The Top Ten Best Christmas Movie Songs
Christmas movies have always been a great holiday tradition, a reason for the whole family to get together and enjoy a couple of hours of fun, laughter, love and Christmas spirit. Equally important are the soundtracks of these movies, songs of which are still popular and well loved some 60 years after they were first released. Here’s a list of the ten best Christmas songs from popular Christmas movies that have brought families and friends together on this peaceful holiday.
1. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – Judy Garland from Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
This song was introduced by Judy Garland in a poignant moment in the 1944 movie musical Meet Me In St. Louis. The filmmakers complained that the first version of the song’s lyrics was too depressing and commissioned a rewrite that became the most popular interpretation.
2. “Believe” – Josh Groban from The Polar Express (2004)
The Polar Express is a computer-animated film based on the children’s book of the same title by Chris Van Allsburg. Written, produced, and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the “human” characters in the film were “animated” using “live action” performance capture technique. The song, “Believe”, written by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri, was nominated for Best Original Song at the 77th Academy Awards. It was sung at the 77th Academy Awards show by original performer Josh Groban with Beyoncé Knowles. It gained a Grammy Award in 2006.
3. “White Christmas” – Bing Crosby from Holiday Inn (1942)
Irving Berlin wrote this Christmas song for the 1942 movie Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. It went on to win an Academy Award for Best Song From a Motion Picture. Bing Crosby’s version from the film has sold over 50 million copies. The morning after he wrote the song Berlin told his secretary, “Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written- hell, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s ever written!”
4. “Star of Bethlehem”– John Williams from Home Alone (1990)
Ever since Home Alone first won the hearts of audiences with an outstanding record-shattering showing at the box office, Williams’ score has existed among the highest standards for Christmas-related music from Hollywood. The score and its original title song would be nominated for two Academy Awards, and the film cleverly combines the score with traditional but refreshed Christmas carol recordings as well as a few original carols written by Williams himself.
5. “What’s This?” – Danny Elfman from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
This stop-motion animated fable was a big hit when it was released – not only at the box office, but critically. The Nightmare before Christmas was praised for its stunning originality and for the excellence of its execution. Composed by Danny Elfman, the movie’s soundtrack was nominated for the 1993 Golden Globe for best original score. The album peaked at #98 on the Billboard 200.
6. “Christmas Time Is Here” – Vince Guaraldi from A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Jazz pianist Guaraldi will forever be identified with the music he wrote for Peanuts TV specials. This song written for A Charlie Brown Christmas is a classic.
7. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Olivia Olsen from Love Actually (2003)
Love Actually is a British romantic comedy written and directed by Richard Curtis. The screenplay delves into different aspects of love as shown through ten separate stories involving a wide variety of individuals, many of whom are shown to be interlinked as their tales progress. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” was written and originally recorded by Mariah Carey. The soundtrack album reached the Top 40 of the US Billboard 200 in 2004 and ranked #2 on the soundtrack album chart. It also achieved gold record status in Australia and Mexico.
8. “Santa Baby” – Miss Piggy from It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002)
It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie is basically a Muppet version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, that pits Kermit and the gang against a corporate shark who intends to turn their theatre into a nightclub. The movie is full of zany parodies, with the Muppet Theater’s Christmas “Spectacular Spectacular” opening with a number set at the “Moulin Scrooge”. The climax is when Miss Piggy dons the role of “Saltine” and performs “Santa Baby”. This song was originally sung and recorded in 1953 by Eartha Kitt. The song was a huge hit for Kitt, and she later said that it was one of her favourite songs to record.
9. “Ochi Tchornya (Dark Eyes)” – Traditional Russian Folk Song from The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Though it inspired ’You’ve Got Mail,’ The Shop Around the Corner is a rom-com classic that feels more akin to ‘Love Actually’ in its unabashed romanticism. James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan are the oblivious couple on a crash-course toward love one Christmas Eve, proving one of film’s best pairings in the process.
10. Auld Lang Syne – Mairi Campbell from The Sex and the City Movie (2008)
The film score for The Sex and the City Movie was composed by Aaron Zigman and recorded with a large ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Newman Stage at 20th Century Fox in late April 2008. The soundtrack to the film also features original and traditional songs and compositions. “Auld Lang Syne” is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. A mournful, quiet rendition of “Auld Lang Syne”, with Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis, spins out over a New Year’s Eve in the movie.
So there you have it, ten great songs from ten fabulous movies. Some are more “Christmassy” than others, and some only feature the magical holiday in a few scenes. But all of them capture the warm and loving spirit of this most important celebration. These movies capture the fun and wonder of Christmas and they warm our hearts, restore our faith in humanity and generally bring joy to the world.