Monday, December 21, 2009

Your favorite Christmas Carol...........

Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol? Got an unusual one you'd like to share? Is there a particular rendition of a Christmas carol you'd like to tell us about, something we should buy?
We've done favorite hymns and favorite praise songs here on my blog; I thought this might be fun. Thanks... Z


Anonymous said...

It's so hard to pick one, so I'll pick two.

Joy to the World, because it's beautiful, and meaningful.

The Twelve Days of Christmas, because it's a lot of fun to sing, especially as a family. We have a great time with that.


DaBlade said...

I always have to hear Christmas Can't Be Far Away by Eddy Arnold at least once every year because it takes me back to my childhood.

Beth said...

Away in a Manger is my favorite, also a childhood memory sort of thing.

Anonymous said...


LASunsett said...

Many many many.

I like the modern ones, but they cannot hold a candle to the traditional ones that can be sung by large choirs, backed up by orchestras. If I had to pick one, Angels We Have Heard On High would be the one.

Always On Watch said...

A somewhat unusual one: "Of the Father's Love Begotten.

Chuck said...

I like anything from Tchaikovsky's Nutcraker (esp. March). Joy to the World for traditional.

If I had to pick a favorite though it is probably Rock Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee, her voice made that song.

Although I have to hand it to FJ, he did hit on a classic :)

Anonymous said...

No disrespecting the king, but Porky does it with so much more joie de vivre. ;-)

Ducky's here said...

A few I enjoy:

Oscar Peterson - A Child Is Born

Susan McKeown - Christ Child, Coventry Carol

Chuck Berry - Merry Christmas Baby

Antsy McClain - Marylou's Christmas List

Henry Purcell - Behold, I bring you glad tidings

Thomas Morley - Lirum, lirum

I tend to prefer the Renaissance to Baroque for some reason.

Linda said...

O Holy Night!

beamish said...

Little Drummer Boy!

Shall I play for Him? Pa-rumpa-pom-pom....

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I'm a sucker for Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" and Andy Williams' "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year." You can't really consider them carols per se but I like them anyway.


Leslie said...

O Holy Night is my all time favorite. Silent Night comes in second. Both of which I enjoy singing.

Of course Chuck mentioned Tchaikovsky and I must say, who can argue against the Nutcracker music not being brilliant?

Z said...

Thanks, everybody, for chiming in (So to speak!)

DaBlade, I don't know that I'd ever heard that...what wonderful lyrics, thanks!

Twelve Days of Christmas is sort of our family song...Dad used to pick who got what day and then try to remember who he'd picked as we sang the song, he'd point to whoever had that particular number...great fun. Newly engaged couples always got FIVE GOLDEN RINGS whenever we had a couple newly engaged!

FJ...very cute. Sort of !

Chuck, I LOVE that Brenda Lee song...

Always On Watch..that is SO beautiful, thanks. can't beat those two..

Leslie...I had to sing O Holy Night as a kid and it scared me to death so it's not a favorite, but, you're's sure pretty (if it didn't have those memories for me!:-)

I'll be posting me singing here pretty soon....Donna from Defiant Infidel made an amazing video to go with a song I sent her last Christmas and I decided to post it...not sure which day but I hope you all like it.

Faith said...

Angels We Have Heard on High and Joy to the World

WomanHonorThyself said...

Oh Holy Night..ahhhhhhhhhh!
let it snow..let it snow..let it snow!! :)

Jungle Mom said...

My daughter wrote a song in Spanish, "Navidad sin Jesus' (Christmas without Jesus).
Navidad sin Jesus, no hay razon por la celebracion.

Faith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Faith said...

It would be nice to hear your daughter sing her song. Or see all the words to it.

But you reminded me of a lovely Christmas song in Spanish my high school Spanish teacher taught the class but I can't remember much of it right now.

The chorus goes: Entren santos peregrinos (echo: peregrinos) reciban este rincon, no de esta pobre morado sino de mi corazon. Or something like that.

The tune to the verses is really lovely. ...Da nos peregrinos, posada esta noche ... Drat, I can't remember much right now, in too much of a hurry.

Faith said...

morada, not morado.

Joe said...

