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5 Classic Christmas Songs

As shops start to pile on the festive cheer and stock-up on Christmas delights despite the fact there are still three full months between now and the big day, chances are you either love this fact or hate it.

Whether you find yourself muttering your way around stores about it being too early to sell Christmas stuff and play Christmas songs or skipping merrily down the aisles while singing along to the lyrics, there can be no denying that Christmas songs are big business.


Every year many of us indulge in our favourites, be that modern takes on classics, hymns or catchy carols. And recent research has highlighted that a chunk of us are more likely to spend more on gifts when stores play Christmas songs. Nowadays, we hear lots of tunes sung by the likes of Slade, Mariah Carey, The Pogues and Band Aid as we go about our day – but we mustn’t forget about the classic Christmas songs which continue to entertain and bring joy to listeners many decades after they were launched.

1. The Christmas Song

This classic tune was first penned in 1944 by Mel Tormé and Bob Wells, and is able to succinctly sum up Christmas – with chestnuts on the fire and mention of Jack Frost, mistletoe, reindeers and turkey within the lyrics. This song is often subtitled Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire, and was initially subtitled Merry Christmas To You, and is said to have been written during a red hot summer.

2. White Christmas

Written for the 1942 film Holiday Inn by Irving Berlin, this song became a hit straightaway, reaching the top spot in October of that year and staying put for 11 weeks. Its success generated a film of the same name in 1954 starring Bing Crosby.

3. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Just the title of this track is likely to have you humming along merrily, as it conjures up Christmases of our childhood for so many of us. This song was first aired on the radio in November 1934 and an impressive 400,000 copies had been sold by that Christmas. With lyrics by “Haven” Gillepsie, this classic tune is said to have been outlined in around 10 minutes by American songwriter John Frederick Coots. Over the years, versions have been sung by Nat King Cole and the Jackson 5.

4. Walking In The Air

The animated classic of The Snowman, a book by Raymond Briggs, became an instant hit when first shown in 1982. Its success was thanks in part to the brilliant theme tune by Howard Blake. Haunting and memorable, the song was originally sung by Peter Auty, but it was Aled Jones who took it into the charts in 1985.

5. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

Written by Johnny Marks and based on the 1939 story of the same name, this song was first sung by Harry Brannon in 1949 – before Gene Autry’s recording reached number one in Christmas 1949 and went on to sell 2.5million copies in the first year alone.

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