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Holiday songs we love, love to hate and didn’t even know were great

Texas Woman’s music professor shares her top 10 classic, annoying and underrated Christmas tunes

Whether you love it, love to hate it or may have never heard of it — Christmas music dominates the airwaves during the holiday season. Kelley Poché-Rodriguez, Ph.D., an assistant visiting professor of music at Texas Woman’s University, suggests some holiday tunes that annoy us or that we love for good reasons. She also suggests some lesser-known songs that we should give a chance as we deck the halls this season. 

10 Classic Holiday Songs
Poché-Rodriguez says what makes these songs ‘classic’ is a sense of nostalgia they evoke, regardless of their many varied arrangements.

  1. The Christmas Song” sung by Nat King Cole
  2. I’ll Be Home for Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby
  3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sung by Judy Garland
  4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings” sung by the Barenaked Ladies/Sarah McLachlan
  5. “Do You Hear What I Hear” performed by Pink Martini
  6. “Silent Night” performed by Pentatonix
  7. Jingle Bells” sung by Ella Fitzgerald
  8. “Ding Dong Merrily on High” performed by the Canadian Brass and American Boychoir
  9. “Deck the Halls” performed by Ottmar Liebert (guitar)
  10. O Holy Night” sung by Luciano Pavarotti

10 (Annoying) Holiday Songs We Love to Hate
According to Poché-Rodriguez, the following songs may annoy us because they are repetitive (12 somethings something, 11 others other, 10 blah blahs blah blah), obnoxious (cue donkey sounds), or simply ridiculous (Do they know it’s Christmas? Yes, they most likely do).

  1. Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time” sung by Paul McCartney
  2. “Dominic the Donkey” sung by Lou Monte
  3. Santa Baby” sung by Earth Kitt
  4. 12 Days of Christmas” sung by John Denver and the Muppets (it’s so long and annoying no matter who sings it)
  5. Do They Know It’s Christmas” performed by Band Aid
  6. Christmas Don't Be Late” sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks
  7. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” sung by Perry Como
  8. Feliz Navidad” sung by Jose Feliciano
  9. Carol of the Bells” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  10. I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas” sung by Gayla Peevey 

10 Lesser-Known Holiday Songs You Should Give a Listen
Poché-Rodriguez recommends we add the following songs to our holiday music repertoire for their beauty, variety, and overall sentiment — either moving or funny — during this special time of year.

  1. Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming” performed by the Canadian Brass
  2. Merry Christmas, Darling” sung by The Carpenters
  3. A La Nanita Nana” sung by Gino and Sofia Quilico. A classic song in Spanish-speaking countries, this beautiful lullaby is particularly meaningful at Christmas.
  4. Christmas Time is Here” performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio for the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Though most-associated with the classic Christmas special, Poché-Rodriguez says this song can stand on its own.
  5. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  6. Song for a winter's night" sung by Sarah McLachlan 
  7. Mary Did You Know?” sung by Pentatonix
  8. “Handel: Messiah, For unto us a child is born” performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and Tenebrae choir 
  9. You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch” sung by Thurl Ravenscroft
  10. The Chanukah Song” sung by Adam Sandler

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Page last updated 11:20 AM, June 11, 2019