Whenever the subject of Christmas songs is brought up in conversations, there always seems to be a 50/50 split -- people either love them or loathe them. I like to think I'm in the former group.
I adore Christmas songs. But I must admit I'm picky. Very picky.
Sometimes the songs themselves annoy me to no end like "The Twelve Days of Christmas." It feels like it never ends! What are you waiting for? Just skip to the end!
Sometimes it's the way the artists sing the Christmas carols. Mariah Carey's vocal inflections make me want to rip the speakers out of my car in "All I Want For Christmas Is You." How does that go again, Mariah? Christma-uh-AH-uh-as?
Sometimes my interest in the novelty songs I sort of like wear off. I'm looking at you "Feliz Navidad." Does anyone actually know the words in between "feliz navidad" and "I wanna wish you a merry Christmas" without actually looking it up online?
To me, there are three singers I look for that never disappoint me come Christmastime. Whenever I hear their voices, it feels like it's Christmas.
That's right. Sam the Snowman himself. That distinct baritone voice has so much personality in songs like "A Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." When I was a kid my mother and I would always listen to the "Rudolph" soundtrack. I may have complained about her overplaying some of her CDs, but I never complained about Burl Ives.
When I think of Christmas, I think of old traditions. Little things that we carry down to our families that always seem to take shape during the holiday season. And I don't think there's a voice as traditional or classic as Bing Crosby's. Songs like "Silent Night" and "White Christmas" are about as classic as they come. I remember I used to have this Christmas music box as a kid that would play a small verse of "White Christmas," and I'm pretty sure I played that over and over until it broke.
NAT KING COLE
I get in the Christmas mood immediately upon listening to those opening strings and verses of "The Christmas Song." Nat King Cole is the man. My grandpa introduced me to this famed jazz pianist and singer when I was just a little kid. I have distinct memories of riding in the back seat of my grandpa's pickup as we drove through neighborhoods looking at all the Christmas lights on the houses, and all the while Nat King Cole played on the stereo. His soulful and clear voice is always a welcomed addition to my holiday festivities.