When I hear these songs, I know it’s Christmas

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965)

There are certain songs you always associate with Christmas, from Bing Crosby’s White Christmas to Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song. There are so many songs significant to the Christmas holiday that brings a bit of nostalgia and are memories we all share in one form or another. There are some songs that truly epitomize the spirit of Christmas, and when you hear them, you know the holidays are upon us.

I have a few favorites that are at the top of my Christmas playlist and the songs I always crank up in the car and sing along whenever I hear them. Please believe me when I say I love all Christmas music, but these are my absolute favorites that I have to hear regularly from Thanksgiving through Christmas Day.

David Bowie and Bing Crosby, Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas (1977)

Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth by Bing Crosby and David Bowie – If you haven’t found this absolute gem on YouTube, you need to find it and watch/listen to it NOW. Just seeing and hearing these two distinct generations of singers come together to sing such a classic and beautiful Christmas song in such a unique way was so memorable. The deep tones of Bing Crosby with David Bowie’s powerful voice were so perfectly matched. This song takes a simple Christmas carol and makes it an instant classic.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Bruce Springsteen – There are so many versions of Santa Claus is Coming to Town, but none is better than the gruff vocal tones of “The Boss” in this Christmas hit. As soon as you hear the jingling of bells and Bruce talking to the band about if they’ve been good or not, you are instantly put into the Christmas spirit. Then it goes to the next level with Clarence Clemon’s saxophone solo near the end of the song. You can’t help but find yourself singing and dancing with Santa Claus and the E Street Band.

Christmas Time is Here by The Vince Guaraldi Trio – There is one holiday special we all watch every year, and that’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. The Vince Guaraldi Trio made jazz hip in the decade of Elvis Presley and The Beatles. You know every note of every song but when you hear the tinkling of the ivories, the quiet rasp of the drum, then the children’s choir singing, you run to the TV and sit down because A Charlie Brown Christmas is on. The innocence of this song makes you think of ice skating, decorations and aluminum Christmas trees.

I Believe in Father Christmas by Greg Lake – This is such a unique Christmas song that crosses both religion and the legend of Father Christmas in one song. Greg Lake, the voice of 70’s rock “superband” Emerson Lake and Palmer, strums an acoustic guitar and sings a memorable song about Christmas, and yet, its not. It was intended to be a song about the commercialism of Christmas and the loss of innocence of childhood. And yet, when you hear this song, it means none of those things to me. I just love the symphonic sound and the melodious vocals in this song that means Christmas to me.

Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band-Aid – This was one of the first modern Christmas songs to stand on its own. This song, to me, has a bit of the spirit of A Christmas Carol in it. We listen to the lyrics of this song and we think about how, at Christmas, we need to be a little more kinder, a little more generous to help those in need. Band-Aid was a super group of every star of the British Invasion of the 80’s. From Sting, Bono, and Duran Duran to George Michael, Boy George and more, this song catapulted Live Aid, USA for Africa and other songs for charity. But when you hear it at Christmas, it reminds you to be a little more thoughtful of your fellow man and woman.

The Year Without A Santa Claus (1974)

I want to end this post by giving one “Honorable Mention” shoutout to I Believe in Santa Claus from the holiday classic The Year Without a Santa Claus (as sung by the great Mickey Rooney). This TV special is better known for Heat Miser and Snow Miser, but I love it because of this song. This is a favorite Christmas song of mine that you don’t hear on the radio but I love it none the less. It talks about the simple belief in Santa Claus and why we should continue to believe in him (and I do!)

I believe in Santa Claus,
Like I believe in love.
I believe in Santa Claus,
And everything he does.
There’s no question in my mind,
That he does exist.
Just like love, I know he’s there,
Waiting to be missed

If I missed any of your favorite or eclectic Christmas songs, let me know in the comments. But no Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer please. Not happening!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.

Is it too early for Christmas decorations? You would think so…

This is what I came home to last night. Not pumpkins, skeletons, or witches flying through the night, like you would expect on Halloween. No, not me. I come home to find my Christmas tree set up already. According to my wife, she needs time to let the branches fall into place so it’ll be “just right” for the holiday. This revelation coincides with the fact that most stores spent this past week taking down the autumn colors of fall for Christmas red and green (and Hanukkah blue and silver).

It always seems like the holidays get here earlier and earlier every year. Television shopping channels like QVC have been air since July (halfway point, i.e. “Christmas in July”) selling Christmas gifts, foods, and decorations. Of course, Hallmark Channel started its non-stop bombardment of holiday movies since the beginning of October. It’s utter madness.

Look, I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of the year. I love the lights, the movies and music, the annual TV Christmas specials (Rudolph and Charlie Brown especially)., and giving back to family, friends, and your community. It’s best represented by Scrooge’s nephew Fred’s speech in the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol”…

“There are many things from which I might have derived good by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew, “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round-apart from… the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that-as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

That’s what I love about Christmas, I just wish it wasn’t thrust “in your face” so quickly. I live with a woman who embodies the Christmas spirit all year long. I mean, the full nine yards (music, movies, 24/7, 365 days a year, with a Christmas Countdown as her smartphone wallpaper) which is something I love about her… But it’s not for me. I long for the old days when we eased into the holidays, one after the other.

Related imageToday, it is about the almighty dollar and retailers try to get as much “bang for their buck” in the short amount of time during the holidays. When I watch movies like “A Christmas Story” and “The Homecoming”, you see the simple life of what Christmas was about. From Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, you slowed down and took the time to enjoy the holiday. Now, we’re rushing around so much, before you know it, Christmas is over.

Let’s all take a breath, step back, feel “Jack Frost nipping at your nose” and listen for the sound of jingle bells. Let’s enjoy the holiday season with family and friends, good food and  plenty of libations (remember, be safe with a designated driver) and all the love and happiness it brings. So Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa. Let the continuous bombardment of Christmas commercials, movies, music and TV specials commence.



Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniversepublishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.