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.

I miss my Doctor Who Christmas specials

I know its Christmas when we put up our Christmas tree and I hang my Tardis ornament on its branches. This year, I got a K-9 ornament to hang right next to it. For geeks like me, it’s not Christmas without Doctor Who. But lately, that’s been missing.

When Jodie Whittaker took over as the 13th Doctor, some changes came (as usual) along with new showrunner Chris Chibnal. One of then was the end of the annual Doctor Who Christmas specials, replaced with a New Year’s Day special instead. Now, I enjoyed last years special (you can never go wrong with Daleks) and the new season debuts this year on January 1, 2020. But something is still missing.

It’s just not Christmas without aliens attacking Great Britain, a “space Titanic” threatening to crash into Buckingham Palace, or a trip to Frank Sinatra’s Christmas party with Marilyn Monroe. All done with the subtle humor and great storytelling Doctor Who is known for.

My favorite episodes are the Matt Smith specials, specifically “A Christmas Carol” and “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe.” Matt Smith had the best comedic timing and was great at making you laugh and making you cry.

The Doctor: “Ah. Yes. Blimey. Sorry Christmas Eve on a rooftop. Saw a chimney, my whole brain just went ‘What the hell!’ Don’t worry, the fat fellah will be doing the rounds later. I’m just scoping out the general chimney-ness. Yes! Nice size. Good traction. Big tick.

Father: “Fat fellah?

The Doctor: “Father Christmas. Santa Claus. Or, as I’ve always known him, Jeff.

It was amazing and heartwarming in “A Christmas Carol” when you hear the beautiful singing voice of opera singer Katharine Jenkins singing the song to calm the shark (long story, watch the special) and at the end when she opens the clouds. It was equally incredible when you see the Doctor spend Christmas with the Ponds after two years apart at the end of “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe.”

That’s what sets these Christmas episodes apart from the regular season episodes of Doctor Who. They not only bring the humor and action we fans expect from Doctor Who, but they also accentuate the spirit of Christmas. It’s the total package.

So, we dont know what awaits us in the new season, but I hope the folks at the BBC will listen to the fans and bring back the Christmas specials. It would be a shame to end traditions here.

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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 Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.