A not at all definitive list of Christmas songs, but ones you should enjoy at this time of the year. A few surprises?? Plus a few movies worth re-visiting at this time of the year too.
Do They Know It’s Christmas? The Original Band-Aid. This is my all time favourite Christmas song: ignore all the hoopla (and that Bob says he hates it now), it was quite a coup that Bob and Midge pulled off with the cast of this song and getting it written, produced, pressed and into the shops in time in 1984. It’s a song that will always resonate and this is the only version worth listening to.
Driving Home for Christmas – Chris Rea. This is lovely, cheerful and real in that you can imagine it – there in the car, loaded with presents, feeling good, driving and singing as you head to your family for Christmas. Love this song and Chris Rea too.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Bruce Springsteen – very rock n roll, very up-beat and very dancing in the Christmas groove – good times for all, get into it!
I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday – Wizard – old as the hills but jivey and good to dance around to, especially when cooking.
Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade – also as old as time but good to sing along to and good for a dance as well.
Fairy Tale of New York – the Pogues and Kirsty McColl – slow starter, a bit morose to begin (well it is the Pogues) but it picks up with Kirsty’s arrival – a great emotional heart felt song that seems to be what Christmas is all about – friendship, lost dream, forgiveness no matter where you are.
Last Christmas ( I Gave You My Heart) – the Wham version is the best – a bit soppy and schmaltzy but sometimes it’s nice to feel a bit soppy at Christmas too.
All I Want for Christmas is You – preferably the version from Love Actually and not the Mariah Carey version. It’s definitely a feel good sing-a-long song.
Little Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby and David Bowie. This is one of the last songs Bing recorded. It’s as schmaltzy as hell but it really is cool to see these two together. A must for any classic Christmas song list.
Six White Boomers – Rolf Harris. You may not know this – an Australian Christmas song about kangaroos taking Santa where he needs to go. Great stuff – takes me home and back to being 6 every time. (You can find it on Youtube)
Of course you need a few movies to get you in the zone too. A small but highly recommended list follows.
Classic Christmas Movie – It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). Yes, it really is that old. But Jimmy Stewart is just fabulous and this is one of the best feel-good movies of all time, especially of Christmas time.
Classic Kid’s Christmas Movie – Home Alone (1990). Macauly Culkin at his angelic child best. Left behind to defend himself and home against crooks. It is funny throughout – lots of slapstick, which kids love and Christmas there ever-present. Watch with a couple of kids, you’ll laugh as much as they do.
Classic Family Christmas Movie – The Santa Clause (1994). Tim Allen at his funniest, taking on Santa’s role after he finds Santa on his roof who falls and must be replaced – by Tim, of course. Lots of connections for divorced families, humour for a range of ages, lots of fun for all. And there were more movies in the same vein.
Romantic Christmas Movie– Love Actually (2003). The all star ensemble cast that includes Hugh Grant as the hip swivelling PM who stands up to Billy Bob Thornton’s President of the US. Plus Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Kiera Knightly, etc. A collection of shorts, matched together with some connections this is a sweet if schmaltzy movie that has some too true for comfort moments – Emma Thompson semi-confronting Allan Rickman’s infidelity – the Christmas eve present scene is excruciating. But not as stomach churning as Liam Neeson’s son and his chase through the airport. Better by far is Bill Nighy as the ageing rocker and Chris Marshall who hits gold in America. Enjoy it – it’s light, frothy and should make you cry. Watch it Christmas Eve.