As the holidays approach, we run headlong into those serialized holiday movie classics and their holiday songs. What A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street are great, but we live in modern times, and any top five list should encompass a wider range of movies.
For the Top Five Holiday Songs on film list, we included some truly iconic performances, along with pieces we believe will age well over time. What do you think?
1. Bing Crosby – “White Christmas” – White Christmas
How many of you find yourself humming this iconic tune as you walk down freshly powdered nighttime streets? Quite possibly one of the most popular Christmas tunes of all time. From the famous Christmas movie of the same name, starring Bing Crosby, this song has become an American folk piece with its presence in the great American songbook.
Sentimentality is what gives this song its enduring quality. The melodic lines instill a simply “emotional” tone, giving the tune legs in either sad or happy contexts. It just makes you feel more Christmas-y, in our opinion.
1. Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Elf
Frank Loesser wrote the classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” to sing with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their housewarming party in New York City. It’s become a classic since and this redo with Deschanel’s whispy vocals complementing Redbone’s iconic raspy drawl is perfect in time and place.
Being placed in Elf also gives this version credit. Quirky, sometimes uncomfortable, but altogether with a good heart; the film, Deschanel, and Redbone all unite under these pillars of identity.
Note: If you’re unfamiliar with Leon Redbone, you have to listen to ”The Sheik of Araby.
1. Mariah Carey – “All I Want for Christmas is You” – Love Actually
Putting a strictly 90’s pop holiday classic on the list can be a bit… well… cheesy. But, for the open-minded person this is possibly one of the best modern holiday songs ever written.
As sung by Olivia Olson, who played Joanna Anderson in Love Actually. The tune is played by a bunch of children, which is always super cute, along with a full choral ensemble. It’s full of cheer and good-natured. The definition of comedic feel-good.
1. Bing Crosby – “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” – A Christmas Story
The great thing about this song is along with being a classic, performed by a classic crooner, it’s in perhaps one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time, A Christmas Story.
Bing Crosby’s signature tone, low-end with tight delivery has become synonymous with Christmas, holidays and great cheer.
1. Danny Elfman – “Kidnap the Sandy Claws” – The Nightmare Before Christmas
For a Christmas movie, anybody born after 1990 can’t deny The Nightmare Before Christmas is quite possibly one of the most fantastic of all time. Its interesting Christmas-via-Halloween perspective in both the movie and songs themselves, it’s been a memorable part of any millennial’s life since before they can remember.
It’s also a truly comedic triumph for Danny Elfman. He has done literally everything when it comes to cinematic themes. A veritable genius in all things he touches, Elfman spared no jokes and grace in this piece.