement by Harry Simeone (1911-2005) in 1958. The Harry Simeone Chorale’s version would make the US charts five Christmases in succession. Bing Crosby recorded the song in 1962 and then, in his final Christmas television special in 1977, sang it as part of a “Peace on Earth”/”Little Drummer Boy” duet with David Bowie. That version remains a treasured favourite among the panoply of covers.

Come they told me

Pa rum pum pum pum

A new born King to see

Pa rum pum pum pum

Our finest gifts we bring

Pa rum pum pum pum

To lay before the king

Pa rum pum pum pum

Rum pum pum pum

Rum pum pum pum

 

So to honour him

Pa rum pum pum pum

When we come

 

Baby Jesu

Pa rum pum pum pum

I am a poor boy too

Pa rum pum pum pum

I have no gift to bring

Pa rum pum pum pum

That’s fit to give our King

Pa rum pum pum pum

Rum pum pum pum

Rum pum pum pum

 

Shall I play for you

Pa rum pum pum pum

On my drum

 

Mary nodded

Pa rum pum pum pum

The ox and lamb kept time

Pa rum pum pum pum

I played my drum for him

Pa rum pum pum pum

I played my best for him

Pa rum pum pum pum

Rum pum pum pum

Rum pum pum pum

 

Then he smiled at me

Pa rum pum pum pum

Me and my drum

Music bauble 10217844423 – “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Bing Crosby made this song a hit in 1963, although the Harry Simeone Chorale originally recorded “Do You Hear What I Hear?” the previous year. Married couple Noel Regney (1922-2002) and Gloria Shayne Baker (1923-2008) wrote the song as a plea for peace around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the threat of nuclear war.

Said the night wind to the little lamb

Do you see what I see?

Way up in the sky little lamb

Do you see what I see?

A star, a star, dancing in the night

With a tail as big as a kite

With a tail as big as a kite

 

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy

Do you hear what I hear?

Ringing through the sky shepherd boy

Do you hear what I hear?

A song, a song, high above the tree

With a voice as big as the sea

With a voice as big as the sea

 

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king

Do you know what I know?

In your palace wall mighty king

Do you know what I know?

A Child, a Child, shivers in the cold

Let us bring him silver and gold

Let us bring him silver and gold

 

Said the king to the people everywhere

Listen to what I say

Pray for peace people everywhere

Listen to what I say

The child, the child, sleeping in the night

He will bring us goodness and light

He will bring us goodness and light

The child, the child, sleeping in the night

He will bring us goodness and light

Music bauble 1021784445 – “Silver Bells”

Bob Hope (1903-2003) and Marilyn Maxwell (1921-1972) performed “Silver Bells” in the 1951 film “The Lemon Drop Kid”, although a version recorded by Bing Crosby (1903-1977) and Carol Richards (1922-2007) was released in October the previous year. Jay Livingston (1937-2001) and Ray Evans (1915-2007) wrote the song and originally called it “Tinkle Bells”. It was changed when Evans’ wife pointed out tinkle had a “bathroom connotation”. Livingston and Evans won three Academy Awards for Best Original Song, including 1956 for “Que Sera, Sera”. They also wrote television themes for “Bonanza” and “Mr. Ed”. “Silver Bells” made the UK charts for the first time in 2009 when Aled Jones and Terry Wogan recorded it for charity.

Silver bells, silver bells

It’s Christmas time in the city

Ring-a-ling, hear them ring

Soon it will be Christmas Day

 

City sidewalks busy sidewalks

Dressed in holiday style

In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas

Children laughing, people passing

Meeting smile after smile

And on every street corner you’ll hear

 

Silver bells, silver bells

It’s Christmas time in the city

Ring-a-ling, hear them ring

Soon it will be Christmas Day

 

Strings of streetlights even stop lights

Blink a bright red and green

As the shoppers rush home with their treasures

Hear the snow crunch see the kids bunch

This is Santa’s big scene

And above all the bustle you’ll hear

 

Silver bells, silver bells

It’s Christmas time in the city

Ring-a-ling, hear them sing

Soon it will be Christmas Day

Music bauble 1021784446 – “Winter Wonderland”

More than 150 different artists have recorded “Winter Wonderland”, which was written in 1934 by American musician Felix Bernard (1897-1944) and American lyricist Richard B. Smith (1901-1935). Smith is believed to have penned the words while in hospital being treated for tuberculosis. He would succumb to the disease the following year.

