Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire
To escape the blistering heat of the 1944 summer, Mel Tormé and Bob Wells composed this hit on a balmy afternoon. Written in just 45 minutes, they penned down words that would make them feel cooler, such as “chestnuts” and “Jack Frost”. Also known as “The Christmas Song”, the single was performed by Nat King Cole, which catapulted the singer into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Written by Irving Berlin and popularised by Bing Crosby, this classic has sold 50 million copies worldwide and has been declared by the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest selling festive single made to date. It is also the most recorded song with over 500 renditions.
After hearing from his wife that his song title was a slang word bearing a washroom connotation, writer Jay Livingston made the switch from the original “Tinkle Bells” to “Silver Bells”. Co-writer Ray Evans later explained that the tinkle was actually inspired by the ringing bells of the Santa Clauses and Salvation Army workers on streets of New York.
Not just sung in December, the cheery Christmas song has its tune frequently chanted by Manchester United fans to taunt rival football club Chelsea supporters, the merry melody — when sung with gusto — takes a bold strike at the team’s current manager, José Mourinho.
Frosty the Snowman
If you listen carefully to the lyrics of this children’s song, you’ll find that there’s no mention of a single “Christmas” word at all. This gleeful melody centres on a tale of a snowman that magically comes to life after some children placed a hat on his head. Although there wasn’t any intention of it being a festive tune, this light-hearted track is certainly a well-loved one.
All I want for Christmas is you
This pop-hit sung by award-winning songstress Mariah Carey was the number one holiday ring tone in the US. Co-written by the singer and Walter Afanasieff in 2006, it was certified platinum in the UK, Italy and Denmark, and remains as an essential holiday tune for all.
Known as the first song to be broadcasted from space, this jolly jingle was performed by astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra in December 1965. Penned by famous American composer James Lord Pierpont, the men played the song with the help of a harmonica and bells on the Gemini 6 spacecraft. Both the instruments are now displayed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Despite its uplifting 1980s beat, this is actually a heartbreak anthem that was written based on a failed relationship. Performed by Brit band Wham!, this charity record was released in 1984 to aid the famine relief in Ethiopia. Strangely, this popular song was the highest-selling single in the UK, though it never clinched the top spot on the charts.
Do You Hear What I Hear
Affected by the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis back in 1962, couple Gloria Shayne Baker and Noël Regney composed this Yuletide tune as a petition for peace between the US and the Soviet Union. Baker and Regney later revealed that they could not perform the song as it had too much of an emotional impact on both of them.
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
At 13, singer Jimmy Boyd released this track to much controversy. Inferred to contain risqué contents, the song was banned in Boston in the 1950s. However, several listens will imply that the mother was actually kissing the child’s father who was dressed up as Santa.