Things you never knew about Christmas songs
The phrase ‘Christmas songs’ puts you in an entirely different world. It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas or not, but the phrase itself reminds you of bells, snow, and candles. This is the effects of top Christmas songs practically everyone has heard and sung at some time of their life.
What is even more mystifying are the different types or genres of Christmas songs there are. There are the most popular Christmas songs which are steeped with history and medieval chants. Then there are some songs which have their beginnings in schools, churches, and meditations.
Classic Christmas songs – Pure music talent
It’s not just the type. Even the people who had penned the best Christmas songs are so varied in nature and occupation. You have Christmas songs from famous classical composers, pop lyricists, Broadway theater producers, teachers, and even simple pastors. They all could do this because of their inherent musical talent.
While the old and classic Christmas songs are evergreen and quite popular, not all Christmas albums released by pop singers are successful. Some of them end up getting stale. It’s perhaps because they are remixes of existing songs people have heard a thousand times.
They hardly come up with any new materials to make people want to listen to their Christmas songs. They may at the most compose one or two songs but they don’t become that popular.
Different types of Xmas songs
However, there is one modern Christmas song that has ended up becoming a holiday classic. It’s the one from the queen of Christmas music, Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’. This makes you wonder which types of Christmas songs managed to work in the past, which is what is explained here.
1. Classic Christmas songs for Jesus
As expected, these are the Xmas songs that appear in church hymnals which were composed somewhere between the 1500s and 1800s. These Christmas songs foster a feeling of thankfulness and humility in you when you listen to them.
It also makes you feel devotional. Some of the most popular Christmas songs in this genre include ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’, ‘Silent Night’ and ‘God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen’.
2. Christmas songs of the Golden Era
Practically everyone loves listening to these Xmas songs. It reached out to people of all generations, be it grandparents, parents or children. They enjoy listening to the warm and harmonious voices of legends like Bing Crosby, Brenda Lee and Frank Sinatra.
People who still have record players are lucky enough to enjoy these Xmas songs to the hilt. They sound the best in their original vinyl version. You slowly forget your troubles and feel filled with warmth and guidance inside. Or course, they’re now quite good renditions of these Christmas songs available online today too.
3. Secular Christmas songs or songs composed for movies
You may be aware that there are quite a few songs which were composed for other reasons but finally became popular Christmas songs. There’s the song ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ that was first composed based on the same-named illustrated children’s book.
It was then turned into a film and is today a famous Christmas song for kids. There are other Xmas songs which were more secular than sacred and composed for movies like Jingle Bell Rock and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
They are now popular Christmas songs and have been around for quite some time now. Taking a look at the internet; you will be surprised at the number of popular Christmas songs lists you can choose from today. It’s all thanks to the media and the excessive acceptance and demand for secular Xmas songs that led to this.
4. Pop covers
Pop covers are the final entry and could be considered the epitome of commercialization of Christmas songs. As mentioned earlier, most of them are good, but not all of them are great.
However, you can say that pop covers have to lead to one fun development in Xmas songs worth mentioning. This is nothing other than the fact that these songs are more like funny Christmas songs with some humor added to it. Besides, the presence of all-time favorites like Mickey Mouse does add some levity to Christmas holiday parties.
Some of the songs end up getting recorded and re-recorded so many times by different artists. So it’s not surprising that there is a debate every year about which version of certain Christmas songs are better.
Which genre of Christmas songs is the best?
Now, this is a difficult question to answer because different people like different types of Xmas songs. Each has their own preferences. However you could broadly speculate that the most famous Christmas songs are those with a catchy melody.
Even songs which revolve around being home for Christmas and how much they love Christmas are quite popular. There are also songs highlighting a wish to be with the people we love during this time of the year.
Some people like funny Christmas songs which don’t make much sense. The fact that these songs take them back to childhood is what makes them the best Christmas songs.
It’s only in childhood that you get to do silly things like asking Santa for a giraffe or even a tooth without getting laughed at. It’s these innocent memories that the Xmas songs trigger, so they rightly deserve to be considered the best Christmas songs to some people.
How to download top Christmas songs
The internet now makes it so easy to listen to your favorite and popular Christmas songs. You just have to surf the internet using the right keywords to listen to any type of Christmas song.
Unlike music stores, websites don’t have an opening and closing times. You can listen to, and download songs 24/7 from the comfort of your home. You can do it even in your pajamas, relaxed after a long day’s work.
These sites not only offer a list of the best Christmas songs for you but also let you create customized Christmas song lists. You can then share these lists with whomever you want, and play them wherever you want.