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening

In the lane snow is glistening

A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight

Walking in a winter wonderland

Gone away is the bluebird

Here to stay is a new bird

He sings a love song as we go along

Walking in a winter wonderland

 

In the meadow we can build a snowman

And pretend that he is Parson Brown

He’ll say: “Are you married?” We’ll say: “No man,

But you can do the job when you’re in town.”

Later on we’ll conspire

As we dream by the fire

To face unafraid the plans that we made

Walking in a winter wonderland

 

In the meadow we can build a snowman

And pretend that he’s a circus clown

We’ll have lots of fun with mister snowman

Until the other kids knock him down

When it snows ain’t it thrilling

Though your nose gets a chilling

We’ll frolic and play the Eskimo way

Walking in a winter wonderland

Music bauble 1021784448 – “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is a marketing marvel, turned monumental hit. In 1939, American retailers Montgomery Ward took a story created by advertising copywriter Robert L. May (1905-1976) and made a booklet for the store to give away at Christmas in a money-saving ploy. Ward had cleverly crafted a poem about a misfit reindeer that rescues Christmas (according to some sources it was a Christmas gift for his daughter Barbara in 1938, the year her mother and his wife Evelyn died from cancer). Around 2.4 million copies were distributed in its first year of publication. By 1946, that number had risen to nearer six million. Johnny Marks, May’s brother-in-law, adapted the story into a song and singing cowboy Gene Autry (1907-1998) had a US No. 1 hit single with it in 1949. It is one of the biggest-selling singles of all-time. Rudolph has appeared in his own cartoon short, animated feature length movie and stop-motion television special.

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer

Had a very shiny nose

And if you ever saw him

You would even say it glows

All of the other reindeer

Used to laugh and call him names

They never let poor Rudolph

Join in any reindeer games

Then one foggy Christmas Eve

Santa came to say: “Rudolph with your nose so bright

Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Then how the reindeer loved him

As they shouted out with glee

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer

You’ll go down in history

Music bauble 10217844410 – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

The earliest known recording of “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” was in 1934 and it was first a recognised hit in the USA in 1951 for Perry Como (1912-2001). American songwriter John Frederick Coots (1897-1985) and his compatriot and lyricist Haven Gillespie (1888-1975) wrote the song, which has been recorded by such performers as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, The Jackson 5, Mariah Carey and Michael Buble.

You better watch out, you better not cry

You better not pout, I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town

He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice

Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice

Santa Claus is coming to town

 

He sees you when you’re sleeping

He knows when you’re awake

He knows if you’ve been bad or good

So be good for goodness sake

Oh, you better watch out, you better not cry

You better not pout, I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town

 

With little tin horns and little toy drums

Rooty-toot-toots and rummy-tum-tums

Santa Claus is coming to town

Curly head dolls that toddle and coo

Elephants, boats and kiddie cars too

Santa Claus is coming to town

 

The kids in girls and boy land will have a jubilee

They’re gonna build a toyland town

All around the Christmas tree

So you better watch out, you better not cry

Better not pout, I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town

 

He sees you when you’re sleeping

He knows when you’re awake

He knows if you’ve been bad or good

So be good for goodness sake

You better watch out, you better not cry

Better not pout, I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town

Music bauble 10217844412 – “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!”

During one of the hottest days on record in sunny California, USA, in the summer of 1945, American writers Sammy Cahn (1913-1993) and Jule Styne (1905-1994) created “Let it Snow!” Cahn won four Academy Awards for his songs – including “Three Coins in the Fountain”, which he also co-wrote with Styne – and was nominated on 22 other Oscar occasions. Styne, who was born in England, was a musical child prodigy and would go on to receive 10 Oscar nominations as well as write scores for Broadway hits like “Gypsy” and “Funny Girl”. American singer and bandleader Vaughn Monroe (1911-1973) first recorded the song and it topped the Billboard music chart stateside. It has been covered by many singing greats: Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Andy Williams and Rosemary Clooney among them. But arguably the best-loved version is that performed by Dean Martin.

Oh the weather outside is frightful

But the fire is so delightful

And since we’ve no place to go

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

 

Man, it doesn’t show signs of stopping

And I’ve bought some corn for popping

The lights are turned way down low

Let it snow! Let it snow!

