Christmas carols I don’t get sick of

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My children would listen to Christmas carols well into March if they could. They come by it honestly, because I love this season and everything about it.  (Yes, I know we’re technically still in Advent and it’s not the Christmas season just yet, but please don’t Scrooge on my parade.)   I love Christmas carols, and from the day after Thanksgiving on I’m always listening to them at home and in the car.  It makes for a very jolly Ginny.

That said, even I find that certain carols have pretty much worn out their welcome.   This has nothing to do with the quality of the songs and everything to do with massive overexposure.  Where I used to love “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” for example, now it  just makes me roll my eyes and feel all blah-la-la-la-la.  I’m sure you’ve got your own list of “Not AGAIN!” holiday songs, most likely the ones that are on a constant loop at department stores this time of year.

So if the first few bars of “Sleigh Ride” make you want to stick a knife in your eye,  or at least fast-forward to January, may I offer some alternatives?

1)  Gabriel’s Message, an old Basque carol (covered memorably by Sting).  It’s kind of mysterious, sort of somber … and very cool.

2) I Saw Three Ships.  It’s sprightly, it’s singable, it’s English … and it’s really not covered by very many recording artists (maybe a good thing?).

3)  O Holy Night by Josh Groban.  This one could easily fit into the “overplayed” category, but Groban’s rendition is so honest, so clean, and devoid of all the trills and frills that singers usually want to add to this song.  It’s really lovely.

4)  We Need a Little Christmas.  This is a feel-good song, pure and simple.

5)  The Little Road to Bethlehem.  I didn’t know anything about this song  until I heard Hayley Westenra’s album Winter Magic.  I love any carol about Mary, and this is a particularly sweet one.

6) Speaking of Mary, Mary’s Little Boy Child has got to be one of the most beautiful ones out there.  I grew up hearing Andy Williams sing it, but Harry Belafonte’s version is hard to top.

7)  Christmas choral music never gets old for me.  If you want to hear some of the best, look up English composer John Rutter and the choir of Kings College, Cambridge.  One of the loveliest pieces ever written for the season is Rutter’s Angels’ Carol, here below.  It always puts me in such a peaceful, hopeful place.

 

 

What about you? What are the Christmas songs that you never tire of hearing?

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