Confession time. Despite my best intentions of bah-humbugedness, I do have a soft spot for Christmas music. Not all Christmas music, of course. There are some songs, or particular versions of songs, which should just go away and never, ever come back. But many of the songs are really quite nice. Although even for the nice ones, NOT OK for them to be on 24/7 starting around Thanksgiving and everywhere I go. I like my Christmas music in appropriate doses at times of my choosing.
I’m not sure exactly what it is, since I’m not into the Santa Claus or LBJ aspects. Maybe it’s the seasonality of it, in our increasingly year-round culture. Maybe it’s that connection to the past, the tribal/community aspect of sharing music, and using our voices in celebration. Nostalgia for simpler times. Memories of singing or hearing a particular song – sometimes an amazingly beautiful rendition, others a mish-mosh of out-of-tuneness that overcomes any lack of skill with enthusiasm and joy. Whatever it is, I find myself humming along, and smiling, more than I want to admit.
This was somewhat prompted, well, besides the being December thing, but hearing on the radio a list of most-recorded Christmas songs.
1. Silent Night, with 733 different copyrighted recordings.
2. Joy to the World, 391 recordings.
3. O Holy Night, 374 recordings.
4. What Child Is This?, 329 recordings.
5. Away in a Manger, 300 recordings.
6. O Come All Ye Faithful, 296 recordings.
7. White Christmas, 283 recordings.
8. Ave Maria, 270 recordings.
9. Jingle Bells, 254 recordings.
10. The Christmas Song, 254 recordings. (That’s the one that starts with “chipmunks, er, chestnuts roasting on an open fire” – who knew that was the title?)