As a rule, I hate Christmas carols. I didn’t mind them so much growing up, but while I was at uni I did night fill in a big retail store and they started piping them over the speakers in November, and even when the store closed they refused to turn them off. There are only so many times you can listen to Tina Arena wailing about that one little Christmas tree that had never grown before you start entertaining ideas about telling her where to put it.
However, something comes over me as the big day draws nearer and I find myself smiling indulgently as the local Federal Band plays ‘Little Drummer Boy’ on the street and school kids start doing their little Christmas concerts. Don’t tell anybody, but I have teared up on occasions, like a couple of years ago when the Prep kids at the school I worked at sang ‘Silent Night’. I’m a big sap.
It’s tradition in my family – well with my sisters and I at least – to watch Carols By Candlelight on Christmas Eve. We use it as an opportunity to pick on each presenter and go on and on about how lame they are. We attack their clothes, their hair, their expansive gestures and their sugary sweet speeches. We throw things at the telly when Hi-5 come on and do their salute to patronisation.
There’s something about Carols By Candlelight though that takes me back to being a kid, back when it was the thing you looked forward to all year. I still love Christmas, and my sisters and I get all excited when talking about what we’ve bought for everybody and what we’ll be eating on the day, but it’s not quite as magical as it used to be. Sitting down to watch Carols though goes a little way towards recreating that feeling I had as a kid though, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.
So without further ado, here’s a few Christmas songs to get the ball rolling. We’ll start with one of the few Christmas songs I can handle, with a version that I actually like quite a lot.