Christmas Carols vs. Holiday Songs

To me, a Christmas carol is something from a hymnal. This is in contrast to a holiday song, like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or “Jingle Bells”. My husband G. Grod wonders if those might be carols, though, because they’re sung by carolers. He suggests that “Santa Baby” is a holiday song, but “Silver Bells” is a carol. I still think that a proper carol is religious, and about the birth of Jesus. I think it’s interesting whenever I see interviews asking people what their favorite holiday music is. Few name carols; most name songs.

I think my favorite Christmas carol is “Gabriel’s Message“. I also like “The Coventry Carol“, (coincidence only that both are covered on A Very Special Christmas) and the alternate tunes for “Away in a Manger” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.

My favorite Christmas song, though, is a guilty pleasure that reminds me of the big hair and bad fashion of the 80s–”Do They Know It’s Christmas”. I bought the LP for my sister as a gift that year.

Drake is enamored of our library copy of Tomie DePaola’s Book of Christmas Carols, which I was sad to learn was out of print. It has many carols, lovely illustrations, and music as well. Drake’s favorites, thus far, are the first two in the book, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “The First Noel”. He has been delighting relatives by singing these over the phone.

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