Holiday Songs

Holiday Songs to Unify Families

One of the most influential musical categories for children is holiday songs, because they usually end up learning and singing the same holiday songs every year as they grow up. Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter stand out as the holidays that bring families closer together, which often involves singing or listening to special songs for the occasion. Many of the genre's most well known songs were composed between the 1930s and the 1970s, but there are still many new holiday songs that surface every year.

Popular Holiday Songs

It's no wonder that Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" is the best selling single of all time, selling over 30 million copies. It's been heard every Christmas since it originally came out. The song was written by Irving Berlin in 1940 for the Bing Crosby film "Holiday Inn," which was released two years later. Irving wrote music for every holiday of the year as well as many other hits of the era. The public first heard a live version of "White Christmas" on Bing Crosby's NBC radio show on Christmas Day in 1941 before any recording was made. Bing recorded the song the following May and the movie hit theaters in August. By 1945 it had become the biggest selling single of all time.

One of the biggest selling Christmas songs since that time has been "Do They Know It's Christmas," recorded by an all-star line-up called Band Aid in 1984. The lyrics were written by Bob Geldof and the music was composed by Midge Ure. The song was a charity for famine relief in Africa and helped raise $14 million. Many other holiday songs are among the most popular songs of all time as well. "Happy Birthday" may not be considered a holiday song, but since people celebrate on their birthday it feels like a holiday. It's probably the most sung song each day around the world.

Unique Holiday Music

The song "A Thanksgiving Day - Boy's Thanksgiving Day" was based on a poem written by Lydia Maria Child. This 1840s poem was later set to music by an anonymous composer. The song tells a unique story that reflects on Lydia's memories of visiting her Grandfather as a child. "Over the River and Through the Woods" was the original title. It is also sometimes called "The New-England Boy's Song About Thanksgiving Day." It's a unique song because it represents a time capsule in a person's life. Some of the original lyrics that were omitted were "the dogs do bark, and children hark, as we go jingling by."

Another example of a very unique holiday song is "Sam and Roz Are Coming To Town," which is a parody of "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town." The humorous parody was composed by the Mad Magazine staff, opening with: "You'd better give up / on Christmas this year / You haven't a chance / with relatives here / Sam and Roz are coming to town." The song jokes about how one better look for a hotel while relatives visit because of their invasive behavior.

Holiday Songs in Movies and TV

Every year kids get to see several holiday specials on television, especially around Christmas time. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman" are two of the most cherished songs of the season and are featured in TV specials that air year after year. The combination of hearing these songs each Christmas associated with animated visuals make these songs stand out as incredibly memorable. The "Rudolph" special first aired in December 1964 and was one of the first holiday TV specials shot in color.

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