The Twelve Days of Christmas Classics is on! Starting with “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” EW is putting the best versions of the most-covered Christmas songs up to a daily vote to compile the ultimate holiday playlist. If your favorite singer isn’t in the list below, you better not pout: Each artist will only appear once throughout the next 12 days. Listen to our top six, vote for your favorite, and let us know why you made your pick in the comments below.
UPDATE: The polls are closed, and we have our winners! Listen to YOUR ultimate holiday playlist here.
Our Twelve Days of Christmas Classics continues with the most-performed Christmas song of all time, simply titled “The Christmas Song” – but you might know it better by its first line: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”
The song’s toasty lyrics – invoking the holiday imagery of mistletoe, flying reindeer, and bundling up like Eskimos – were written by crooner Mel Tormé and composer Robert Wells back in 1944. Tormé’s 1954 version is included in our top six below, but is it the ultimate “Christmas Song”? Kids from 1 to 92 (and beyond) can make their pick below:
Nat King Cole (1946)
This first recorded version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974. Just like the casual video below of a cross-armed Cole simply singing the song, the big-band baritone makes the Christmas classic seem effortless.
Mel Tormé (1954)
“The Christmas Song” as sung by the man who knew it best, Tormé’s version is silky smooth. No surprise, given his nickname was The Velvet Fog.
New Kids on the Block (1989)
This one is for the true NKOTB devotees, who can’t resist when Jordan Knight – just 19 at the time – brings out his lady-killing falsetto.
Christina Aguilera (2001)
Whereas Nat and Mel went the simple route, Xtina is anything but simple. If you love melisma – not to mention childhood footage of Christina’s Christmas past and plenty of candelabras – this one’s for you.
Arcade Fire (2002)
Nearly a decade before they took home the Album of the Year Grammy, Arcade Fire put out the haphazard holiday EP A Very Arcade Xmas. The indie band took some liberties with the lyrics … and with the melody … and with the beat, but that’s what rock and roll’s all about, right?
Whitney Houston (2003)
The late singer’s voice makes every song better, and she brought yet another iconic interpretation to “The Christmas Song.” Bonus: Her addition of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa to the holiday lineup.
How did you pick your favorite, PopWatchers? Make your case in the comments below! And hurry up: Voting closes daily at midnight ET.