"O Come, All Ye Faithful," hands down.

He is worthy of being adored in the ultimate sense of the word.

He came not to become a king, but came as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

"Angels We Have Heard On High" runs a close second in my book.

Leticia said...

My very favorite is "Mary Did You Know?" It brings tears to me eyes and joy in my heart all at the same time.

Z said...

I think I'm with Joe on this one..if I to pick ONLY one, it would be O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL.

The very best Christmas Eve I EVER had, and I've had lovely ones, was when I played the organ at our church for a while as interim (really plays piano but is coerced into playing organ) organ player (notice I don't say ORGANIST!).....I was also choir director and the service had started and I was playing O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL as loud as an organ can go and the choir was filing down the aisle to me (The organ's on the altar facing the back wall), singing with the very full church (rare), and I knew all the music was going to go well and I had chills..."life doesn't get better than this."

Z said...

Leticia..BINGO! That is the song that I'll be singing with the wonderful video Donna at Defiant Infidel's made for us... on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day here at geeeeZ. I so hope you enjoy it.


Anonymous said...

"Hark the Herald Angles Sing" wins points for the Charlie Brown Christmas.

I think Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Carol of the Bells is excellent. I think Z might have to forget she read that.

At the risk of being sensationalistic, I'll say that Handel's Messiah is the most perfect music ever written.

If we extend the category to include Advent, "Lo, He Comes in Clouds Descending" has grown on me in the last couple years (both arrangements).


Always On Watch said...

I'll be posting me singing here pretty soon

Now, there's something to look forward to!

Anonymous said...

O Holy Night, Josh Groban singing

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee

Pat Jenkins said...

i want to hear you singing o holy night dear z!!!

Z said...

Hi, Pat! Here's my comment from above on that song:

Leslie...I had to sing O Holy Night as a kid and it scared me to death so it's not a favorite, but, you're's sure pretty (if it didn't have those memories for me!:-)

nooooooooooo! Never again (I don't think:-)

Mr. Z loved it when I sang and was what he called "the president of Z's fan club" so I won't be singing for a while and don't even feel much like playing piano........kinda hard. I miss hearing him play lovely German carols on the piano all through the season....he'd just go down from our office upstairs and sit and play for a while..a couple of times a day. You'd have loved those charming melodies.

Elmers Brother said...

I just bought Christus Natus Est by Harry Christopher and the Sixteen. They highlighted it on the local classical station. Beautiful 16th century English choral music.

O holy night was my father's favorite and when I hear it I'm reminded of God's goodness and my father.

Janie Lynn said...

Traditional song - it's always O Come All Ye Faithful and newer - Mary Did You Know. One I love to sing - the other gives me chills when I hear it.

Anonymous said...

"O Come all ye Faithful".

Larry Durham said...

So many to choose from, but I'd have to say Go Tell it on the Mountain, or Oh Holy Night stand out for me.

For a lark I'd have to go with Robert Earl Keens's Christmas in the Family...but Porky Pig singing Blue Christmas IS hard to beat.

David Wyatt said...

Oh, Z, I just love CHRISTmas Carols! So many wonderful ones have been mentioned, but one I recently became aware of has catapulted to my favorite, because of the excellent Biblically-correct theology, backed up by magnificent music! It's called "Who Is He In Yonder Stall" & I believe the National Christian Choir sings it as beautifully as any I've heard. Aside from that, I love O Holy Night & as tio said, Handel's Messiah is the most wonderful music this side of Heaven, IMHO! Also, Charles Wesley's "Hark the Herald Angels Sing!" I could go on & on & on & on........

sue said...

tio (anon) I once read that Handel's valet would sometimes find him in his study, weeping silently at his desk, overcome by the beauty and majesty of the music flowing from his pen.(Messiah)

Anonymous said...

Well, Z asked about CAROLS, so being a purist I'll stick with that. Seasonal Pop music -- like White Christmas and Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer -- is fun, certainly has its place, and can even be lovely (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire being a good case in point) but that kind of stuff is no more about the Birth of Jesus than the Wright Brothers were about breeding race horses.

For standard traditional carols I love Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is a great favorite. The music is by Felix Mendelssohn, and has thrilled me since early childhood with its aura of joy perfectly expressed very simply but with majestic splendor.

