With the approaching end of the time period where Christmas music is permitted — my rules state “the Saturday after Thanksgiving up to and including December 26th)” — I’ve gone through most of my standard yearly playlist. After all is said and done, there are three Christmas songs that I most look forward to listening to during December:

  • Arthur Fiedler’s “Sleigh Ride” – There’s a radio recording my parents made back in the mid-1970s of holiday music that we’d listen to every year, complete with news and weather forecast, and Fiedler’s version of “Sleigh Ride” was on there. Hearing it brings back those childhood memories.
  • Ella Fitzgerald’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – There’s something so cute and endearing about the song itself, and Ella’s lightly swinging take on it makes this the quintessential holiday song for me. I also enjoy Bert and Ernie’s version of this song from Christmas Eve On Sesame Street.
  • Michael Franks’ “Christmas in Kyoto” – I’ve mentioned this one a few times since I first heard it last year on WPFW during a short drive home from the supermarket. It’s over-the-top cheese, but self-aware enough that its cheeseness becomes a plus. It’s a catchy tune with a clever little story and is certainly the only Christmas song ever to mention Akira Kurosawa.

Now, if you’re ready for the flipside of things and want to hear the worst/strangest holiday music, check out Attic Beats 018.