Christmas is right around the corner. The air is filled with the scent of lit fires, churches are advertising their Christmas concerts, red and green banners are waving from the downtown lampposts, and stores are packed to the bursting point with the latest toys, multi-colored lights, and giant lawn decorations. As I make my way though the crowded stores in search of that one special gift, I secretly delight in the Christmas music piped through the ancient PA speakers. I heard many of these songs as a child and I am overcome with nostalgia each time one of these tunes makes its way across the store airways.
I’ve decided to makeup my own list of the best Christmas crooners and their songs that put me in the mood for hot chocolate, freshly cut trees, and sights of Christmas lights strung from the rooftops. Feel free to disagree with my choices, for not everyone has the same idea when it comes to fashion, morality, or music. Saving the best for last, here’s my top ten Christmas crooners with their hits. Enjoy!
10. In this spot, I nominate Alvin and the Chipmunks: “Christmas with the Chipmunks.” I remember as a child, the day after Thanksgiving my parents would wake my sister and me with hot glazed donuts and milk. We would bundle up and hop in the car, driving an hour north to the countryside where my sister and I would ‘hunt down’ the perfect Christmas tree on a little tree farm. On the ride up she and I would prop up our portable tape player, listening to the Chipmunks Christmas tape on repeat. The high-pitched vocals of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore begging “Christmas Don’t Be Late” elicited giggles each time.
9. Another childhood favorite was a duet album produced by the late John Denver and the Muppets: “A Christmas Together.” I’m old enough to admit that I listened to this album on my parent’s turntable. Miss Piggy belting out “FIVE GOLDEN RINGS” for “The Twelve Days of Christmas” always brings a smile to my face. I learned that the ha’penny sung about in “Christmas is Coming” was worth two farthings or half a penny. As a child I appreciated the fact that my allowance of two dollars was quite a princely sum in light of a ha’penny.
8. Rosemary Clooney, aunt of the very well known, very handsome George Clooney, was a legend in her own day. Her beautiful voice and lovely face lit up the silver screen in Bing Crosby’s White Christmas while she sang “Snow”. While my voice does not have the clarity nor beauty that Rosemary Clooney possessed, it doesn’t stop me from singing “Suzy Snowflake.”
7. Amy Grant has to make the list with her 1992 album “Home For Christmas.” Her song “Grown Up Christmas List” reminds me to donate to care packages sent over to the men and women overseas during this holiday season. Being away for the holidays is difficult enough without having the threat of artillery fire. (And I ask, that whatever your feelings on the wars overseas may be, please support the troops during this time of year. Just Yahoo search Christmas care packages for soldiers to find a local donation source.)
6. The late Ronald Regan once reflected that Andy Williams‘ voice was ‘a national treasure’. His rendition of “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” reminds me of the joy that was on my son’s face the fist Christmas he was old enough to understand the magic of Santa.
5 & 4. No list of Christmas crooners would be complete without the Rat Pack’s Dean “Dino” Martin and Frank “Ol’ Blue Eyes” Sinatra. Martin, who passed away on Christmas morning 1995, hits the chart at number five with “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” This number makes me want to slow dance by the fireplace with the one I love. Sinatra’s version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is a gentle reminder to me to slow down amid the hustle of shopping, decorating, and party hosting.
3. Christmas wouldn’t be right if I didn’t hear Perry Como sing “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” I remember racing my sister down the hallway after school, arguing which of us should put the record on the turntable. For the record, she usually won.
2. Bing Crosby secures the number two spot on this list. In my book, it’s not Christmas until Crosby sings “White Christmas.” This soulful, enchanting tune brings me back to college where I first encountered a Christmas snow. I was so awestruck by the beauty of freshly falling snow I hated to walk across the lawn and destroy the pristine landscape.
1. Topping the list at number one is Michael Buble. While he is the youngest crooner on the list, I think he has earned this spot fairly. Buble’s talent has allowed him to span several age generations by incorporating the standards of his predecessors with a modern twist. The merriment he brings to “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” gives me a smile to last the day.
So there you have it. Enjoy this list and your favorite tunes while relaxing with a cup of holiday cheer. Merry Christmas!