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Today is Christmas Eve and so it seems appropriate to continue this piece celebrating holiday songs with 5 that are more traditional numbers. I like both "non traditional" and traditional holiday songs, but these few are extra special to me. They may not be rock and roll, but they are a great examples of how music can convey complex emotions like those of the winter holiday season.
To be honest, I don't know who originally wrote or performed any of them. Some are traditional hymns and other are just holiday standards, but they all stand out in my mind as classics of the season.
1: "Walking in a Winter Wonderland"
With it's descriptive imagery of a snow covered landscape, there aren't too many songs that pain a picture as well as this one. Growing up in a part of the world where the holiday season is often accompanied by feet of snow (and usually brutally cold weather as well) probably is part of why I like this song, but there's more to it than that. I think that a lot of the holiday magic that comes from being out in the holiday season comes through in this song as well and that makes it a personal favorite.
2: "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
Although it's one of the more serious holiday numbers (somewhat religious etc), the reason I like this one actually comes from the fact that I used to perform a "funkified" version back in my high school days. That take on this classic number is definitely part of why I've grown so fond of this song, but it's also pretty beautiful with the original "straight" melody as well. Either way it's a good song that helps to remind us that a joyful spirit should come with the holidays along with the gifts and religious connotations.
3: "The Twelve Days of Christmas"
I guess you can debate the "traditional-ness" of this one, but the original versions are surely more traditional than the one by the Chipmunks (although that one is great too). Why I like this song is because of it's marathon nature and the various ways you can interpret all the gifts, both in religious and more secular ways. No holiday season is complete without a complete rendition of this holiday classic.
4: "Oh Come All Ye Faithful"
Definitely one of the more religious songs, but I still like this one a lot. There's something magical about it's melody and how it soars when appropriate (provided you have a talented individual performing it) and yet remains restrained in other moments. I also like this one because it really seems to capture some of the spirit of the holidays and the religious underpinning behind them. Even individuals who are not overtly religious (or are of other religious other than the varieties of Christianity), I think can appreciate this song for it's melody and the emotions that melody conveys.
5: "Silent Night"
Another all time favorite holiday number, there is just something magical about this one to me. The holidays are a very magical time, being the season of joy and giving and this song really seems to capture that feeling through and through. It conjures images of sitting in front of a fireplace (or the lit Christmas tree if you prefer) with the company of friends and/or family on Christmas Eve just enjoying the moment of complete peace. There are religious undertones to this one as well, but I like it again primarily for it's sweeping melody and the emotions involved as it tends to be pretty spine tingling when performed by the right people... joyous, magical and yet a little sad, all at the same time.
This concludes my look at 10 holiday songs to celebrate this winter holiday season. As I said before, these are only a few of my favorites and then tend towards Christmas songs because that is what I celebrate. I don't know hardly any songs for other holidays, although I'm sure there are some good ones out there. Maybe we need a few new rock and roll numbers dedicated to Hanukkah and Kwanzaa in the new year.
Anyways, take some time and check out a few of these holiday songs during this season. You might find a new favorite, or one that just makes you laugh. The holidays are enhanced by all this great music, so lets soak it up and enjoy the magic of the season.
Happy holidays everyone.