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December 24, 2010

Christmas Favorites

Joe Charlebois

Okay, so this isn’t a column, but I wanted to keep it light this wonderful Christmas Eve. Here is what I consider a collection of Christmas Classics with the top in each category.


Top Christmas Movies of All Time

It’s A Wonderful Life

Miracle of 34th Street

A Christmas Story


How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Polar Express

Home Alone

The Santa Clause



Animated Movies

Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer

A Year Without a Santa Claus

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Frosty the Snowman

The Little Drummer Boy

How the Grinch Stole Christmas


Runner Up As Best All-Time:

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) – Only 25 minutes in length, this animated classic is Charles Schulz’ first shot across the bow of Christmas commercialism. The story takes place on the stage of the Peanuts® gang elementary school as Charlie Brown is appointed director of the Christmas play. While everyone expects the newest, fanciest and greatest of decorations, including an aluminum Christmas tree, Charlie returns with a tree no larger that a sapling that can barely support a single ornament. As Charlie shows his frustration at everyone’s attempt to focus on the commercial aspects and not the true meaning, Linus steps forward to explain the birth of Jesus Christ.


Best of All-Time:

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – Tops in all Christmas live action movies. Starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, this classic, although technically not a made for Christmas movie, is wholly a Christmas classic. Frank Capra, if not inventing the “life-would-be-better-without-me” themed movie, perfected it. Dozens of movies, if not more, have tried to replicate the Capra model. None can match it.



Favorite Christmas Songs of All Time

*Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – Gene Autry

Do You Hear What I Hear? – Johnny Mathis

Silver Bells – Kate Smith

Silent Night – Bing Crosby

*White Christmas – Bing Crosby

Christmas Auld Lang Syne – Bobby Darin

*The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas – Perry Como

‘Zat You, Santa Claus? – Louis Armstrong & The Commanders

Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Dean Martin

Joy to the World – Percy Faith

*Happy Christmas (War is Over) – John Lennon

Run Run Rudolph – Chuck Berry

*Little Saint Nick – The Beach Boys

*Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms

*Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band

We Four Kings (Little Drummer Boy) – The Blue Hawaiians

White Christmas – The Drifters

Christmas Must Be Tonight – Robbie Robertson

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings – Barenaked Ladies & Sara McLachlan

Auld Land Syne – Straight No Chaser

Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Dave Brubeck Quartet

Spirit of the Season – Polar Express – Alan Silvestri

Believe – Polar Express – Josh Groban

Carol of the Bells – Manheim Steamroller

Some Children See Him – George Winston

Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head – George Winston

A Mad Russian’s Christmas – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Wizards in Winter – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Christmas/Sarajevo 12/24 – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

The Holly and the Ivy – George Winston

Stille Nacht – Manheim Steamroller

*Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid

*Home For The Holidays – Perry Como

*Frosty The Snowman – Gene Autry

Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano

Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley

Please Come Home For Christmas – The Eagles

I Believe in Father Christmas – Greg Lake

Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives


Runner Up – Best Christmas Song:

White Christmas – Bing Crosby (1942) – Written by composer Irving Berlin, how could the greatest selling Christmas song ever released not be at or near the top of the list? Sung by Bing Crosby – the grandfather of modern Christmas songs and the Christmas special – this classic, written as troops were away for Christmas, became a popular staple for radio play at the front and the home front. Of note, this song was written not originally for the movie White Christmas but the movie Holiday Inn, both of which starred Bing Crosby.


Best Christmas Song:

Stille Nacht – Mannheim Steamroller (2005) – This Chip Davis arrangement, only six years old, has to be considered an instant classic. Even though it has been used with lyrics to bring other messages (e.g. Father Ted’s A Soldier’s Silent Night), this version of Silent Night allows true introspection and time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. If you have a Christmas music collection without this song, it isn’t complete.


Merry Christmas to all!


* Top 25 – compiled by WCBS – FM


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