On the quieter more prayerful and contemplative side I love What Child is This? (Sung to ancient tune Greensleaves) and The Coventry Carol (Lullay, Thou Little Tiny Child).

God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen is wonderful, if sung at a lively tempo. If it drags, it's a drag. True musicians know one can rejoice very eloquently in a minor key. The same is true for O Come O Come Emmnnuel which is really more of an Advent hymn than a Christmas carol, but it'll pass.

Ducky mentioned the Renaissance. Two Christmas ANTHEMS from that period that stand out in my recollection: "O Magnum Mysterium" by Spanish composer Tomas Luis Vittoria, and "Hodie Christus Natus Est" by Dutch composer Jan Pieterzoon Swelinck. The first is mystical and contemplative; the second full of vigor and animation. Both give me the chills, if they are performed well.

In the mystical vein Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming (Es ist ein Reis entsprungen)-- another very ancient tune -- has been published in every Protestant hymnal I've known, and inspires great affection and wonder in me. Brahms write a very beautiful Chorale Prelude for organ on this tune towards the end of his life. It works beautifully played just before the hymn.

There are so many Christmas treasures in the Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterian hymnals. I'm glad to have gotten to know most of them at one time or another in my longish life.

Personent Hodie (On This Day earth Shall Ring With The Songs Children Sing) set by Gustav Holst (famous for the orchestral suite The Planets) is my very favorite Christmas processional -- especially when the organ is accompanied by a choir of handbells.

The Oxford Book of Carols is full of rare treats too.

Z introduced me to Mary Did You Know? of which she has sung a lovely rendition. A beautiful Christmas Song -- in the contemplative folk tradition of I Wonder As I Wander.

The treasury of wonderful Christmas music is inexhaustible. It's too bad we tend to pick just a tiny handful of favorites and never get to know more about the huge spectrum of glorious ways in which composers have sought to serve he Lord and magnify his name.

But if I had to pick just ONE Christmas hymn, it would be HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, and "may God bless us, every one."

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

It would have been interesting to watch Handel write Messiah. I heard he said something along the lines of "I saw heaven in all of its glory open up before me." A rather productive 24 days that was.


Z said...


Sue, very beautiful story there...I hadn't heard that.

FT...I LOVE "God Rest ye..." it was my Dad's very favorite.

David, seems like O Holy Night is the winner of the day, don't you think!? favorite.

Welcome, Janie...glad to have you here.

sue said...

Although the Hallelujah chorus is said to be the most famous and popular number in Messiah, it is not among the most beautiful and musical, such as: Every valley shall be exalted, But who may abide, O Thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, He shall feed HIs flock and so on. My favorite is For unto us a Child is born.

Anonymous said...

Hey, SUE!

Right on! You have great taste.

I didn't mention Messiah, because several others did, and besides it's an Oratorio not a carol or an anthem, but it's one of the greatest works in the history of Christian Music.

Handel was a very great genius. He wrote at least sixty other oratorios and operas all of very high quality -- and lots of brilliant orchestral music keyboard music and several organ concerti as well.

My very favorite performance of Messiah is conducted by John Eliot Gardner. It is light, vigorous, crystal clear and incredibly beautiful. It's also probably the closest we could come to the type of interpretation Handel had in mind.


~ FreeThinke

Z said...

FOR UNTO US is so uplifting, the men's voices are wonderful...Sue, good choice.

FT...I love YOUR vigor when you talk about music! I hope to have the same when I open my food blog!

Anonymous said...

According to wikipedia, 24 days is what it took GFH to write the oratorio. It does say that he borrowed liberally from himself and others.


Z said...

tio, PLEASE don't mix "liberally" and "Handel" in one story :-) xx

Jess said...

Gosh, I'd never really thought of it till now. I think it would be "Carol of the Bells" "Do you hear what I hear?" and also Pachelbel's Canon in D Major. Love that one.

Anonymous said...

Very good, Z. I should have realized you wouldn't be able to handel that (groan).


Anonymous said...

There are many that I like and almost all have been mentioned here. But my favorite hasn't been — "Gloria In Excelsis Deo"


sue said...

