9- This song is one in a trilogy of Christmas songs that portray the Christmas story in a way that stirs the soul. It’s one of those traditional carols that has been around forever, but masterfully teaches what Christmas is all about.
It originated in France, but the first English translation was published in 1860. French Shepherds had a Christmas Eve tradition of shouting “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” as they watched their flock. This line, now part of the chorus of this song, is the Latin translation of “Glory to God in the Highest.”
This version of the song, in particular, fills me with childlike wonder of the birth of one child long ago who is the reason for the season.
10- It was Andy Williams who helped launch the career of Donny Osmond at age 5. Fifty years later, Osmond has sold 100 million records. Eighteen of his 33 gold records were achieved before he turned 13.
Given Andy Williams title of “Mr. Christmas”, it’s appropriate that Donny eventually recorded a christmas album. “Christmas at Home” was the result. Among the songs on this album is “The Kid in Me” which gives the ultimate description of what it’s like to be a kid at Christmas time.
This song really speaks to my inner child. I eagerly awaited the appearance of Santa Claus with a personal letter and a plate of cookies every year. Today, I experience the joy of giving gifts as a husband and father.
11- Robert L. May published the story this song is based on as a promotional gift for customers of the Montgomery Ward Department Stores in 1939. The story soared in popularity and became a hit song ten years later.
Gene Autry, ironically, wanted nothing to do with this song. At the urging of his wife, he agreed to do it and it has become the second-biggest selling christmas song of all time.
Somewhere in a dusty corner of my brain there is a memory of singing this song with my family days before Christmas. That was the first time I heard the cues associated with certain words in the song, i.e. “You would even say it glowed…like a flashlight.”
12- Though many artists have covered this song, it is Bing Crosby’s version that has become a holiday standard. “White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin for the 1942 movie Holiday Inn.
It was on the Hot 100 list every year after that until 1963. “White Christmas” is the number one selling christmas song of all time, and for a long time, was the biggest-selling song of all time, in any genre of music. But Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” eventually beat it out.
This was the signature song for the 1954 film of the same name, which is what I remember it from. It brings back memories of grandma’s house, where I grew up watching it. The air was filled with the sights and smells of Christmas and I was happy.
May your Christmas be just as happy! 🙂