Now that the countdown to the big day has officially begun, it’s time to decorate the halls and turn up the volume on some of our favorite hits of the season. Over the past 100 years, music and theater have provided the soundtrack to many significant life events, and they continue to write songs that are crossover and popular. Each Christmas carol is among the most inspiring and atmospheric pieces of music we hear all year round. Many of these most famous ones are actually from the theatre, but they are also one of my favorite songs.
“A Christmas Carol”
Anyone who has seen the original Broadway production of “A Christmas Carol” in New York City will recognize how festive the whole show is from start to finish. In fact, the show was so festive that I still gritted my teeth out at the sheer volume of Christmas music.
The witty and swinging score includes a string of tap hits, with one of the strongest songs getting a kick from an angry Santa impersonator lamenting the loss of the festive spirit. Eleven friends on a mission to spread the joy of Christmas come to a head in this lively production number that will accompany you for the rest of the Christmas period, even after the show ends in London.
“White Christmas” – from White Christmas
No Christmas season would be complete without this classic song under the tree, and since then the song has been recorded by artists around the world and released on countless albums and CD collections. Composed in 1942 by Irving Berlin, the song first appeared in the hit 1937 film of the same name, is the best-selling single of all time with an estimated sales of over 100 million copies worldwide, and is known to have been recorded by Bing Crosby. Listen to Kimberley’s original version of this Christmas song in full here.
See the 2019 production footage with Danny Mac singing along to this Christmas classic in full. The stage musical was first performed on Christmas Eve 1937 when snow fell in New York City’s West End.
“Twelve Days to Christmas” – She Loves Me
After George and Amalia have spent the last few months not realizing that the other is really their secret, the plot moves towards a racy production number that rattles them to the perfect conclusion on Christmas Eve. Those of you who have already given up on your last-minute Christmas shopping will appreciate the funny little snippets that come at a much-needed point in this glorious musical.
“Be a Santa” – Subways are for Sleeping
The words “Christmas” and David Merrick are not always closely linked, but you will appreciate the blind panic that emerges in this song. Everyone runs around Selfridges until the poppers rise, and a break ensues when the musical’s two main characters, Jule St. John and Jules, provide a merry Christmas finale. I recently became a little obsessed with this light musical, which follows magazine writer Angie McKay, who is tasked with writing a story about well-dressed homeless people sleeping on the New York subway.
“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” – Here’s Love
While many people will surely recognize this song, few will remember the musical it is associated with. While Broadway has focused on the battle between Hello, Dolly and Funny Girl, this Christmas musical by Meredith Wilson have ticked off a few box-office hits. This song is not a sure-fire hit, but it is certainly a tune that takes a look back at one of the most popular musicals on Broadway of all time.
“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” – Here’s Love
Now it’s “Love all together,” commercially better known as “Miracle on 34th Street” (named after the movie on which it’s based). Although the score is far from Wilson’s best, what feels like Christmas is a universal hit. The show has a certain charm and has been well-known since it opened, but why the producers wanted to re-market this holiday hit is anyone’s guess.
It contains many outstanding hits, which are constantly performed at auditions and concerts all over the world. It’s about how a new mother reacts with wonder and joy of discovering her pregnancy.
“It Feels Like Christmas” – The Muppets Christmas Carol
Strictly speaking, you can’t rest until you’ve seen this wonderful Christmas musical live on stage with your own eyes. Song of the New World will be at the Vaudeville Theatre until February 2021, and I’m sure those who’ve already done so will agree that once you dance through the production’s numbers in the living room, it feels like Christmas. This is literally a wonderful film that links the Muppets with Charles Dickens and Michael Caine.
So forget the really serious stuff for a top-three finish, and that deserves a top-four finish because it is so much more than just a Christmas carol.
In addition to the Christmas carol itself, I believe that the whole experience must be taken into account, and therefore it should be preserved as a time capsule for future generations. The song itself may not be the best combination of melody and lyrics, but when combined with the music it is an absolute classic. Although it is a Christmas song in itself, I think it is a great example of why we should preserve it as time capsules for the future generation.
“We Need a Little Christmas” – Mame
I would like to see a version of this musical number that shows you standing under the tree and realizing that there is a leak in the attic. Nothing prepares you for Christmas more than hearing Dame Angela stretch that Jerry Herman standard while leading a parade to decorate your house.
It takes a lot to oust Dame Angela (Donna McKechnie) from the top, but if anyone can do it, it’s Judy Garland, and that’s one of the winners. It was resumed by John Goodman, Sam Raimi, and Ralph Fiennes, among a number of others.
The show, which raises money for charity theatre projects, is set to hit cinemas in 2020. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the love and kindness of the people of New York City, and it always brings tears to my eyes.
We all need a Christmas carol for a better holiday spirit. These tunes are as catchy as they are iconic. They literally radiate holiday spirit and are favorites of the generations!