No, let us not mix 'liberal' with anything that is uplifting and
good. Only Conservatives have the right to be associated with the goodness and righteousness in life.

Anonymous said...

Correction , "hasn't" where I meant to say "has been".


Brenda Jean said...

I LOVE Christmas Carols. I sang in choir all through school and it was in the days were it was still allowed to sing all Christmas carols. When I was little we had the original Chipmunks Christmas album and man, I loved it. Now, Emily loves them and they annoy me. BAHAHAHAHAHA We just watched White Christmas on the weekend. Who can keep a dry eye at that ending with the general's men singing to him? Geesh. So, I can't pick a favorite. When the kids were tiny I always sang them Silent Night, so that's one of my top picks:)

Z said...

sue, you got that astonishing conclusion from my joke with my friend tiob?

Waylon, that's a good one, for sure.

Brenda Jean, thanks for coming's really difficult to pick ONE, isn't it.
I think most of us like so many but the ones with special meaning, like Jen singing "Mary did you know?" to her children, or you singing SILENT NIGHT, or my Dad's favorite GOD REST YE... ..that kind of thing really makes a 'favorite' for us!

sue said...


sue said...

Z - I had been enjoying the Christmas Carol post, and especially the discussion about Handel. So I was surprised to read the remark about 'liberals.'

On your other posts I always expect that sort of thing, but not on this one.

So that's where my comment came from.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Sorry to get in late on this one. I have always love "Gloria in Excelsius Deo." I think it's really good with a full choir. I hope you can have a good Christmas season. Remember that God brings to his breast those he has loved. He's there.

Faith said...

Just because I'm obsessive I have to point out that "Angels We Have Heard on High" and "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" are the same carol.

Z said...

that's right, Faith...Gloria is the chorus at the end.

Law and Order, I've never felt him more than I have's REALLY tough but He's getting me through. Thank you for that.

Sue, part of this blog is humor, whether it suits all of us or suggest that you would consider that I seriously think Handel's so wonderful liberals shouldn't be anywhere near his name is wrong. You will always be offended at my blog, I'm's not going to agree with your political thinking most of the time and even these posts like musical ones, or food, will sometimes include a rib (pardon the pun) at liberals. It's what we do. At least it's only a rib. I've seen some very nasty stuff toward conservatives at other blogs and you'll not ever find really nasty stuff here, or at least only rarely. I hope you're enjoying your Christmas preparations.

I just had a friend drop off about fifty roses from her garden, every color and scent one could imagine, it's the most amazing present I ever opened my door to. I'd opened it for UPS and there was this amazing bag overflowing with TONS of roses behind the azalea plant on my front porch. I wish she'd come in! But, it was kind of nice to have such an astonishing and lovely surprise.

Another friend sent a sizable check to me in her Christmas card...I was stunned. She is also a woman who's lost her husband....and remarried happily since. She wrote in the card that she knew I'd miss my dear Mr. Z's presents (and presence) this Christmas and to buy myself something special with the check. She's done this every year for about fifteen years for women she feels should have it...she added that it's very sadly that she's realized every year there's been a new woman she knows who's lost a husband.

I think I'm going to continue this lovely custom and I urge any of you to do this for someone you know if you can. What an amazing day. God's sending angels faster than I can count.
praise God.

sue said...

There are times that I lack a sense of humor, and take life too seriously.

You are right, I most likely will always have trouble with your blog.

After tonight I doubt if I will be on the computer - until next Tuesday.

Have a wonderful Christmas, Z. I know that will not be easy, but let your family and friends carry you through. Think of Mr.Z and the glorious time he will be having.

Merry Christmas to you and all of the others on your blog. Sue

Elmers Brother said...

Merry Christmas Sue!

Z said...

Sue, thanks....your response was very gracious.

sue said...

Thanks EB and Z. Glad we are going into Christmas with a good feeling. (We can mix it up later.)

I have three hours to wait until my daughter and family arrives. (It will be three long ones.) I have cooking to do to keep me occupied.

So, again, Merry Christmas!!!

Z said...

Sue, they must just be arriving and I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING SUCH A WONDERFUL REUNION! Enjoy!