Yes, all you have to do is download all your popular Christmas songs on your mobile device and play it at any venue. You can use the help of a good speaker to enhance the effects of the songs.
Personalized e-cards with top Xmas songs
You can also use your best Christmas songs to make personalized e-cards to send to your family and friends. There is no better way to mark the holiday season than with a commemorative Xmas ecard with popular Christmas songs.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the time to download and create your own Christmas song lists. Most of the sites have Christmas songs lists ready for you. The sites generally have a compilation of the 10 most popular Christmas songs of the year.
Some of them have Christmas songs lists in different genres for you to choose from. You just download the Christmas songs list if you find one with all your favorite Xmas songs.
If the site doesn’t have a playlist you like, you can create one by clicking on the links of your chosen Xmas songs. You can carry this playlist around to play and share it with anyone you want.
Once you customize your Christmas songs list, you don’t even need an internet connection to share and play it. You can do it using your device’s Bluetooth feature.
Interesting facts about popular Christmas songs
Now that you know about downloading the best Christmas songs, and the different types, here are some interesting things about a few of them.
1. Classical Christmas songs were written by the Jews
Did you know that the popular Christmas songs Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Holly Jolly Christmas were written by a Jew, Johnny Marks? It was his brother-in-law who had written the original Rudolf story, which allowed Johnny to write a Christmas song.
You would assume that someone who had written these songs would do some Christmas things like hanging stockings or having a tree in the living room. You are very wrong. On the contrary, he never even bothered to do all this.
He wasn’t even thrilled about his song is a popular Christmas song. He had mentioned in 1980 that he hadn’t expected to be remembered for this. Even though he had written some other non-Christmas songs, they aren’t worth listening to.
Marks wasn’t the only Jew who had written Christmas songs. You also have the proud Jewish Irving Berlin who had written some other popular Christmas songs, ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Let It, Snow’. The song was co-written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, making it entirely Jewish.
You also have Mel Torme, another Jewish writing ‘The Christmas Song’. He had released an entire album of Christmas songs in the 1990s.
2. ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ was sung by a Veterinarian
This Christmas song is common on a least favorite Christmas songs lists. It was written by Randy Brooks in 1978 as a joke. However, the fact that it went on to sell more than 40 million copies later puts the joke on us.
Brooks had asked the husband-and-wife pair, Elmo and Patsy to perform the song. However, Patsy doesn’t sing or play on the track and divorced Elmo a little after the song was aired.
However, Elmo Shropshire was a licensed veterinarian, specializing in equine care, and an Auburn University graduate. He is the best-known vet parody singer around. The Christmas song ended up getting officially recorded thrice.
The first and original recording was done and released in 1979, and the second and third recordings in 1982 and 1984. Of the three, it’s the 1984 version that’s the best, and was recalled for its descriptive music video.
3. Jingle Bells was meant for Thanksgiving
‘Jingle Bells’ is one of the most popular Christmas songs, which everyone associates with Christmas. However, it was ironically more connected with Thanksgiving at its inception.
According to lore, the music director James Lord Pierpont wrote the song for thanksgiving celebrations. He wrote it for his father’s churches in Savannah, Georgia, and Medford, Massachusetts.
It’s not known what exactly happened after that because both cities claim the song’s origins. According to the Savannah story, the congregation’s children liked the song so much that they asked Pierpont to include it in their Christmas pageant.
Whatever the origins of this Xmas song, it has certainly grown into a really popular Christmas song. This is a song that’s truly associated with Christmas and not Thanksgiving!
4. The Mob financed ‘Dominick the Donkey’
The Christmas Song ‘Dominick the Donkey’ was first recorded by Lou Monte in the year 1960, and ended up a modest hit. However, it’s interesting to know that the song worked out to get a much better response and rating in Great Britain about 51 years ago.
If you wonder why, well it’s largely because of a campaign organized by BBC Radio One DJ Chris Moyles. He had turned to his fans to help increase the song’s ratings on the British iTunes chart.
He somehow managed to bring Moyles, who speaks both English and Italian, to number 3 by moving 93,000 units. However, this was possible only thanks to the Mafia, otherwise the song would not have been recorded at all.
According to lore, the Gambino crime family, which was one of the largest US Mafia families, supported Monte because he was an Italian. Carlo Gambino was the family boss, and it wasn’t odd to lend money to another Italian to end up making a profit.
While the mob wasn’t actually into music, they were famous for helping singers like Frank Sinatra. As there are no stories of anything going amiss with Monte about the deal, it’s assumed that the deal had smoothly gone through.