 

When we finally kiss goodnight

How I’ll hate going out in the storm

But if you really hold me tight

All the way home I’ll be warm

 

And the fire is slowing dying

And my dear we’re still goodbying

But as long as you love me so

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

 

When we finally kiss goodnight

How I’ll hate going out in the storm

But if you really grab me tight

All the way home I’ll be warm

 

Oh the fire is slowing dying

And my dear we’re still goodbying

But as long as you love me so

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

Music bauble 10217844414 – “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

Canadian crooner Andy Williams recorded “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” for his first Christmas album in 1963. American pair Edward Pola (1907-1995) and George Wyle (1916-2003) took the writing credits. Wyle also wrote the theme to television comedy “Gilligan’s Island”. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was not released as a single in 1963 but grew in popularity through the years, largely due to the annual airing of the tune each festive season on Williams’ television show. The 1963 track made its first appearance in the British singles charts in 2007 thanks to its use on a Marks & Spencer Christmas advertisement, peaking at No. 21.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

With the kids jingle-belling

And every one telling you

“Be of good cheer”

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

 

It’s the hap-happiest season of all

With those holiday greetings

And gay happy meetings

When friends come to call

It’s the hap-happiest season of all

 

There’ll be parties for hosting

Marshmallows for toasting

And carolling out in the snow

There’ll be scary ghost stories

And tales of the glories

Of Christmases long, long ago

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

There’ll be much mistletoe-ing

And hearts will be glowing

When loved ones are near

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

 

It’s the most wonderful time

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

 

There’ll be parties for hosting

Marshmallows for toasting

And carolling out in the snow

There’ll be scary ghost stories

And tales of the glories

Of Christmases long, long ago

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

 

There’ll be much mistletoe-ing

And hearts will be glowing

When loved ones are near

It’s the most wonderful time

It’s the most wonderful time

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Music bauble 10217844416 – “Mary’s Boy Child”

American singer and actor Harry Belafonte (b. 1927) had a UK Christmas No.1 hit with “Mary’s Boy Child” in 1957, having recorded it the year before for his gold-selling album “An Evening With Belafonte”. American composer Jester Hairston (1901-2000) wrote the song, which returned to the top of the British charts in 1978 thanks to German disco group Boney M and became one of the highest-selling Christmas singles of all-time.

Long time ago in Bethlehem

So the holy bible said

Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ

Was born on Christmas Day

 

Hark now hear the angels sing

A new King born today

And man will live for evermore

Because of Christmas Day

 

While shepherds watched their flock by night

Them see a bright new shining star

Them hear a choir sing

The music seemed to come from afar

 

Now Joseph and his wife Mary

Come to Bethlehem that night

Them find no place to born she child

Not a single room was in sight

 

Hark now hear the angels sing

A new King born today

And man will live for evermore

Because of Christmas Day

 

By and by them find a little nook

In a stable all forlorn

And in a manger cold and dark

Mary’s little boy was born

 

Hark now hear the angels sing

A new King born today

And man will live for evermore

Because of Christmas Day

Music bauble 10217844418 – “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

British songwriter Tommie Connor (1904-1993) wrote the music and lyrics to “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”, which was a US Billboard chart-topping hit in 1952 and then again in 1953 for teenager Jimmy Boyd (1939-2009). The song was commissioned by department store Saks Fifth Avenue to promote the shop’s Christmas card brand. Connor also penned “The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot” among a catalogue of hit songs. Boyd was married for a spell in the early sixties to TV’s Batgirl, Yvonne Craig.

I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus

Underneath the mistletoe last night

She didn’t see me creep

Down the stairs to have a peep

She thought that I was tucked up

In my bedroom fast asleep

Then I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus

Underneath his beard so snowy white

Oh what a laugh it would have been

If Daddy had only seen

Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night

 

I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus

Underneath the mistletoe last night

She didn’t see me creep

Down the stairs to have a peep

She thought that I was tucked up

In my bedroom fast asleep

Then I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus

Underneath his beard so snowy white

Oh what a laugh it would have been

If Daddy had only seen

Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night

Oh what a laugh it would have been

If Daddy had only seen

Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night

Music bauble 10217844420 – “Frosty the Snowman”

