Christmas favorites

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Time to start ANSWERING those Ask Roger Anything questions. And you may STILL pose your queries.

Tom the Mayor asked:

What is your Favorite Christmas Song, not devotional, but popular, e.g., “White Christmas”?

This is similar to that asked by noted author Jaquandor:

I imagine by the time you answer these it’ll be after Christmas…

Well, in the Christian calendar, we’re in Christmastide until Epiphany, which is Three Kings Day on January 6, so we’re still good.

…but what’s your favorite Christmas song?

Besides the aforementioned Stevie Wonder and Julie Andrews songs:

Since Tom mentioned White Christmas, I should note Mele Kalikimaka -Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters
White Christmas -The Drifters
Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
Coventry Carol – Alison Moyet
Christmastime is Here – Vince Guaraldi
The Mistletoe and Me – Isaac Hayes
This Christmas – Donny Hathaway
Winter Snow – Booker T & the MGs (starts at 2:30)
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Jingle Bells – The Fab 4, which is NOT the Beatles
Santa Claus is Coming to Town – the Jackson 5. But not so much the version by the moving snowman The Daughter brought down from the attic last week.

I’m a sucker for pretty much any version of Little Drummer Boy, mostly because I used to sing it in church as a child. So it’s OK by Harry Simeone Chorale (the single I grew up with), or Bing & Bowie (I watched that program when it first broadcast, just after Crosby died) or a number of others.

BTW, Jaquandor makes a good case for Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, but NOT by a certain crooner. Which reminded me, somehow, of the saddest Christmas song, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” I heard Kim and Reggie Harris sing it several years ago; damn thing made me cry.

Jaquandor also asked a few other questions:

Least favorite [Christmas song]?

It tends to be more VERSIONS of songs. Run, Rudolph, Run by Chuck Berry is OK, but the version by Bryan Adams irritates me. I have some compilation albums, and on virtually every country album, when someone sings O Little Town…, they pronounce it Beth-LEE- Hem, instead of Beth-LEH-Hem; astonishingly grating.

That said, Dominick the Christmas Donkey by Lou Monte is probably my least favorite song. While others get tiresome from repeated listening, this one I hated from the outset.

Favorite [Christmas] movie?

Tough one. Just haven’t seen a lot of them; never saw Elf or Christmas Vacation, e.g. Just saw Miracle on 34th Street last year for the first time, and it had its charms. I guess I’ll pick It’s A Wonderful Life, maybe because I misjudged it as pablum, sight unseen, maybe because it was deemed as possible Commie propaganda.

But I always love A Christmas Carol. The George C. Scott version is my favorite, though I’m quite fond of versions with Alistair Sim, and with Mr. Magoo.

Is Trading Places a Christmas movie? Is Home Alone? I might add them to my list.

Least favorite [Christmas movie]?

There was a terrible one on the Disney Channel recently, but it wasn’t even worth noting the title.

Do you have a favorite hymn?

Oh, that’s impossible! One thing for sure, though: it probably won’t be a unison piece. I like four-part music with my hymns.

So I pulled out my recently replaced Presbyterian hymnal, and picked a few. These are in book order:

Angels We Have Heard On High
Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light (I mean it’s JS Bach harmonization!)
Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming
Ah, Holy Jesus
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded (more Bach)
Christ the Lord Is Risen Today!
Thine is the Glory (Handel)
Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty (this was on page 1 of the Methodist hymnal I grew up with)
Come, Thou Almighty King (also reminds me of my growing up)
All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name! (the Coronation version, rather than Diadem)
My Shepherd Will Supply My Needs
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
God of the Ages, Whose Almighty Hand (always associated with Thanksgiving, and more specifically, with the songbook in my elementary school)
Amazing Grace
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (LOVE the bass line)
Fairest Lord Jesus (a childhood favorite)
O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee
Just As I Am (definitely a childhood favorite, probably from watching those Billy Graham programs)
The Church’s One Foundation
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (Beethoven!)
Here I Am, Lord (the only one on the list with a unison verse)
Lord, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing
Lift Every Voice and Sing (a whole ‘nother context)

Not a lot of spirituals here. Now the choirs I’ve been in have done arrangements of hymns I enjoy (Every Time I Feel The Spirit probably most often), but for congregation and choir singing, not so much.