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Ovation: Top Ten Favorite Christmas Carols.

12/15/2013

TopTenFavoriteChristmasCarolsI think some of the most beautiful music ever written is Christmas music.  Celebrations during the holiday season are never complete without music and Christmas elicits emotions that most people can understand and share.  There are many beautiful hymns and carols that have become popular over the years as they’ve been passed down from generation to generation through family traditions and church services.  Here’s a list of my top ten favorite Christmas carols:

  1. Lo, How A rose E’er Blooming is thought to be written by an anonymous German author and first appeared in print in the late 16th century.
  2. What Child Is This? Is a beautiful hymn, set to the traditional English tune “Greensleeves”, was written by William Chatterton Dix in 1865 while in a deep depression following a sudden near-fatal illness and confined to bed rest.
  3. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear was written in 1850, by Richard Storrs Willis, a composer who trained under Felix Mendelssohn.
  4. Away In A Manger was first published in the late nineteenth century and used widely throughout the English-speaking world.  In Britain it is one of the most popular carols.
  5. Silent Night was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St. Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, Germany.
  6. O Come, All Ye Faithful, also known as “Adeste Fideles”, has since the 18th century been attributed to John Francis Wade in the English-speaking world has many other possible authors.
  7. Joy To The World is based on Psalm 98 and was first published in 1719 by Isaac Watts.
  8. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is thought to have been derived from a cantata composed by Felix Mendelssohn to commemorate Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in 1840.
  9. The First Noel.  The world Noel comes from the French word Noël meaning Christmas.
  10. O Holy Night, also known as “Cantique de Noël”, was composed in 1847 to a French poem that reflects on the birth of Jesus and of humanity’s redemption.

I’m looking forward to an evening of Christmas caroling in the coming weeks.  Some folks have been singing these songs for so many years that they know harmonies and have the lyrics memorized so it can be exceptionally rewarding to participate in some festive singing.  It certainly puts me in the holiday spirit.

Do you enjoy Christmas caroling?

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4 Comments
  1. Thanks for the list and memories. In HS, we would go to an annual party at 9 pm and then off to Midnight Mass with my best friend who is Catholic. Then we would go “carol” our friends houses at 2 am in the morning, They were both bemused, but not entirely happy we woke them. Most liked our poor efforts, Happy holidays, BTG

  2. I love Christmas carols! It’s been a while since I have been caroling, but the past few years I have attended the Philly Pops Holiday concert and they have some sing alongs during the show, including a finale of The Hallelujah Chorus which is a favorite of mine. Funny considering how not religious I am how much I love all the classic religious Christmas songs. :)

  3. Great list. I LOVE singing Christmas carols. Most of my favorites are on the list. Of course, The Twelve Days of Christmas is another favorite of mine, as is Do You Hear What I Hear? and The Little Drummer Boy. As for plain old Christmas tunes, my Christmas isn’t complete without hearing Bing Crosby’s White Christmas.

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