Almost everyone knows that there are a lot of songs of this season that are winter holiday tunes. They have nothing to do with Christmas trees or presents, let alone Jesus. And this is more than fine.
I’ve long been fascinated by how Christmas just “happened” to fall around the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. From here: “December 25th is not the date mentioned in the Bible as the day of Jesus’s birth; the Bible is actually silent on the day or the time of year when Mary was said to have given birth to him in Bethlehem. The extrabiblical evidence from the first and second century is spare…: Origen of Alexandria (c. 165–264) goes so far as to mock Roman celebrations of birth anniversaries, dismissing them as ‘pagan’ practices—a strong indication that Jesus’ birth was not marked with similar festivities at that place and time. As far as we can tell, Christmas was not celebrated at all at this point.”
And from here: “Pope Julius I chose December 25 [for Christmas]. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival.” Others doubt this account.
Winter Wonderland – Guy Lombardo from 1934.
Jingle Bells – Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters (1943). This is not the oldest version I could find. Benny Goodman charted an instrumental in 1935. And Glenn Miller performed the track in 1941, featuring Tex Beneke, Ernie Caceres, and the Modernaires on vocals, with references to Mexico and tequila.
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Vaughn Monroe with the Norton Sisters. This was a #1 pop song for five weeks at the beginning of 1946.
Solstice Bells – Jethro Tull. From the album Songs from the Wood), which I own.
A Midwinter’s Night Dream – Loreena McKennitt
It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It’s Spring) – LOVE UNLIMITED, from the 1973 album UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF LOVE UNLIMITED
Winter Solstice – Lisa Thiel
The Chicago connection
Frosty the Snowman – Gene Autry (1950)
Suzy Snowflake – Rosemary Clooney (1951). But the version I first heard was from a few years later – this.
Check out the Chicago Christmas Classics: Frosty; Suzy Snowflake; Hardrock, Coco, and Joe, the latter trio surely a Christmas harbinger. But Hardrock et al. first aired in Johnstown, PA. My buddy Eddie turned me onto H, C, and J in this post from 2012.
A short (20 minutes) documentary about the kid-sized monorails that were used in some large department stores, usually in the toy sections, in the mid-to-late 20th century
The Surprising Advent Message of Darlene Love
Coverville 1424: The 2022 Christmas Cover Show