The Ultimate Advent / Christmas / Winter Song Collection

On Advent, Christmas (Holiday), Christmas (Secular), and Winter Music

Our Families Favorite Advent Wreath

It’s no secret: I love Advent.  I find something terribly saddening when people start playing Christmas music in October (or earlier), and then cease playing it on December 26th, thereby messing up the entire Advent season and Christmas season.  Not because I dislike any of these songs, but because I love them for what they are.  Christmas songs aren’t Advent songs, and winter songs aren’t either.  Moreover, so many people have confused “winter” songs with “Christmas” songs and “Advent” songs, to the point that most people can’t tell the difference.  (Please note: “Frosty the Snowman” and “Jingle Bells” are NOT Christmas songs in any way.  Neither is “Baby it’s Cold Outside,” or “Winter Wonderland.”  Have you ever really listened to the words?!)

Now, I have no problems, intrinsically, with any of the songs included (and a few not included are intentionally so, like “The Christmas Shoes” and “Mary Did You Know” (although there is a sweet cover of that)).  There is a time and place for most of them, I’d just really like to see those times and places more intentionally observed.

So, to that end, I wanted to do three things with this post.

FIRST, I want to share some of my favorite Advent music, my favorite Christmas music (both secular and spiritual), and then, then contrast this with a list of “winter music.”  I think this will help to give a clear sense of what Advent and Christmas really are, while allowing for the festive holiday mirth.  I think it makes the religious AND secular Christmas songs more festive to have them more closely confined to the actual Christmas season, and it keeps life from running amok with the Christmas Season spillover into the pre-Thanksgiving day time.

SECOND, I want to encourage you to call your radio stations for all 12 days of Christmas and keep requesting Christmas songs, and then for the rest of Winter (at least through February), keep requesting “Winter songs.”

THIRD: The practical upshot of all of this is that I would like to inspire someone to make a 3- or 4-CD set of music for the season.  Disc one would be all Advent music *COUGH* Matt Maher are you listening *COUGH*.  Disc 2 would be all Christmas Music, possibly split into two discs:  one of “religious” or “traditional” Christmas hymns; and a second full of more secular, “Santa-not-St.-Nicholas” kinds of songs, like “Up On The Housetops.”  The 3rd (or 4th) disc would then be “winter” songs.

I’ve included videos for many of these songs so that you can hear them, and links to Amazon for my favorite versions of many of them.  I’ll start with a few of my favorite albums (click to view them), and then break down the songs.  I hope to expand these as the years go on, so come back and check!

Please share any of your favorites below in the comments.

1) Advent Songs

By Advent songs, I mean songs that look forward, and in some way embody that expectant longing that is the hallmark of Advent.  I have noticed that there seems to be a division between somber (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel) and joyful (The King of Glory Comes (See below!)) advent songs. I feel the former more highlight the intended mood of Advent, but the latter grace it in such a way as to bring out the underlying joyfulness inherent to the season. I’ll probably make this division more clearly as this list progresses.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Wake, O Wake, and Sleep No Longer

Sleeper’s Awake

On Jordan’s Bank
Creator of the Stars of Night (I’e heard a boy’s choir sing this magnificantly!)

Behold, a Rose of Judah
Behold a Virgin Bearing Him
Gabriel’s Message

The Coming of our God
Patience People
O Come, Divine Messiah

Let the King of Glory Come
Savior of the Nations Come
The Advent of Our King
Come O Long Expected Jesus
Lift Up Your Heads Ye Mighty Gates
The King of Glory

People Look East


2) Christmas (Religious) Songs

Silent Night
O Holy Night
O Come All Ye Faithful
The Holly and the Ivy

Go Tell It On The Mountain

O Little Town of Bethlehem
For Unto Us A Child Is Born
He is Born (the Holy Child)

Joy To The World
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
Angels We Have Heard On High (This is a GREAT album for kids!)

Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Good Christian Men Rejoice
Away In A Manger
Once In Royal David’s City
In The Bleak Midwinter
One Small Child

Fum Fum Fum

Little Drummer Boy
Do You Hear What I Hear
Breath of Heaven
Bring a Torch Jeannette, Isabella

Ding Dong Merrily On High
The Friendly Beasts
Love Came Down at Christmas 

I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In

The First Noel
We Three Kings
What Child Is This
Angels From The Realms of Glory
What Star Is This
As With Gladness Men Of Old
Coventry Carol (Feast of Holy Innocents)

Good King Wenceslas (Feast of St. Stephen – sorry about the odd video!)


3) Christmas (Secular) Songs

Have Your Self A Merry Little Christmas
Happy Holiday
There’s No Place Like Home For the Holidays
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Holly Jolly Christmas
The 12 Days of Christmas (I’ve heard some attempts to make this a form of catechism, but none conclusive. Show me otherwise, and I’ll move it).
Silver Bells
Silver and Gold
Santa Clause is Coming To Town
Here We Come A Wassailing
O Christmas Tree
Here Comes Santa Clause
Santa Clause is Coming to Town
We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
(I’m Dreaming of a) White Christmas
Deck The Halls
Two Front Teeth
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
Auld Lang Syne
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts)
Santa Baby
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause
Up on the House Top
All I Want For Christmas (Is You)
(The Theme from Home Alone, ’cause, come on!)
Christmas Time is Here

Carol of the Bells 

4) Winter Songs

Sleigh Ride
Let it Snow
Frosty the Snowman
Jingle Bells/Dashing Through The Snow
Over The River (Technically, it’s about Thanksgiving, making it a late fall song)
Jingle Bell Rock
Suzy Snowflake
Winter Wonderland
Baby It’s Cold Outside. 

Seriously. Someone pick 10 or so songs from each set, make a CD (and give me a copy!)

Questions to YOU, dear reader:
1) Do you like these divisions,
2) What songs did I miss?
3) Who would you love to see do a set like this?

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