Sunday, December 8, 2013

25 Best Secular Christmas Songs

I love Christmas. But as a non-religious person, to me Christmas is more about being with family and friends and spreading peace and joy than it is about the birth of Jesus. So with that in mind, here are my top 25 Christmas songs that reflect these qualities. You can use them to count down the days until Christmas, or since the first week of December has passed already, just enjoy listening to them! Each title is linked to a youtube video so you can start right away. Merry Christmas!

25. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
Although I've never had a white Christmas, (our Christmases are far from white!) this is such a sweet song. Lovely imagery of cuddling by the fire during a snowstorm, being with loved ones, and that love keeping him warm when he finally braves the cold to go home. Awww.

24. It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
A catchy song listing all the great Christmas-y things to look forward to.

23. Winter Wonderland
The first time I saw snow was on the eve of my 22nd birthday. I didn't have clothes warm enough for it but I ran out in the street anyway until the cold felt like needles and I was forced to turn back in. But the snow was so beautiful. Obviously I've seen it on TV and in pictures but it doesn't quite capture it. It actually sparkles and glitters in the sun. I love this song because it reminds me of the beauty of winter, even though our Christmas is in the summer. It's my dream to have a white Christmas one year, and you can bet I'll be singing this song all day!

22. Santa Baby
This is a cute, tongue-in-cheek song about an extravagant wish list. I love the original version sung by Eartha Kitt, with that retro quality to it. I wonder if Santa gave her the things on her list? Each item is more extravagant than the last and always gives me a giggle. I wouldn't say no to a yacht for Christmas...or the deed to a platinum mine either!

21. Last Christmas -- Wham!
Really, no Christmas list is complete without this 80's pop hit. It has sad lyrics but a happy, upbeat melody, and basically revolves around a guy who had his heart broken last Christmas. It's just so catchy, I can't help singing it each December.

20. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
This one's a crack-up. Ok so I guess it's sort of dark, but I love a bit of morbid humour!

19. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
Cute, catchy and up-tempo.

18. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Ah, this song creates a bit of contention in my house! We sing it with the boys, but Phil doesn't like it when I add in all the additional back-up lyrics. Sorry, but when I hear the song I just can't help it. Doesn't seem right to just have Rudolph with a very shiny nose. It's "like a light bulb!" Of course, the biggest disagreement comes right at the end. Will Rudolph go down in history like Columbus or like Fat Cat? Do my kids even know who Fat Cat is? Who cares! It's a Christmas tradition!

17. Christmas Kisses -- Allstar Weekend
This is a new addition to the Christmas song playlist. It's sweet, upbeat, maybe a little saccharine...but really, aren't all the best Christmas songs a little too sweet? It's what makes them become our secret favourites. This is one that really grew on me.

16. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
A Christmas classic. Perfect for gatherings with family and friends that may as well be.

15. Ring Those Christmas Bells
Any song with this much onomatopoeia in it had to be included! So much fun.

14. Mele Kalikimaka 
One of my favourite Christmas movies is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which features this song as Clark Griswold is fantasizing about the backyard pool he wants to install. I also have memories of my year 6 class singing this song at school assembly...which was hilarious as none of us could pronounce the words properly!

13. Have a Holly Jolly Christmas
Just a super cute, catchy song!

12. Jingle Bells
Such a classic, and a great one to sing with the kids. We have a video of Felix trying to sing this song before he could really talk. Now he prefers to sing 'Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!'

11. You're a Mean One, Mr Grinch
I love the Dr Seuss classic, 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'. Sometimes I feel a little bit Grinchy! But the story has a happy ending. As I was writing this Phil looked over my shoulder and told me this song was written for me, so there you have it.

10. River 
The original is sung by Joni Mitchell, but there are multiple covers of this song. This is a very melancholy song about someone who is alone at Christmas, and regrets their past actions. Christmas is all around them, and they just want to get away from it. I think that feeling sad is even worse when everyone around you is happy. I think most people can relate to feeling less than joyful around the holidays at some point in their lives. Many people are alone, have financial difficulties, or are under stress for other reasons, and these problems are really exemplified around Christmas.

9. I'll Be Home for Christmas
It's so easy to feel homesick around Christmas, especially if you've been away for a long time. Sometimes, just coming home is the best present of all.

8. Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
This song conjures up the excitement once felt on Christmas Eve, truly believing that Santa Claus himself would be coming to deliver elf-made presents. In this song, Saint Nicholas seems kind, caring, and generous. There are many songs about Santa and he certainly isn't depicted that way in all of them, but I like this one for the sweet, childlike excitement and joy it evokes.

7. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
As sung by the Jackson 5, this song perfectly captures the innocence and joy of Christmas for children. Listening to the young Michael Jackson's voice alone is worth it, but the lyrics of this song are just too cute. It's about a child catching his mother kissing Santa Claus...of course without realising that 'Santa' is actually his dad!

6. Feliz Navidad
Ever since my family sent me a JibJab card of themselves singing this song, I knew this was one that would have to be played every year. I highly recommend you check out the site and send a singing e-card to your family too!

5. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Another song about being home and with the ones we love at Christmas.

4. Carol of the Bells
This one is Phil's favourite and I first heard it at our first Christmas together. It's a beautiful, almost haunting melody, requiring multiple voices harmonizing together.

3. Merry Christmas, Darling -- The Carpenters
Here's the bit where I reveal myself to be a huge dork and fan of The Carpenters. I just love Karen Carpenter's voice. This song is all about wanting to be with the person you love at Christmas, which is really what it's all about.

2. All I Want for Christmas is You
Another song about being with the one you love at Christmastime. Do you see a theme here?! As much as I love the decorations, food, gifts and lights, it's all a bit empty and meaningless if we can't share it.

1. White Wine in the Sun -- Tim Minchin
This song is the ultimate for me. Tim Minchin captures exactly what is meaningful at Christmas, and what's really important in life in a far more articulate way than I ever could. It's pretty amazing for one song to cause the audience to both laugh and cry. But more than the commercialization and more than the religion, it really just boils down to family and spending time with the people we love. That is the true meaning of Christmas. Add to the fact that this song depicts a summertime Australian Christmas and I am totally sold on it, because that is home. My Christmases have always been hot and sunny. The first time I heard this song I was on the other side of the world, miles away from my family. It was freezing cold, it was Felix's first Christmas, and I was so homesick. It really hit me around that time, in the lead up to Christmas with our baby, and feeling so alone. I heard this song about home and family and Christmas in the sun and I think I bawled my eyes out for a week. I wanted to go back to my own family waiting in the sun. It took me almost ten months, but I did get there eventually.

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