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Editor at Large

Bing, Nat King Cole, Elvis and Frank: the all-time favorite Christmas songs

Bing Crosby (left) and Danny Kaye in the 1954 classic, 'White Christmas.' The movie's title song is an all-time great Christmas anthem.
Bing Crosby (left) and Danny Kaye in the 1954 classic, 'White Christmas.' The movie's title song is an all-time great Christmas anthem.

It's the most wonderful time of the year - for family, for friendships, for faith.

And it's also the most wonderful time for songs, such as “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” a cheerful and lively Christmas song possibly best done by Andy Williams.

It reminds me of Christmas caroling as a youth and in college, something that doesn’t seem to happen very often, anymore.

It also reminds me of some of my favorite all-time Christmas songs and carols:

The top five (in no particular order):

-- “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – See above.

-- “White Christmas” – By Bing Crosby. What a voice. What a song. What a movie.

-- “The Christmas Song” – No one had a smoother voice than Nat King Cole.

-- “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” – Always a rousing choice for the recessional song at Christmas Mass.

-- “O Holy Night” – Melodic and powerful at the same time. Here’s a Celine Dion rendition.

The best of the rest (note that some of the links will have commercials ahead of the video/audio, but it's worth the wait):

-- “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” – Bing sang it in 1943. It's written from the perspective of a soldier stationed overseas. But anyone who lives far from where he or she grew up will relate to it.

-- “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” – Here’s a hauntingly beautiful version by Enya.

-- “Silent Night” – Simple and serene. Most everyone knows the words to the first verse.

-- “O Come All Ye Faithful” – Fun to sing.

-- “Blue Christmas” – Need an Elvis song in here somewhere.

-- “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – Frank Sinatra is needed in here somewhere, too.

-- “Little Drummer Boy” – A nice beat. Then, of course there’s ...

-- The Bing Crosby and David Bowie 1977 TV-special duet that combined "Little Drummer Boy" and "Peace on Earth." Check it out, as it has to be an all-time top 100 moment in television history.

“Do You Hear What I Hear” The song builds to an inspiring crescendo. Again, Bing takes the honors.

“The First Noel”  The refrain makes this song.

“Angels We Have Heard on High” – Upbeat and feeling good.

And finally, if this is, indeed, a Christmas song, “Hallelujah” belongs on the list. This is an excellent version.

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