Kids Christmas Songs
The way we celebrate Christmas may have changed over the years but the one constant that remains is that Christmas is the most special time of the year for kids. If you think back on your favourite Christmas memories it is more than likely that your most cherished ones come from your childhood. No other season brings such joy, wonder and those all important gifts as the Christmas season so it is no wonder that kids Christmas songs are central to our festive soundtrack.
To put it in context and to give you a flavour of what it was like growing up in our household all you’ve got to do is picture two little pigs called Pinky and Perky who released a Christmas album in 1969 called ‘Christmas With Pinky and Perky’. They may have sounded like a Chipmunks rip-off but boy did we savour the moment their ‘Snowy White Snow and Jingle Bells’ hit the needle (vinyl speak) for the first time each year. And speaking of the Chipmunks who could forget their classic ‘Christmas Don't Be Late (The Chipmunk Song)’ from 1958 which was so good it won 3 Grammy awards making it one of the greatest Christmas songs for kids of all time. Alvin, Simon and Theodore never looked back or ever resorted to spoilt pop star shenanigans (mostly because they were that way inclined already!). Equally furry and just as enjoyable were the Wombles of Wimbledon Common who recorded a Christmas record called ‘Wombling Merry Christmas’ in 1974 that is as popular today as it was way back then. Like all the best kids Christmas songs it has a winning chorus that makes it easy for everyone to join in.
Christmas music for kids has been around for a long time. If you go back to 1957 Bing Crosby released ‘A Christmas Story’ (aka as ‘How Lovely Is Christmas’) where he sings and tells Christmas stories about our hero young Jethro. Among the songs Bing got round to singing on the album was the title track ‘How Lovely Is Christmas’, something that has become an anthem of sorts around Yuleplay HQ. A few years after Bing's album saw TV coming around to the notion that Christmas was big business which in turn lead to the first screening of the stop-motion short ‘Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer’. Of particular interest to us was the soundtrack which included a feast of delights from Burl Ives including the title track and his own classic ‘A Holly Jolly Christmas’.
When you think about Christmas songs for children most people think of Charlie Brown and that animated TV special from 1965 ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’. Such a simple story but in many ways ahead of its time in its argument denouncing the erosion of traditional Christmas values. The cartoon would provide many childrens Christmas songs that were lovingly rendered by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. Who could ever forget ‘Christmas Time Is Here’ or even whistle ‘O Tannenbaum’ without picturing Charlie’s broken down but much loved Christmas tree. Although not as widely heralded (at least outside of the U.K. where it was produced) the 1982 animated short 'The Snowman' was responsible for giving us a children's classic in Aled Jones' song 'Walking In The Air'. This was a Christmas songs for kids by one of their own.
Christmas movies have supplied us with some brilliant scores throughout the years and in the process have given us plenty of Christmas music for kids. The most obvious ones include the John Williams soundtrack for ‘Home Alone’ with its gorgeous Christmas carols for children such as ‘Carol of The Bells’ and ‘O Holy Night’. The soundtrack to the 1994 remake of ‘Miracle of 34th Street’, which was composed by Bruce Broughton, was equally flush with Christmas carols for kids including ‘Joy To The World’ and ‘Bellevue Carol’. Its also included Elvis’ hip take on ‘Santa Claus Is Back In Town’. Other movies stuff full of Christmas music for kids include ‘Santa Claus: The Movie’, ‘Elf’ and from much more recent times ‘The Polar Express’ which included the gorgeous ‘Believe’ from Josh Groban.
If it’s funny Christmas songs for kids you’re after there is so much to choose from it might take you the whole 12 days to get through them all, so let’s focus on the best. Spike Jones ‘All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth’ has reached vintage status at this stage but it doesn’t make it any less of a belly laugh for the young ones each December. It is topical too given the rate of tooth loss in that age group! For all round chuckle fests you have got to reach for the John Denver and the Muppets’ album ‘A Christmas Together’ wherein the country bard struggles to contend with Miss Piggy, Kermit, Gonzo et al over a soundtrack that includes children’s favourites such as ‘Deck The Halls’, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ and closing number ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’. If the mayhem of the Muppets is a bit too much for you then perhaps ‘Merry Christmas from Sesame Street’ might be a milder alternative with plenty of preschool Christmas songs on show. Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, Count Von Count, Big Bird and even Mr. Snuffleupagus all contribute to favourites such as ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and ‘(All I Want for Christmas Is) My Two Front Teeth’.
If you are looking for a more conventional Christmas album with appeal for youngsters the ‘Jackson 5 Christmas Album’ from 1970 is ideal. Featuring classic renditions of ‘Frosty The Snowman’, ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ and the slightly cheeky ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ this is an album that is stuffed full of Christmas songs for kids to sing along to. And that’s what makes Christmas songs for kids so special, the ability for them to join in whenever they feel like it. Songs such as Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ and Lou Monte’s ‘Dominick The Donkey’ demand a chorus of young voices to reach their true potential.
Christmas carols are such an integral part of the season and there is a very special compilation called ‘60 Christmas Carols for Kids’ recorded by the Countdown Kids (St. John’s Children’s Choir). Christmas carols for children have rarely been presented as well as on this album with all of the popular traditionals covered including ‘Away In A Manger’, ‘While Shepherds Watched’, ‘The First Noel’ and ‘O Little Town Of Bethlehem’.