The Ultimate Christmas Playlist: 25 Holiday Songs To Get You Through The Season

Christmas is three days away, and that means that the socially acceptable time period to listen to Christmas music is rapidly dwindling away. I’m here to help you make the most of the time you have left to unashamedly and unabashedly blast Christmas carols from every corner of the house. So I present to you a list of 25 songs to listen to before the holiday season ends, complete with my favorite versions of said songs. Whether you like mellow classics or jubilant new releases, you’re sure to find something here that suits your fancy. Just click on the blue highlighted song/artist names, and you’ll be taken directly to Youtube to listen. Grab some hot chocolate, sit by the Christmas tree, and unapologetically play these holiday songs ’til the season ends.

25 Holiday songs

  1. The First Noel by Tobymac ft. Owl City – This song is great as a classic, but Tobymac’s hip-hop style and Adam Young’s techno vocals just knock this remix out of the park. It’s a bit unconventional, what with Toby’s rapping and all, but the charm is unavoidable.
  2. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day by Casting Crowns  – You say “Christmas”, and I hear this song. It’s just always been something I love hearing around Christmastime, and the song itself is beautiful. I’ve never listened to anyone sing this, and I probably never will.
  3. Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix – Not only is Pentatonix an a cappella group, which is awesome, but their arrangement utilizes all of their unique voices and talents while still maintaining the original integrity of the song. It’s not too far from the original song, but yet it’s still modernized, in a way.
  4. O Holy Night by Danny Gokey – Danny Gokey’s voice is easily distinguishable due to its sound and texture, and it’s so pretty. I’m excited to have discovered his music, and his version of O Holy Night is pretty much flawless.
  5. Jesus, Savior by Chris August – Another recognizable voice and sound, Chris August’s original song Jesus, Savior is bouncy, catchy, and super fun to sing when you’re home alone…or when you’re out in public…any time, really.
  6. How Many Kings by Downhere – This is one of my most favorite Christmas songs. Both the music and the message are powerful, and may I add, the harmonies in the chorus are wonderful. I can’t even put into words all that I love about this song.
  7. Jesus Is Alive by Josh Wilson – Josh Wilson happily proclaiming that “Jesus is alive” gets me into such a joyful mood. He IS alive! Sing it out proudly! Go tell everyone you know!
  8. Mary, Did You Know? by Pentatonix – You’ll find that Pentatonix steals several spots on this list. They’re so talented (they won “The Sing-Off” for a reason, after all). I just really like how they orchestrate this arrangement. Also Mitch’s sweeping vocals.
  9. Just A Girl by Brandon Heath – We don’t really think much about the innkeepers of Bethlehem, but Brandon Heath decides to take a journey back in time to see what it might have been like to be the person who turned away the mother of the son of God that holy night in Israel. The song has a nice pace, and Brandon’s vocals are perfect for it.
  10. You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch by Boris Karloff – This song is everything: fun to sing, fun to listen to, and fun as you try to achieve the impossible feat of getting your voice deep enough to match Karloff’s. A Christmas classic? Definitely.
  11. O Come O Come Emmanuel by Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp, and Aaron Shust – I actually have three favorite versions of this song! I’ve always loved this song, and it’s one of the few that I won’t allow to be extremely altered. Jeremy Camp and Aaron Shust do speed the song up a little, but they both do so well that I overlook that. Additionally, I adore the verses in Latin at the beginning of Shust’s version. However, the instrumental version from Casting Crowns might possible be my favorite ever. The violin adds such a beautiful, dramatic effect to the overall song and story.
  12. Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi  – You may not know the artist at first, but take a listen and you’ll immediately recognize the iconic piano song from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. Can it get any more Christmas than this?
  13. Our Lullaby by MercyMe – The band themselves described this song as a “weird mix of Elvis and Beach Boys”, but I think the sweet, soulful melody is perfect just the way it is. It does have sort of an older feel to it, but that makes it even better.
  14. O Come All Ye Faithful by Third Day and Casting Crowns – It’s sort of amusing that my two favorite versions of this song are complete opposites. Third Day ops for an electric guitar, quickened, rock approach, while Casting Crowns sticks with an acousic guitar and a slower pace. Regardless of their differences, I love both.
  15. Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives – Bouncy and best sung by Burl Ives, nothing can make this Christmas classic any better than it already is.
  16. Baby Boy by For KING & COUNTRY – For KING & COUNTRY achieve the most gorgeous harmonies, and there’s no short of those in this song. It’s got a great sound, amazing voices, and well-written lyrics. I may or may not play this over and over because I love it so much.
  17. Sleigh Ride by Amy Grant – I’ve always loved this version the best, but I only found out yesterday that Amy Grant is the one who sings it. I feel she does it really well, and hearing this version makes me feel all Christmassy.
  18. Deck The Halls by Tenth Avenue North – Tenth Avenue North is my favorite band, and for good reasons, too. They’re not only insanely talented, but they have a great sense of humor. If you do anything today, watch their video of Deck The Halls. It’s ridiculous and hilarious and I promise you won’t regret it.
  19. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer by Burl Ives – Anyone can tell you that I’m obsessed with Rudolph. I love the movie, and I love this song. Of course, it’s only acceptable if Burl Ives is singing it.
  20. We Three Kings by Tenth Avenue North ft. Britt Nicole –  This song doesn’t seem to be as popular as some others at Christmastime, but Tenth Avenue gives it new life with help from Britt Nicole.
  21. Put One Foot In Front Of The Other by Mickey Rooney and Keenan Wynn – From the Christmas classic movie “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, this is a potentially overlooked song, but it’s my favorite! I’m so happy when this song comes up in the movie, and I almost always sing along to it. It promotes goodness and kindness, and it’s so. Catchy.
  22. God Is With Us by Casting Crowns – I have memories of driving home from church on Christmas Eve with this playing, and it’s such a beautiful song. It gives me a special feeling that I just can’t explain.
  23. Carol Of The Bells by Pentatonix – And here Pentatonix makes one last appearance. This song is so fun to begin, but Pentatonix gives it a great new sound. Mitch also gets most of the solos, which makes my heart happy. Is there any Pentatonix song that isn’t completely awesome?
  24. God With Us by Jeremy Camp – Not to be confused with Casting Crown’s song of a similar name, Jeremy Camp’s original song rocks the acoustic sound as well as a good tune. It definitely has a cabin-campfire-snow feeling to it, if that makes any sense.
  25. Camoflauge and Christmas Lights by Reed Robertson – The eldest son of one of the stars on the hit show Duck Dynasty, Reed Robertson has such a beautiful voice that I fell in love with at first listen. His solo song on the Christmas album recognizes the sacrifices our military go through during the holidays. I love this version because of his amazing voice and his alteration of a few lyrics in order to make it clean. Although Reed does not yet have a CD out yet (and I am unsure if he is planning to), I am ready to buy one the moment he does.

