The classic melodies and familiar lyrics of certain holiday songs immediately bring back treasured childhood memories of family gatherings and beloved traditions. Here, our readers reveal their favorite Christmas carols and why they hold such special meaning for them.
My favorite Christmas carol was (and still is) “The Little Drummer Boy.” I remember as a child my mother calling me into the kitchen to listen when it came on the radio. The little drummer boy, beckoned to see the newborn king, lamented that he did not have a gift worthy enough to bring. So he played his drum for the Baby Jesus. He played his best for Him. The ox and lamb kept time to the steady beat of pa-rum, pum-pum-pum, rum-pum-pum-pum. I sat in silence, waiting to hear the final line of the song: “Then He smiled at me … me and my drum.”
The little drummer boy gave his most precious gift—his ability to play the drum—and the Christ Child smiled at him in appreciation. This carol touched me every time I heard it growing up, and at the ripe old age of 59, it touches me even more today. I, too, have no gift to bring that’s fit to give our King, except for the talents He has bestowed to me. I will honor Him in the very best way I can, always remembering with that very simple faith I had as a child that He is the very reason we celebrate this wonderful season!
–DIANE HARDY, Wyandotte, Michigan
Without a doubt, my all-time favorite Christmas carol is the classic Irving Berlin tune, “White Christmas.” Although I have lived in Florida now for more than thirty-five years, I grew up in Minnesota, where we always had a snow-covered holiday. Whenever I am homesick for the winter landscapes of my youth, this song never fails to take me back to that nostalgic time.
In addition, my mother was always a huge Bing Crosby fan, and our whole family loved to watch the movie of the same name, starring him and the marvelous Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen. The story was so moving and the scenery so magical! Seeing the film and hearing the song always make my days merry and bright!
–MARGERY JACOBSEN, Lake Mary, Florida
Warmth and coziness come to mind when I think of my favorite carol, “The Holly and the Ivy.” This particular song is thought to date back over a thousand years, and the author and composer are unknown. Every time I hear it, I envision my little small-town church, nestled in the mountains. The aromas of candle wax and pine tickled my senses. The holiday gathering of folks usually featured a delicious potluck dinner before we all got down to the business of decorating the church for Christmas. Everyone brought bunches of cut pine, holly, and ivy, as well as red-velvet ribbons. We fashioned these materials into gorgeous wreaths and garlands and carefully placed them onto the windowsills, adding candlesticks to complete the adornments.
I will always cherish these memories, and I still smile when this beloved carol is played.
–SUSIE CRISP, Murphy, North Carolina
To me, the most moving Christmas carol would have to be “What Child is This?” From beginning to end, the song takes me from the innocence of a babe newly born into this world to the hope, joy, and peace He has brought to each and every one of us. It is a realization that the love Jesus showed while walking among us was the best gift we could ever receive.
Today, with people throughout the world suffering the effects of the current economic crisis, it is even more important to be grateful for this precious gift. I appreciate all the little things about Christmas—going to church, receiving holiday cards, enjoying a warm mug of hot chocolate, praying for loved ones and even those I don’t know, and remembering the elderly and the lonely. These things are satisfying in a way that no materialistic item could ever be. “What Child is This?” fills me with the true spirit of Christmas, and I love listening to it often during the Yuletide season.
–ANITA ARIAS, Canyon Lake, California