Christmas Classics, Then and Now

As a little girl I watched PBS and was introduced to some of television's best cartoons. When the holiday season arrived, PBS Christmas specials were all I would watch. I enjoyed listening to the Celtic Woman and watching them perform in their extravagant dresses.   

Christmas carols play in my home all throughout December and with the many remakes of classic carols, I decided to select some of my favorite songs and choose the best contemporary remakes, if I could find one. Here are several of my all time favorites, but it wasn't easy to choose.

"The Little Drummer Boy" 

 

This Christmas classic was written by Katherine Kannicott Davis in 1941 as "Carol of the Drums" and sung by The Trapp Family. While I think The Trapp Family did a wonderful job, my favorite version of this song is by Bing Crosby. I recently came across a version of "The Little Drummer Boy" that gave my goose bumps. The a cappella group Pentatonix did a wonderful rendition of this classic song in 2012. 

 

"Frosty the Snowman"

"Frosty the Snowman" was written by Steve Rollins and Steve Nelson in 1950. It was performed by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys. The animated movie about the friendly snowman was released on December 7, 1956. The best remake of "Frosty the Snowman," in my opinion, was made by Ella Fitzgerald. I've yet to hear a better version. 

"Winter Wonderland"

"Winter Wonderland" was written by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith in 1934. While many artists have sung their own version of this song, I think the best have been made by Louis Armstrong (1952) and Michael Buble (2012). 

"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" 

One of my absolute favorite songs to listen to and sing along to, was written by John Rox and performed by Gayla Peevey in 1953. I have not yet heard a better version of this song. Gayla Peevey's voice is perfect for the lyrics of this song. 

"All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" 

This humorous song was written in 1944 by Donald Yetter Garnder and performed by Spike Jones & His City Slickers in 1948. Unlike some of the other Christmas classics, I don't like the original version of this song. I remember a young boy, who was missing his two front teeth, singing this song on a PBS Christmas special. I thought he did the best job, but unfortunately I don't remember the boys name. So far, the best version of this song is by Nat King Cole. 

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"

As soon as the month of November begins, all I can think about is Christmas. Although I don't like to get too into the spirit until after Thanksgiving dinner, in November, all I can think about is how "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas." This Christmas song was written in 1951 by Meredith Willson and performed by Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters. I enjoy listening to Bing Crosby singing this wonderful song and lately Michael Buble's remake has been getting a lot of plays from me.  

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

Like Buddy the Elf, I think Christmas is the absolute best time of the year. While I never believed in Santa Claus (gasp) I have the same amount of enthusiasm as Buddy. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" was made famous when Judy Garland sang it. It is known as one of the saddest Christmas songs. When looking for a good remake, I came across Christina Aguilera, Sam Smith, and Michael Buble. In my opinion Kelly Clarkson did a wonderful job and is by far one of my favorites. 

"Let it Snow"

"Let it Snow" was written by Sammy Cahen and Jule Styne in 1945. This song was written during a California heat wave as Cahen wished for cooler weather and what better way than to sing a song about snow. The best version of this song, in my opinion, was done by Frank Sinatra and B. Swanson Quartet. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays collegiates!