Christmas music never goes out of style. It seems people don't tire of their preferred holiday tunes, bringing them out of the woodworks (or tuning into NRT Radio Christmas) the moment Thanksgiving is over. But what makes a Christmas song timeless? Is it the lyrics? The production? Maybe it's just that we only listen to these songs for one month out of the year! No matter the reason, the contemporary Christian music scene has blessed us with so many great Christmas songs, both covers of the classics and originals alike. Here are 10 Christmas tracks that have stuck around, regardless of their age.
10. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" covered by Amy Grant
In 1983, legendary Christian music queen Amy Grant released her first Christmas album called A Christmas Album. Found among many great songs is a cover of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." Because it's considered one of the more biblical Christmas numbers, she stays true to its origin by arranging her take of the song in a very traditional format. It's an excellent addition to any "classic Christmas" playlist.
9. "My Favorite Things" covered by Family Force 5
The Sound of Music gem "My Favorite Things" was adopted by many as a Christmas tune, and in 2009, the kids from Marietta did their own dirty south version of the tune on their holiday album Family Force 5 Christmas Pageant. Every song on this project shows off that signature Family Force 5 sound, but "My Favorite Things" is the one that stays truest to the original. It is a punchy and fun take on such a beloved song.
8. "This Is Christmas" by Plus One
Christian pop boy band Plus One made a huge splash in the industry and boomed in popularity from day one. In 2002, they compiled a gorgeous album simply titled Christmas, which ended up being the last project they did as a five-piece group. The first song on the album "This Is Christmas" is an original that perfectly encompasses the overall feel of the record, and is one that will be remembered for years to come as a beautifully done original Christmas tune.
7. "Do You Hear What I Hear?" covered by Third Day
Southern rockers Third Day released a Christmas album titled Christmas Offerings back in 2006, and found on it is an amazing cover of the holiday classic "Do You Hear What I Hear?" What makes it so exciting is the fact that it is done live. There is an audience present, giving the band reason to go at it 100%. Their performance is an awesome version of one of the most unique seasonal tracks.
6. "Little Drummer Boy" covered by Whiteheart
Rock group Whiteheart released an album in 1990 titled Souvenirs, and on it was a cover of one of the most memorable Christmas songs "Little Drummer Boy." Giving it an eerie tone, Whiteheart puts an incredibly unique spin on the song and builds it up to this massive finish with raging instrumentation and vocal harmonies that are out of this world. It is by far one of the most powerful and enjoyable takes on this amazing Christmas ditty.
5. "Welcome to Our World" by Chris Rice
Singer/songwriter Chris Rice is one of the greatest lyricists in contemporary Christian music. The song "Welcome to Our World" was released on his 1997 studio album Deep Enough to Dream. The song is simple in instrumentation, but the words paint a stunning picture of what Christmas is truly all about. It's not only a great tune for the season, but it also showcases the signature sound Chris Rice would adopt as a musician during his career.
4. "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" covered by House of Heroes
Alternative rock band House of Heroes, one of the most underrated acts in all of Christian music, released a three-song EP called The Christmas Classics EP in 2009. Though all three songs are exceptional covers, the band puts their unique twist on the standard "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." House of Heroes' one of a kind instrumentation and harmonies make this rendition of the song full of character and gritty charm.
3. "O Holy Night" covered by Leigh Nash and Michael Tait
This cover can be found on the 2002 compilation City On A Hill: It's Christmas Time. While there are several incredible songs found on this mixture of artists, nothing quite tops hearing DC Talk alumni and Newsboys lead singer Michael Tait sing one of the most beloved Christmas songs of all time. The two singers' voices blend perfectly, and it is an exceptional version of such a classic holiday staple.
2. "A Cradle Prayer" by Rebecca St. James
This original song can be found on Rebecca St. James' 1997 release Christmas. Written to be a lullaby of sorts to an infant Jesus, it is an arresting track expressing the overwhelming thankfulness and love followers of Christ feel toward the manger scene and the meaning of Christmas. This will always be remembered as one of the greatest original holiday songs to come from a Christian artist.
1. "Winter Wonderland" by Avalon
Avalon's cover of "Winter Wonderland" is one of the most intense and astounding covers of such an adored holiday track, and can be found on their 2000 seasonal release Joy: A Christmas Collection. They gave everything they had, blending their flawless harmonies with a screaming brass section to create a retro, swing-influenced tone. This version would satisfy both classic Christmas and modern holiday listeners alike. It's fun, fast-paced, and full of energy.
Jessi Zilka owns a small record store in Florida. She loves music more than anything in this world (except Jesus, of course). If she's not listening to music or working at her store, she's usually out record hunting, going to Disney World, spending time with her husband, hanging out with family or friends, catching up on a favorite TV show, or curling up on the couch and watching a movie.
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