I think you’re all set to get to some holiday listening! So, what are you waiting for? Merry Christmas, and have a Happy New Year!

It’s your turn! What are some of your favorite Christmas songs and your favorite versions? Do tell!

What Writers Can Learn From Girl Meets World

If you’re not familiar with the TV show Girl Meets World, then first off, you need to go and watch it. It’s a sequel series to the 90’s show Boy Meets World, which followed 12-year-old Cory Matthews from elementary school to high school to college as he tried to navigate all of life’s numerous challenges. Girl Meets World takes a very similar direction; it centers on Cory and Topanga Matthews and their children, Riley and Auggie. Riley has to manuever growing up as feelings, friendships, and everything around her grows more and more complicated.

Boy Meets World was a coming-of-age story that encompassed all the many situations we find ourselves in as we go through life. Its succesor follows closely in its footsteps. Here’s what Girl Meets World can teach writers.

What Writers can learn from gmw

Girl Meets World is one of the best family-friendly shows on TV nowadays. It is superbly written with a wonderful cast, and there are so many things I love about it. Let’s try to sort just a few of them out via a bulleted list.

  • Girl Meets World is not afraid to touch on important topics.           The show has discussed bullying, stealing, lying, peer pressure, death, an absent parent, Asperger’s Syndrome, forgiveness, and faith in God, and the second season isn’t even over yet! Girl Meets World handles each topic with respect and understanding, while still addressing it fully. It never gives shallow lessons as other shows are prone to doing, but rather goes deep into the topic and the situations surroinding it. Writers, learn the art of skillfully discussing difficult topics – after all, part of our job is to shed light on serious issues facing our world.
  • The show does not always have complete, satisfying endings.         Girl Meets World, like its predecessor, understands the painful truth that not everything in life is resolved quickly and neatly. It’s simply not realistic. At the end of the day, every plot point in our lives won’t be tidily wrapped up and set away. The show recognizes that, and sometimes it gives us loose endings. That’s realistic. We should remember that sometimes, things have to wait for another day to clear up. Sometimes our characters won’t meet their goals. At times, we’ll have to end on a cliffhanger or an incomplete ending. We can wrap things up later, but not everything can be clean-cut and perfect.
  • GMW stresses strong familial relationships.                                           While this isn’t as much of a thing that we can learn, it’s certainly important in this day and age. Don’t always write romances and things when you could be recognizing the importance of family. It deserves some time in the spotlight.

Those are only a few of the things that make Girl Meets World such an example of master storytelling at work. Perhaps I will make a second post with more points, but for now, shouldn’t you go and watch some Girl Meets World? Yeah, me too.

Have you watched either “Boy Meets World” or “Girl Meets World” before? What have you noticed about it that writers could learn from? Do tell!

 

NaNoWriMo: A Reflection

I forgot to do my last NaNoWriMonday, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t look back on what happened in November!

My final word count: 4,006

A lot of people met their word count and I didn’t, but I’m trying not to let that get to me. There’s always next year! Now that NaNoWriMo is done, it’s December and it’s time to ring in the Christmas season. Winter is my second favorite season (the first is fall, in case you were wondering), and the holidays are always so much fun.

Anyway, if you missed the chronicles of my NaNo journey, or if you want to reflect on them for old times’ sake, then here you go:

NaNoWriMonday: Getting Started

NaNoWriMonday: Getting To Know My Characters

NaNoWriMonday: Finding Peace in Unaccomplished Goals

NaNoWriMonday: A Sneak Peek At What I’ve Been Working On

I managed to write 16 pages of “Prisoner” (which is a lot for me!). Now, as life permits, my blog schedule will go back to normal.

For now, let’s talk Christmas!

What’s your favorite Christmas tradition? Do you ever write fun little Christmas scenes with your characters? If so, which characters are doing what?