Some songs that I remember vividly being a part of the ritual of Christmas seem to have largely disappeared. I’m sure they are still sung in churches and amongst families, but it seems like more modern songs such as “Frosty the Snowman,” various country stars/animals singing “Jingle Bells” and even the still-not-funny “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” have supplanted the traditional carols, at least in public. This isn’t part of any conspiracy by secularlists; there are tons of xmas songs that reference Jesus, God, the bible or combinations of all three, routinely massacred each and every year by whomever is the flavour of the month these days.
But some of the less-pious songs, or songs with too many verses, et cetera, seem to have fallen by the wayside: you simply don’t hear “Good King Wenceslas,” “I Saw Three Ships” or “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” as often as you do, say “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Likewise, when was the last time you actually saw the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol (aka Scrooge, UK title) with Alastair Sim on your teevee machine? Sure, you’ve seen (or avoided, if you’re like me) It’s a Wonderful Life about a thousand times since Thanksgiving, and it’s not that I have anything against more modern holiday “classics” like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but the 1951 A Christmas Carol is just the best holiday movie ever (as anyone who’s been around me in December will know, cuz I make people watch it whenever possible!) and it’s a mystery as to why it and movies like it (the original Miracle on 34th Street, Christmas in Connecticut, the eye-popping Fujicolour of White Christmas) get such short shrift over the newer, but perhaps less intimate, holiday movies.
Anyway, here’s another example of a song you heard a lot when you were a kid, and hardly ever hear now -- “Angels We Have Heard on High” (aka In Excelis Deo). I’m giving you another two-fer here: the original version sweetly done by Sixpence None the Richer, and the similar but hilarious new version as performed by Feist on Stephen Colbert’s great “A Colbert Christmas” special.
EDIT: A big lump of coal to Viacom this year. They forced me to find an alternate source!
Here’s the video for our US readers:
And for Canadians, a link to the song on the Comedy Network. Lame.