It's been three years since my last Christmas music post and it feels like it's time. I might even update the other post with some fresh comments so I can repost it later this week. Back then I didn't know you could embed the videos right into the post so I can definitely do some revising on that one.
The first post contained 26 of my favorite Christmas songs (my favorite versions of those songs actually), but it was by no means exhaustive. And in the intervening three years I've added several new favorites. You'll be shocked to find American Idol contestants dominating this list I'm sure. They are listed by the play count on my iTunes. That feature is notoriously unreliable, but with a couple of exceptions it did a pretty good job of ranking them (if only because some of the lower ranked ones are the most recent additions to my collection).
Baby It's Cold Outside (Haley Reinhart & Casey Abrams) – I never really thought of adding this song to my Christmas collection until I heard this version last year. Since I tried to like Haley Reinhart's album, without success, this is the only time of year I get to hear her incredible voice. I always laugh when the judges on Idol or X Factor tell the people going home third or fifth or whenever that they are so talented and they are going to be around for a really long time. As lounge singers maybe. Haley and Casey are probably as talented as any other Idol contestant that didn't win (and probably as talented as a few of the winners) but it hasn't translated into any real success. Fortunately, I'll always have this. And if you give it a listen I think you will too.
Oh Holy Night (Kelly Clarkson) – Kelly. Clarkson. A. Capella. That. Is. All.
It's Christmas Time (The Carpenters) – I've already said that if I could only listen to one Christmas album forever, it would be The Carpenters' A Christmas Portrait so it shouldn't be surprising that there are a couple songs from that album here. It's like this song was written for her voice.
Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You (Katharine McPhee) – Thank God Smash made it cool to love Katharine McPhee again. Not that I had any intention of stopping, but at least now when people ask who she is I don't have to say, “She was runner-up to Taylor Hicks on season five of American Idol.” That always made me throw up a little in my mouth. I'm surprised iTunes doesn't have this higher on the list but I feel like I play the hell out of it. In fact, when I typed “Chri” into the You Tube search box, it immediately gave me Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You Katharine McPhee. If I could, I would DEMAND that you love this song.
My Grown-Up Christmas List (Kelly Clarkson) – I'm ashamed to admit that Kelly recorded this song in 2003 and I didn't own it until 2009. I didn't fall in love with her until 2005 and I didn't do too much investigation of her songs before then until later on. I think I knew at one point that she had recorded this but then forgot. Damn ADD. But I have it now and that's all that matters.
Silver Bells (Katharine McPhee) – I'd never found a version of this song I liked even as much as the Mitch Miller and the Gang version of this song. Until I heard Kat sing it. I seriously don't know how she's not a superstar. She's my new Karen Carpenter. I think her voice is almost perfect (not as powerful and awesome as Kelly's, but perfect in its tone).
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve (Katharine McPhee) – I never heard this song until I heard Kat sing it, now it's one of my ten favorite Christmas songs without a doubt (regardless what iTunes thinks).
Who Would Imagine a King (Katharine McPhee / Whitney Houston) – No, they didn't do a duet of this song. I just really don't have a preference. I practiced contempt prior to investigation on this song for years. For whatever reason, I decided there was no possible way I could like a song called Who Would Imagine a King. First of all, the title didn't even make sense to me. I suppose it would have if I had bothered to listen to the song. Anyway, even though I've had Katharine McPhee's Christmas album since it was released in 2010 I only listened to this song for the first time three weeks ago (on Thanksgiving night). It's really pretty. I'm posting the Whitney Houston version here, but you should look for Kat's version as well.
Home for the Holidays (The Carpenters) – I can't listen to any other version of this song. I just can't. And you shouldn't either. I forbid it.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Carrie Underwood) – I hated this song until I heard Carrie Underwood sing it. Even if the only people I ever found about from American Idol were Kelly, Kat and Carrie it would have been worth every episode I've watched since 2003.
Little Saint Nick (The Beach Boys) – I have a friend that thinks this song is proof of Satan, but I just dig it. I mean, c'mon dude, it's the little St. Nick. Run run reindeer.
One Wish (Whitney Houston) – I have no idea why I waited until she was dead to finally download her Christmas album, but I'm glad I did. Every time one of her songs comes up on my play list, it always makes me smile.
Do You Hear What I Hear (Carrie Underwood) – I won't pretend this version is as classic as Whitney's, but I think it's the first time since Whitney's version that I've been impressed by someone singing this song.
A Winter's Tale (David Essex) – There couldn't be a more depressing song ever put on a Christmas album, but there it was on my 100% Pure Christmas 2-CD set. And for reasons I can't really explain, I love it.
Another Rock 'n' Roll Christmas (Gary Glitter) – I've never really admitted how much I love this song. It feels like it's probably on every “worst Christmas songs ever” list ever written, but I don't care. I break out into involuntary dance every time I hear it.