The Washington Post's Alexandra Petri comprised a list of the top 100 Christmas songs from worst to best. Now, that's not an easy task to take on! We took a look at her list and some we agree with, some we take aim with. In addition, I even learned about some Christmas songs I never heard of such as "Underneath the Tree" (more to come on that later). What's great about this list is that Alexandra even admits as she's going along that this song she's ranking should have been even lower on the list. I like the transparency and honestly of it, even if I disagree with some of her choices. It makes for an interesting breakdown and at times is quite humorous and entertaining to hear about her reasoning behind the song's ranking.
With that being said I will post her top 5 Christmas songs here and direct you to her blog for the full list at the end. We will begin with the 5th best and end with the #1 pick.
5) "Dominick The Donkey" by Lou Monte
The Washington Post columnist says: "Jiggity-jig! Hee haw! Hee haw! Now I am beginning to see that there is a problem with this list, which is that my taste is very strong and very bad, but I really like this song about a donkey. I love, as a genre, songs that try very hard to make a new seasonal figure happen. This song was like, “I see you, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and I raise you *apparently pulling several names and modifiers from a hat* Dominick, the Italian Christmas Donkey!” These songs always create a problem for their character to solve, or some magic, and I love, too, how prosaic the problem is that Dominick resolves: The reindeer can’t do hills! All hills? No, just Italian hills! Great! More of this, please. Also love the overlap between this song and “Blade Runner.” Not a lot of Christmas songs can pull off what “Dominick the Donkey” does. I am all in on “Dominick the Donkey.” I am a lot of fun on car rides, as I bet you can tell.
4) "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
Alexandra Petri simply said: "This song has always read as passive-aggressive to me, and I find that enjoyable."
3) "Underneath The Tree"-Kelly Clarkson
Alexandra described this gem as: "I wish we lived in a world where one of our biggest complaints, as a society, was that no song since “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has been added to the Christmas canon. This should be a BIG complaint! (Also, what a world that would be! No Islamic State!) I think “Underneath the Tree” deserves to be added to the canon. Three reasons: Kelly Clarkson is great; it hits all the Christmas bases in a quick, efficient list (“You’re here, where you should be. / Snow is falling, and the carolers sing. … Presents, such a beautiful sight!”); and it slaps! Let it into the canon!"
-I will personally add I first discovered this song after reading her list and I wholeheartedly agree with the ranking. It's a good one & I'm already addicted!
2) "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch"
Petri says: "My spouse disagrees that the tune of this song is good. He says it is too whimsical. Well, I am 99 items into the list, and there is no turning back now. Unlike other holiday songs, which are saccharine at best and lachrymose at worst, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is just a man facing insult after insult from a deep bass voice with no reference to Christmas whatsoever. It is a welcome reprieve. I am correct to put it here."
1) "Good King Wenceslas"
The Post says: ”This is a GREAT song. I never tire of hearing about the only semi-impressive good deeds of this medieval monarch. He made the sod slightly warm! Hooray! Good for you, King Wenceslas! All the rhymes work! Every word is satisfying to sing! WENCESLAS! ON THE FEAST OF STEPHEN! DEEP AND CRISP AND EVEN! What a rollicking, hearty song. WENCESLAS! All songs should be like this. I wish we sang this song year-round."
Those are in her opinion, her top 5 most tolerable and best Christmas songs. For the full list of the Top 100 Christmas songs, visit her original post HERE!
Now, I personally don't agree with her number one song. I honestly had to look it up to give me an idea what the heck song that was and then once I heard it I thought...oh yeah...not a favorite. I get it's a classic but I ask, must we go back to medieval times...? Just my opinion...
I agree with "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch". That's a classic. A must really. I am disappointed that "Run Run Rudolph" is not higher on the list. I think that's a definite top 5 for sure. I know VB is upset that Frank Sinatra's "Jingle Bells" isn't higher on the list or even mentioned really. Well at least that version. "Jingle Bells" is listed as number 26 and it should be higher on the list. Both Alexandra and I agree on "Mele Kalikimaka" as a great song! Although I might put it higher but I think it's appropriate where she put it.
We actually caught up with Alexandra Petri and got the chance to talk to her right here on "VB in the Middle" and hear directly about her Christmas song list breakdown! Take a listen:
Overall the list is fun and prompts us to think about our favorites and least favorites this time of year. I will have my top 10 best Christmas songs for everyone soon so look out for that!