While I would like to be hopeful that gatherings such as this don’t take place in real life, the callousness that the “haves” can show towards the “have-nots” makes me wonder sometimes. And so I present this rich recital that I call: “Oneupmanship.”
If a company sells a million widgets and 1 percent of them break, that’s ten thousand unhappy customers. As the man in this story is about to learn, service contracts tend to favor the ones who wrote them and thus, I give you this tale of customer dissatisfaction that I call: “Loaner.”
“Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)”, Ramones, 1989
It feels fitting to close out 2021 with some punk rock.
Naturally, the Ramones make up for the song’s sentimentalism in the video:
“Everyone’s a Kid at Christmastime”, Stevie Wonder, 1965
This is Stevie Wonder’s third song on my list. It’s upbeat, fun, and a reminder that it’s okay to let our inner child out to play every holiday season.
“O Holy Night”, Perry Como, 1968
Probably one of the more difficult Christmas carols to sing, Perry Como handles this standard with aplomb.
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, Frank Sinatra, 1957
From the “A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra” album, Ol’ Blue Eyes knocks this standard out of the park.
TRIVIA: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was written by Hugh Martin for the movie “Meet Me In St. Louis” starring Judy Garland. Some of the original lyrics were rewritten because they were found to be overly depressing. “Let your heart be light / Next year all our troubles will be out of sight” was originally “It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past.”
In 1957, Sinatra asked Martin to revise the line “Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.” He told Martin, “The name of my album is A Jolly Christmas. Do you think you could jolly up that line for me?” The line became “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.” Sinatra’s version is also in the present tense.
Enjoy a Christmas story about a pair of government agents who spend Christmas Eve looking for a certain somebody…
“Zat You, Santa Claus?”, Louis Armstrong, 1953
I’ve spent most of my life living by myself so I can definitely relate to Louis Armstrong’s ode to something going bump in the night during the holiday.
“Underneath the Tree”, Kelly Clarkson, 2013
One of the more current pop tunes on this list, this one makes for a nice chaser after the over-the-top “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” by Mariah Carey.
“Ring Christmas Bells,” The Ray Conniff Singers, 1962
Whether you realize it or not, you have more than likely heard a Christmas tune by The Ray Conniff Singers. Ray’s two Christmas albums: “Christmas with Conniff” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” (from which this song comes from) each went platinum in 1959 and 1962.
Conniff’s “Ring Christmas Bells” is an arrangement of “Carol of the Bells” by Mykola Leontovych with lyrics added by Minna Louise Hohman.