Any collection of great Christmas songs should include "O Holy Night," "Gesu Bambino," "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Joy To The World." There are many competent performances of these songs, but none have really blown me away. At least none that are available on YouTube. Straight No Chaser - 12 Days of Christmas
The following includes a couple of live performances, plus studio recordings accompanied by photography, edited video, or old clips. None were originally posted by me, I just found them. In any case, I find these musical performances very enjoyable, and if I were to put together the perfect Christmas CD I would put them in the following order.
The DePaur Chorus - The Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy
As good as a glee club can be. It looks like you can get all the tracks from the DePaur Chorus's Calypso Christmas free here.
Amy Grant - Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Impeccable vocal and arrangement. And she actually improves upon the song by abolishing the chorus. If you don't know what I mean, click play.
John Denver and the Muppets - The Peace of Christmas Day
The album spawned from this tv special is a must-have. This is a song I haven't heard anywhere else.
Alexandra Sherman, The Choir Cantillation & The New Baroque Ensemble - O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings To Zion
Probably my favorite song from Handel's The Messiah.
Boston Pops - Sleigh Ride
Leroy Anderson's composition is probably best popular instrumental of all time, regardless of season. This is always better without the lyrics.
Never has a song been butchered so deservingly, or so well. The famed 1998 version, in which the group was in college, has been pulled, but you get the idea with this version. Bob Hope & Marilyn Maxwell - Silver Bells
This was the song's debut, from the movie The Lemon Drop Kid
, probably the best secular Christmas song of all, and one of the best songs ever written for a motion picture.
Royal Guardsmen - Snoopy's Christmas
There are at least two "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" songs by The Royal Guardsmen. I like the message of the Christmas one. Boney M: Mary's Boy Child
This group was more popular in the rest of the world than in America, but thankfully their greatest performance is played here at Christmastime.
Barenaked Ladies/Sarah Mclaughlin - God Rest Ye/We Three Kings
This is how rock stars should do Christmas.
Johnny Mathis: Do You Hear What I Hear
This is a great Christmas song not because it tells the Christmas story; it at most alludes to it. What makes it great is that all of the characters (the night wind or spirit, lamb, shepherd, king, child) are representatins of Jesus. Many singers have sung this well; I think Mathis's voice is particularly well-suited for it and his is my favorite version.