When the National Trust NI contacted me and challenged me to create my favourite five Christmas songs on one playlist, I just had to get involved. I do love Christmas, the sad bits, the happy bits, the twinkling trees, the cold, snow and ice, even the Brussels Sprouts.
Naturally enough I have some favourite Christmas songs too, songs that just make things all the more festive. As some of you know, we lost our son, our first baby at Christmas time, as a result of that, there are a couple of songs that were once my huge favourites that I just can’t listen to any more, they are now tinged with far too much sadness for me. So over the last couple of years my playlist favourites have changed a little.
Here it is then my revised Christmas Playlist, guaranteed to get me in the Christmas spirit.
1. The number one spot goes to “Oh Holy Night” I am not a religious person, but I do love this carol, I love the words and the hauntingly beautiful music. My favourite version though is this one. A duet by Aled Jones as a boy and Aled Jones as a man! Yes the power of television, they took a recording of him singing this as a choirboy and halfway through they spliced in him today as a fully grown man singing with himself. It is wonderful.
2. Next up, I’m jumping from carols to crooners with “Silver Bells” the version by Dean Martin, because everyone should have a bit of Deano in their lives. This song makes me think of New York at Christmas, the open air ice rink at the Rockerfeller Centre, the giant Christmas tree, the shop front of Macy’s and of course FAO Shcwarz.
3. Another crooner tune, Nat King Cole “The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) This song is just the epitome of Christmas for me. With his silky smooth voice Nat King Cole paints a picture of the perfect Christmas. It never fails to stir the child that is still inside me, the one who also wants to “spy, to see if Reindeer really know how to fly”
4. Back to the Carols again, this time a less known one in UK, it is used much more in America and in fact that is where I first heard it. “The Carol Of The Bells”, I chose this because it’s different, wonderfully different. This definitely isn’t the traditional Christmas Carol, but it really does sound like Christmas to me.
5. My final choice was a toss up between two songs. “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues and Kirsty McColl or “Driving Home For Christmas” by Chris Rea. The Irish woman in me says that I should pick The Pogues, it is a great song, however, it is also a song that as the Christmas period wears on, it begins to wear me down! So my choice is Chris Rea “Driving Home For Christmas”, this song makes me think of all those people, all over the world, desperately trying to get home to their families. I think of people in airports, ferry ports, train stations and traffic jams, their only thought is whether they will make it home on time for Christmas. We all deserve to be surrounded by our family and friends at Christmas, so lets hope a little Chris Rea will get everyone safely back to their loved ones.
So there you have it, my Christmas playlist. Songs that I will definitely listen to over the next few weeks, songs that I will play as we decorate our trees, make gingerbread and wrap presents. Songs that I will play in my kitchen, to drown out, the girls playing their Disney Mickey Sings Christmas CD in the playroom!
Why, not have a go and create your playlist too, you can tweet it using the #NTChristmasPlaylist and you might even win a festive hamper and have your playlist used in selected National Trust shops.