Following the success of Gene Autry’s “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” in 1949, “Frosty the Snowman” was written for him the next year in the hope of delivering another top 10 Christmas hit. Composers Jack Rollins (1906-1973) and Steve Nelson (1907-1981) did not disappoint. “Frosty the Snowman” was made into a children’s book in 1950, an animated short in 1954 and a half-hour cartoon special in 1969 narrated by comedian Jimmy Durante. And then there’s Frosty Day. Armonk in Westchester County, New York has an annual parade in honour of Frosty and locals like to believe their hamlet was the setting for the song and story, although nearby towns and villages have claims of their own. Steve Nelson was a regular visitor to Armonk after World War II from his home in White Plains, New York and – according to the official website of ‘Armonk Frosty’ – “moved his young family to Armonk, where he lived for the rest of his life until his death in 1981.” On the same site, Armonk resident Barbara DiGiacinto says the traffic cop in the song whom hollers “Stop!” is based on their former police chief John Hergenhan who…“just happened to be my uncle.”

Frosty the snowman was a happy jolly soul

With a corncob pipe and a button nose

And two eyes made out of coal

Frosty the snowman is a fairytale they say

He was made of snow but the children know

How he came to life one day

 

There must have been some magic in

That old silk hat they found

For when they placed it on his head

He began to dance around

Oh Frosty the snowman was alive as he could be

And the children say he could laugh and play

Just the same as you and me

 

Thumpety thump thump, thumpety thump thump

Look at Frosty go

Thumpety thump thump, thumpety thump thump

Over the hills of snow

 

Frosty the snowman knew the sun was hot that day

So he said: “Let’s run and we’ll have some fun now

Before I melt away”

Down to the village with a broomstick in his hand

Running here and there all around the square saying:

“Catch me if you can”

 

He led them down the streets of town

Right to the traffic cop

And he only paused a moment

When he heard him holler “Stop!”

Frosty the snowman had to hurry on his way

But he waved goodbye saying: “Don’t you cry,

I’ll be back again some day”

 

Thumpety thump thump, thumpety thump thump

Look at Frosty go

Thumpety thump thump, thumpety thump thump

Over the hills of snow

Music bauble 10217844422 – “Auld Lang Syne”

“Auld Lang Syne” is the wonderful work of Robert Burns (1759-1796), the Scottish poet and lyricist – Scotland’s favourite son. He is annually commemorated on Burns Night, which is held on January 25th. This is an occasion of great Scottish nationalism, but he is also celebrated worldwide. This is a must for New Year celebrations. English song version:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And old lang syne?

 

CHORUS: For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

 

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!

And surely I’ll buy mine!

And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

(CHORUS)

We two have run about the slopes,

And picked the daisies fine;

But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,

Since auld lang syne.

(CHORUS)

We two have paddled in the stream,

From morning sun till dine;

But seas between us broad have roared

Since auld lang syne.

(CHORUS)

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!

And give me a hand o’ thine!

And we’ll take a right good-will draught,

For auld lang syne.

(CHORUS to end)

Elf Helper: Also for New Year you might want: “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”

Music bauble 10217844424 – “Blue Christmas”

Texas Troubador Ernest Tubb (1914-1984) – one of the pioneers of country music – originally recorded this song in 1948, but it was made more famous by Elvis Presley in 1957 when he put “Blue Christmas” on his Christmas album. Presley released it as a single in the UK and the US in 1964. Blue Christmas in the western Christian church is a day in the Advent season marking the longest night of the year.

I’ll have a blue Christmas without you

I’ll be so blue just thinking about you

Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree

Won’t be the same dear, if you’re not here with me

And when those blue snowflakes start falling

That’s when those blue memories start calling

You’ll be doin’ all right, with your Christmas of white

But I’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas

You’ll be doin’ all right, with your Christmas of white

But I’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas

Music bauble 10217844425 – “Feliz Navidad”

Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Jose Feliciano (b. 1945) wrote this song in 1970 and it was an international success. Feliciano said the song “has always been a bridge to the cultures that are so dear to me.” The Spanish chorus translates to “Merry Christmas, a prosperous year and happiness.” It is one of the 25 most played and recorded Christmas songs around the world, according to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Feliz Navidad Feliz Navidad

Feliz Navidad Prospero ano y felicidad

Feliz Navidad Feliz Navidad

Feliz Navidad Prospero ano y felicidad

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas

From the bottom of my heart

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas

From the bottom of my heart

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