Do you hear what I hear?

Over 150 artists have covered "Winter Wonderland," but Bing Crosby’s version is the most recognizable due to his signature bass-baritone voice.

They’re more than just songs heard over the speakers of your local retail stores; the tunes we’ve been enjoying for decades have special meanings. With the holidays fast approaching, we say goodbye to hot, sunny days and hello to cold, winter evenings along with the glorious music you’ve learned to love (or hate). Here are a few classics you can’t forget to add to your holiday playlist.

Older:

1) “Winter Wonderland” by Bing Crosby

This winter song was written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith. Smith wrote the song during his time in the West Mountain Sanitarium, where he was being treated for tuberculosis. He was inspired to write the song after seeing Honesdale's Central Park covered in snow. Over 150 artists have covered this popular holiday song, but Bing Crosby’s version is the most recognizable due to his signature bass-baritone voice.

2) “Silent Night” by Bing Crosby

“Silent Night” is one of the oldest Christmas carols in history. It was originally a German poem titled “Stille Nacht” written in 1816 by Joseph Mohr. The melody was then composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber. Mohr wrote the piece during the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, and it served as an expression of longing for peace and comfort. It was translated into English in 1859, and Bing Crosby made the song very popular in 1935. Through the many generations who have grown up with this song, it still remains a favorite.

“’Silent Night’ has always been a favorite of mine ever since I was young,” John Solis, a sophomore radio-television-film major said. “It just speaks to me and it embodies the true meaning of Christmas.”

3) “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole

The song was written in 1944 by musician, composer and vocalist Mel Tormé and Bob Wells.
According to Tormé, the song was written in order to "stay cool by thinking cool" during an extremely hot summer. Nat King Cole first recorded the song in 1946 and later recorded it a few more times in order to experiment with different sounds.

Traditional:

1) “Let it Snow” by Frank Sinatra 

Written in 1945 by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, “Let it Snow” brings the feeling of cold, snowy nights even to those who live in areas where there usually are none. This song was actually written during one of the hottest days on record in California, and is a plea for a white blanket-covered ground. It was first recorded in 1945 by Vaughn Monroe and was a huge success. Since then, several artists have covered it due to its popularity and overall seasonal theme that appeals to all religious holiday celebrations. Frank Sinatra’s version, however, remains a well-known favorite.

2) “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee

Written by Johnny Marks in 1958 and made famous by Brenda Lee, this song has proven to be one of our Christmas favorites. Lee recorded this song when she was 13 years old, and despite her young voice, the single proved to be a success when it peaked as high as number 3 on Billboard’s Christmas singles chart in 1965. 

3) “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano

Written in 1970 by Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Jose Feliciano, “Feliz Navidad” is widely recognized internationally because of its bilingual lyrics. The song brings together two cultures to signify unity and takes the best of both worlds, no matter in which one of these you live.

Noah Solis, a junior audiology major said, “There are songs that you can hear over and over and love it every time. For me, that’s ‘Feliz Navidad.’ Sadly, even though I’m from a border town, I know next to no Spanish. But honestly, it’s one of those songs that no matter your background, you just want to join in.”

Modern:

1) “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon

Written by The Beatles legend John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Happy Christmas” has become a holiday favorite since its release in 1971. As one of the first singles Lennon released as a solo artist, the song protested the Vietnam War and was based upon the themes of social unity and peaceful change, as was Lennon’s goal throughout his musical career.

2) “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey co-wrote and co-produced this single with Walter Afanasieff. Already having released successful albums in her career, Carey agreed to release a Christmas-themed album. The singer-songwriter used the romance between her and her then-husband, Tommy Mottola, as the inspiration for this tune. It still remains one of her most popular songs to date.

3) “Christmas Lights” by Coldplay

The long-time favorite British band Coldplay is best known for their creative music videos and colorful lyrics. This single, released in 2010, proved to be a huge success and was praised by many fans that had the pleasure of listening to something Coldplay had not done before. 

Monica Manriquez, a sophomore education major said, “When I hear it, I think of walking through the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park and how pretty all of their lights look. I also love how my favorite band finally put out a holiday song, and how beautiful it sounds. It is definitely my favorite Christmas song.

The holidays would not be the same without the songs we can’t stop singing. No matter your taste in music, you’ll be sure to find a song that brings out the spirit in you.