A lot of sentimentality comes up around Christmas songs. I think only smells can evoke more particular memories. For me, anyway. This post is more a present for myself (though I really made out presentwise today!) than a post others will find interesting.
"That Spirit of Christmas" sung by Ray Charles. Reminds me of the Great Christmas Triathlon of 1989. The best of the Philly-South Jersey-Staten Island holiday runs. It was nice to be middle class. And one of the Best Christmas Movie Scenes soundtrack songs, when Clark is stuck in the attic watching home movies.
"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". I can still hear Poppa singing this, the only one he sang here and there throughout every Christmas season. My dad was never averse to a Rheingold, and after the first there would be music. He really put himself into a song, too. It always surprises me when people say their family didn't make music together. We sang all the time and most played instruments. The immortal Johnny Cash sings it here:
"Little Drummer Boy". My Mom had a lot of standards that were played over and over. Anything on the Harry Simone Chorale album this is from is Mom at Christmas.
"The Carol of the Bells". Reminds me of my brother Tommy. He was the only other Progrocker in the family. And also Joe Crompton, who calls it "Sinister Bells", which has made me appreciate it in a whole new way:
"FONY". Someday, we're singing this on air, Stevil. Seth and I tried singing this many times and he never got through it without cracking up. This is more than worthy of watching; the whole documentary is great. It is Shane MacGowan, so be warned.
"Jingle Bells". I think it's the first song I learned. We sang it in goofy voices, yelled it like in "A Christmas Story", imitated Bob Dylan singing it. When Billy came home from Vietnam he had new lyrics which I won't repeat here. In this vid, the dog at 1:23 looks just like my bff Blackie, who took off into the woods of PA 32 years ago next week and disappeared.
And last but not least...
"O Holy Night". Christmas Eve, 1969. My soon-to-be stepfather has the day off and takes me to the movies, and we buy white chocolate which I'd never had before. I am to sing this solo at the 7 o'clock service at CCBR. We've been rehearsing for weeks. I eat a boatload of the chocolate, which makes me so sick I spend the night in bed, missing my one opportunity to sing this song.
20 hours ago