Here are my picks from last year (and, yes, the copy. So if it seems out of date, it is! But the videos are timeless). Enjoy!
Bowie & Bing – Little Drummer Boy
We begin with this, out of respect for The Man, The Legend, The Bingster: Bing Crosby, who stole our hearts in White Christmas the movie, and has come to define this holiday thanks to White Christmas the song (written by Jew Irving Berlin, giving his mother so much nachas and making Garrison Keiller a little meshuggeneh). I love the dialogue before between Bing and David Bowie, face unpainted (this was in the Ziggy Stardust years, after all) — the cross-generational discussion, the commonalities, the joining in song — decades later the message is still here: We’ve got a lot still to love about — and learn from — the greats from earlier generations. Also, Peace on Earth.
Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid
I can still remember going to Sam The Record Man at Don Mills Center to buy my single of this song. It was 1984, and videos had only recently killed the radio star — and seeing all these people together in one room making one song was a little mind-blowing. Now such collaborations are de rigeur, but what Bob Geldof made happen in 24 hours was pretty incredible (Wikipedia has the deets). “And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy/Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime.” Great message, and one to take to heart this and every year (we did!).
Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
Bruuuuuuuce! In a FUR-TRIMMED SANTA CLAUS COWBOY HAT! You’d better be good, for goodness sake. This is awesome, and such a classic. Seriously, stuff like this is where a little Jewish kid from suburban Toronto gets her Christmas culture.
Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano
This *may* be the happiest of the Christmas songs. How is it not possible to smile through this one? Okay maybe on the gazillionth play but still. Also helpful in teaching the above-mentioned Canadian Jewish kid how to say “Merry Christmas” in Spanish.
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