5. The Nuclear War inspired ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’
The Christmas song ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’ is one of the most popular Christmas songs around. Though the song was written in 1962, various artists have recorded it more than 100 times over the years.
However, did you know that the husband and wife, Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne who wrote the song, didn’t write it thinking about Christmas? Ironically, it was not the happy Christmas season they had in mind, but the war.
This is because the Cuban Missile Crisis was going on in full force when they were writing the song. They had written the song as a symbol and prayer for peace. Not many know that the line in the song, ‘with a tail as big as a kite’ doesn’t refer to the Star of Bethlehem. It refers to a missile.
It was the Harry Simeone Charole, known for performing ‘Little Drummer Boy’, who first released the song on November 1962. The song became such a huge hit that more than 250,000 singles were sold before Christmas.
6. A really old Christmas song- “O Come, O Come, Emmanual’
It’s a known fact that the Christmas song ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’ was rather popular in the 18th century. However not many know that it’s a much older song, with origins going further back.
History states that the song was originally penned in Latin in about the ninth century. The first verse is said to refer to Psalms 137 which alludes to Israel’s bondage.
The most logical explanation is that the song’s first composers were Gregorian monks. However its true lineage is not known, but it does seem to have a clear history and association with Christmas for more than 1200 years.
It was in 1851that the song was translated from Latin to English. It was done by John Mason Neale and it was after the translation that the song grew so popular.
It is today one of the oldest continually sung Christmas songs around. It’s also one of the few popular Christmas songs known for it’s popularity in culture and also for being sung in churches.
7. First Christmas Songs mentioning Santa
The first and original Christmas songs were all focused on His birth. It was only after some time that they started revolving around Santa Claus, and he was brought into the picture. ‘Jingle Bells’ was the first song to mention Santa, to be followed by another Christmas song, ‘Up on the House-Top’.
It was composed in the year 1864 by Benjamin Hanby. There is some mention of ‘St. Nick’, who is Santa Claus, in the song. This makes the song the first Christmas song to include Santa.
Hanby was inspired by Clement Clarke Moore’s poem, ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’. Both works of art revolve on the idea of having a sleigh on the roof and later Santa Claus climbing down the chimney.
This was something new and absent in the other older Father Christmas or Sinterklass versions. In fact, according to Dutch lore, their Santa- Sinterklass doesn’t do the ‘messy’ job of going down chimneys. It’s his assistant, ‘Black Pete’ who does it all for him.
8. “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ was sung by Tony the Tiger
Did you know that the famous Christmas song ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ was sung by a voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft? Boris Karloff had indeed narrated the famous Dr. Seuss classic. However as he couldn’t sing, the production team had to call in Ravenscroft to handle the songs.
Unfortunately, no one knew about Ravenscroft’s singing talents because he was never credited for it. This is why everyone was of the impression that it was Karloff who sang the song.
Though you may not know the name Ravenscroft, his voice is no secret. You are sure to recognize his voice, which was lent for many characters on Disney rides and shows. He, however, is most famous for playing ‘Tony the Tiger’ for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes TV ads.
Everyone Loves Christmas Songs
Not everyone is ready to acknowledge the fact that they enjoy listening to Christmas songs. Some people tend to lie and say that they keep switching channels during Christmas time, trying to avoid the Christmas songs. However, this is all a lie.
It’s proven by the fact that radio station ratings tend to double once they start playing Xmas songs 24/7. If you thought that advertising about Christmas long before Thanksgiving was, well what about playing Christmas songs 3 months before Christmas?
Some channels play Christmas songs from as early as October 5th. This means you can enjoy listening to Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ a few hundred times in the holiday season.
Benefits of listening to Christmas songs
Christmas songs do much more than improve the mood and bring in the holiday season. Whether you know it or not, listening to Christmas songs repeatedly can do much more.
It can do things like promote learning, improve your physical fitness and even improve family bonding. If you wonder why, it’ through these advantages Christmas songs have to offer.
Improves family bonding
Xmas songs go a long way into promoting family bonding. You just have to play your best Christmas songs in your car, or at least sing it with your child. The many sites on the internet hosting Christmas songs also provide various Christmas songs lyrics.
Reading the lyrics, and singing Christmas songs along with your family members help promote and improve your family bonding. You can even put in some extra effort into spending time with your family by sharing stories about Christmas songs which you especially like. Even acting silly like wearing caps is permitted during Christmas with family, to strengthen emotional and family bonds.
