Christmas Carols: My Top and Bottom Five!

Niagara-on-the-Lake Candlelit Stroll

I’ve done music my whole life: it’s a huge part of my passion, so I knew I had to share my favourite and least favourite Christmas carols- from all those concerts I’ve sung in, listened to, muzak in stores, and ridiculous covers on the radio.

Ottawa Regional Youth Choir in 2009 at the EU’s Christmas Concert in Ottawa, I’m in the front row in Swedish “Sankta Lucia” dress

Top 5 Christmas Carols

1) Lo’ How a Rose/ Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen

This hymn is often a part of my home church’s Christmas Eve service. The lights are dim, we have our candles burning, and we sing a verse or two in German. I may not know much German, but it’s the language of my Russian Mennonite ancestors (even my parents grew up speaking German) so it always makes me feel like it’s even more holy and special. 

2) Hark the Herald Angels Sing

It took me a while to love this hymn, I never found it all that interesting until I started my tradition of watching “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” each year as a young adult. At the end of the movie, when the kids realize that Christmas is about Jesus, they start singing this around Charlie’s sad tree. Which reminds me, I should find a stream of that and watch it soon!

3)  Oh Holy Night

Every Christmas Eve service at my church, one of the best sopranos sings this at the end. I usually bawl. She’s phenomenal. Last year with my voice teacher I managed to hit the top notes for the descant part, and I loved it.

4) Swedish Carols

For many years, the Swedish Embassy in Ottawa partnered with IKEA to put on a Sankta Lucia concert at the beginning of December. It was always one of my favourite concerts to do, even with the burning candles we had to carry! It’s been many years since I last sang them, and I tried to hunt down a video of the version of “Away in a Manger” that we sang, but I can’t. Either way, it’s beautiful. It was also always fun doing a Christmas concert in your pajamas under that white robe, with the tinsel in your hair!

I’m in the middle of the group with the side braid.

5) O Come All Ye Faithful

I love the chords, and I love the descant for verse three. It’s always so much fun to sing!

Bottom 5 Christmas Carols

1) The Twelve Days of Christmas

Is there any song more annoying than that one? Doubt it.

2) Huron Carol

When I was 19, my choir (Ottawa Regional Youth Choir) made a Christmas CD. We basically practiced and recorded for a whole year, so I never got away from Christmas. My conductor’s arrangement of the carol had some tricky parts, so we sang this over and over. And over. I’m so over this carol.

3) The Drummer Boy

I take back my comment for the Twelve Days of Christmas. This song is more annoying.

4) Frosty the Snowman

Super depressing. Also, what did it have to do with Christmas?

5) Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabelle

Not interested in this song at all. Had to sing it one year at the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s free Christmas concert in the NAC lobby, and I hated it. Maybe it’s too peppy for me?

Check out some origins of certain carols!

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