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Yea or Nay: Christmas Music Edition


It takes a lot to be considered a good song, especially for holiday music. Everyone has their own expectations of what you need to do and how you need to do it. Personally, I am a big fan of Christmas music (only in-season though!) and have strong opinions on these songs.

My rulings will be based on two factors:

  • the actual music;
  • how “Christmasy” it is.

So, if you are a little rusty on your holiday tunes and want some excellent advice, or if you even just want to hear a different perspective, enjoy this incomplete catalog of Christmas music.

Messianic Division

This first section of songs are of traditional or modern songs that directly reference Jesus and his birth. Usually, they highlight a specific quality of the newborn savior or describe his future in saving humankind and kingdom over us.

“Silent Night”

Yea. “Silent Night” is simply a quintessential Christmas carol. The calm but powerful music makes you think of a snowy landscape while Jesus is born. [Ed. Note—Noted person who was born in snow, our Lord Jesus Christ.] Every verse is memorable and deep.

“Little Drummer Boy”

Nay. Now, this may be sacrilege, but here we go. I have never really liked “Little Drummer Boy.” It does have a great message about how Jesus accepts any gift if it is everything you can give. However, this is a musical recommendation, and the tune did not really appeal to me. They also gave up trying to rhyme on the last verse.

“Angels We Have Heard On High”

Yea. [The rationale does not survive.]

“Jesus Refulsit Omnium”

Yea. Jesus refulsit omnium, or “Jesus The Light Of The World,” has the claim to fame of being considered the oldest Christmas hymn ever, written by Hilary de Poitiers in the fourth century. It is all in Latin, so ask Mr. Morales-Bermúdez what it means. [Ed. Note—That verse means “Jesus shone; of all,” where omnium goes with the next line’s gentium to mean “of all nations.”]

Commercial Division

This next part contains songs that are secular, but classic Christmas tunes. All of them were written before 1970. This is probably what I would consider the golden era of music for Christmas songs, with many interesting and creative songs written during this time.

“White Christmas”

Yea. A beautiful song so iconic that they made an entire movie about it—or was it the other way around? Meh, same difference. It does not change the fact that we are all wishing for a white Christmas this year too.

“Jingle Bells”

Meh. I have mixed feelings about “Jingle Bells.” On one hand, I do enjoy the upbeat tune, with the bells in the background, but on the other hand, only like one third of the lyrics are actually memorable and it is more of a winter-themed song.

“It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”

Yea. The perfect song to sum up the weeks leading up to this day and the building anticipation around this beautiful season. My personal favorite line is “And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.”

“Home For the Holidays”

Nay. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would not dislike this song at all if it were not for one small detail. It is said that “from Atlantic to Pacific, gee, the traffic is terrific.” Now, unless this is a new definition of “terrific” that I do not know about, I do not think that the traffic on Christmas would be terrific. But whatever.

Neophyte Division

The last section of this list includes all of the modern songs written about this season in the more recent years. Many of the songs that fit under this category are still extremely popular due to their recent release. 

“Last Christmas”

Nay. This is not an exclusively Christmas song, as you could substitute in any holiday for Christmas and it would have the same meaning. It is not a horrible song, but still, I cannot give it a “yea” on a Christmas music list.

“All I Want For Christmas is You”

Nay. Unlike every single store starting on November 1st, I do not think that this song is really all that good. Now, I would probably not really care about it if it was not played everywhere, but I have to rant about it now.

Modern Remakes of Classic Songs

Nay. I do not know what it is about these new versions, but I feel that they lack the charm of their 50s and 60s counterparts.  There is some quality of the older versions that make them feel so effortlessly “Christmassy.”

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