Christmas songs notes and vibes resonate throughout the house
There’s no better way to create a Christmas atmosphere at home than by playing Christmas songs. Children especially enjoy listening to Christmas songs for kids because of its rhythmic tunes. Besides, the songs instil a festive mood and put everyone in the mood to clean and decorate the house for Santa Claus.
Teaches children a sense of rhythm and dance
Listening to Christmas songs regularly helps instil a sense of rhythm and order in your children. Some of them, in fact, start learning to dance just by moving to the beat of Christmas songs.
Similarly, they also learn how to sing the songs. Children are quick to learn things so they will quickly grasp the lyrics if exposed to Christmas songs everyday.
Christmas songs for kids help promote learning
Many children tend to associate the tunes of their favorite Christmas songs for kids while learning. It makes it easier for them to learn things like historical events, equations and even theorems to the tune of the songs.
Listen to Xmas songs while working out
Just like children use Christmas songs to help them study, many people use Christmas songs to make their workouts interesting. Just download a few Christmas songs into your iPod mix or create a playlist, and workout to the beats of the songs.
Some Christmas songs you could incorporate n your workout routine are:
- White Christmas
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
- Oh Come All Ye Faithful
- Jingle Bells
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Music is uplifting
Any form of music is known to be uplifting because all art forms stimulate endorphins in the brain. It’s not surprising that Christmas songs bring tears to of joy, and smiles to many people’s faces.
With Christmas music being associated with a particular time of the year, Christmas songs tend to revive memories associated with Christmas. For example, it may trigger the scents of roasting turkey and baking pies.
Or you may be reminded of white snowy mornings, sweet pine scents and twinkling of lights. Whatever you are reminded of, these thoughts that Xmas songs invoke are a great feeling.
It’s something few other forms of music can do. You feel great and look forward to your day and work after listening to Christmas songs.
Best Christmas songs for kids
Here are a few suggestions of Christmas songs for kids. You could create a Christmas songs list for them to listen to whenever in the mood to listen to some music.
It’s even better if you give them a brief explanation of what the different songs mean. They will enjoy the songs better once they understand the meanings of the Christmas lyrics.
Here Comes Santa Claus
Nothing is more exciting for children than the thought of looking forward to Santa Claus’s arrival. It’s the perfect song to play especially on Christmas Eve as your children wait in anticipation for Jolly ‘Ol Saint Nick.
Frosty the Snowman
Snow is the harbinger for the holidays, and Frosty will be around for only a short time. However you could at least make his presence more memorable by playing this song.
It’s worth having it play on repeat when the first snowfall hits the city. Who knows? It may be just the inspiration your kids need to go out and build a snowman!
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph will always have a special place in children’s hearts. It’s no wonder because he’s an integral part of Santa’s overnight Christmas expedition. Children generally feel that if it wasn’t for Rudolph, there was no way that they would receive their Christmas presents.
Santa Claus is coming to Town
Children believe that Santa is constantly watching their moves. It is this fear that prompts them to be good. No kid wants to end up with any black spots for being in trouble on the list at all. Playing this Christmas song reminds them that Santa will be coming soon, which means they have to be in their best behavior.
There are no other Christmas songs lyrics that are so memorable than this song’s “Oh what fun it is to ride on a one-horse open sleigh!”. In fact no one can resist singing this wintertime jam, giving you all the more reason to include it in your Christmas songs playlist. After all, it’s a classic, and deserves a place in any playlist!
Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree holds a special place in everyone’s hearts. This is where you spend time together wrapping and opening gifts and decorating the tree. So many people end up playing around the tree and bring out Xmas spirit with this upbeat jam.
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year
This is a classical Christmas song that children should listen to. It gives the perfect description to winter, and lets children know exactly why people swoon over the season.
All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)
Listening to this Christmas song makes children realize that you don’t just make materialists wishes for Christmas. It makes them realize that some children don’t want anything material like new clothes or toys.
All they want is their two front teeth or any other similar immaterial wish, just to live a better life. It’s only with their two front teeth back will children be able to whistle and properly wish people.
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
This is the Christmas songs that instigate and make children realize the importance and need to spread warm and loving cheer to everyone they meet this holiday season.
So you see, there is so much about Christmas songs than just its lyrics. There are so many types of Christmas songs, benefits to listening to it and of course, so many Christmas songs lists you can play.
With the internet around you don’t even have to worry about spending money to listen to your best Christmas songs. You just have to visit the right, legit site with Christmas songs. You can then download as many songs as you like for free to listen and to enjoy at your leisure.