The 12 Songs of Christmas

Carlos Hernandez

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Christmas isn’t quite the same this year without busy malls and blaring holiday music. We still have our holiday songs that we can listen to no matter where we are though. Here are 12 of my favorite Christmas songs to put on during the holidays.

Silent Night, Holy Night by Eri Kawai

This version of the popular Christmas Carol "Silent Night" is actually an ending theme to SEGA's Yakuza video game on the PlayStation 2. Yakuza takes you to the underworld of Japan against rivaling gangs and the song plays at the end after you finally defeat your nemesis.

This version of Silent Night has an eerie sound to it, it makes you feel the warmth of the holidays with a bit of a sad undertone. The singer Eri Kawai sadly died on August 4th, 2008 from liver cancer. The song has not been used in remakes of the Yakuza video games, but to me it is something I listen to every holiday season.

Christmas Eve by Yamashita Tatsuro

"Christmas Eve" switches things up from the sad mood and is an upbeat Christmas song. Originally released in 1983 as part of a holiday album, it was released in 1993 in English with lyrics by Alan O'Day. The English version is just as good as the Japanese version in my opinion.

Japan is actually focused more on couples during the holidays and not families so it makes sense that the English translation to the song is about longing for someone on Christmas who isn’t there. I especially like the ending part and that the song just feels magical to listen to. I recommend it.

Ave Maria by Stevie Wonder

I didn’t grow up with Stevie Wonder, but a random CODA on the television show Scandal showcased Ave Maria by Stevie Wonder and I could not resist hitting the replay button over and over. It comes from his 8th studio album called Someday at Christmas.

This version of the song has harmonica sounds that I really love. If you haven’t heard this version of Ave Maria before, I would give it a listen. It is a good song during Christmas or really any other time too.

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Leona Lewis

When it comes to more modern Christmas albums, Leona Lewis is one of my favorites. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) has all the happy holiday vibes I expect from a Christmas song. Her voice is truly incredible. Released in November 2013, the album “Christmas, with Love” was created on the recommendation of Simon Cowell.

Blanca Navidad by Andrea Bocelli

This is perhaps the best version of White Christmas to ever be recorded. It is soothing and heartwarming and you just have to appreciate the ability of Bocelli to masterfully capture each note in both a modern and classic way. Whether you like opera or not, this event really represents the spirit of Christmas. This song will have you wishing for snow whether it’s Christmas or not.

Finale (from the motion picture, "Home Alone 2: Lost In New York) by John Williams

When it comes to film scores, I love this song from Home Alone 2 by John Williams. The entire album is great, but this one just really makes you think of Christmas. I am convinced that John Williams is one of the best film composers of all time and Home Alone 2 is one of his masterpieces. Enjoy this song and the whole album for Christmas.

Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley

For an old school throwback, Blue Christmas by Elvis is a timeless rock-and-roll holiday classic. The song gives happy and sad vibes at the same time and his voice is completely unique. Elvis is an American icon and Blue Christmas is a great homage to that history. The song is short and sweet.

Parranda Trullazo by Trullazo All Star

Anyone who spends a Christmas in Puerto Rico, will tell you it is like no place else. Locals celebrate for weeks at a time and have street carnival parties called parrandas where people sing songs, dance, and play instruments while enjoying delicious food and drinks. All ages attend and it is a joyous time on the island. Parranda Trullazo is on the Navidad Boricua album and celebrates the music from the holidays in the “Isla del Encanto”. Take a listen for a preview.

Charlie Brown Christmas by Mariah Carey

The official ambassador to the North Pole, also known as Mariah Carey, recorded this excellent version of Charlie Brown Christmas originally released in 2010. As a huge Snoopy fan and someone who grew up on Peanuts comics and cartoons, this is a nice bridge for me of my adult and childhood. As usual Mariah has excellent vocals.

The Nutcracker: Scene II by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

I have never seen The Nutcracker before, but I love to put this album on during the holidays. Scene II for me is upbeat and makes me think of the rush of Christmas shopping and rushing home to be with family for Christmas. This year might be a little different, but the song still gives me a happy feeling.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas by Michael Buble

This song is always a great way to start the holidays. Although the Michael Buble Christmas album, originally released in 2011, is somewhat unmatched for the holiday season, this song in particular makes me think of all the happiness and joy that the holidays bring.

Originally I felt like Michael Buble was a little too similar to Frank Sinatra, but I think he truly has solidified himself with this album and I don’t think I have gone one Christmas since this song and album came out without listening to it.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Bing Crosby

My favorite Christmas song! It has a bid of a somber overtone to it and originally written for soldiers overseas. Personally, when I hear this song I think of people shopping the streets and all the crazy loud music blaring over the speakers as Christmas shopping mayhem occurs. Most people enjoy this song because it makes them think of someone else who won’t be there, but I personally don’t relate to that.

Happy listening!

#nbholidaycheer

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I am a writer who covers a number of topics from food to politics and everything in between. Contact: carloshernandesu@gmail.com

Tampa, FL
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