Pick 5: Merry and Bright Christmas Favorites - The Birthplace of Country Music
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Pick 5: Merry and Bright Christmas Favorites

The guitar statue in front of the museum decorated with a big red bow.

For our “Pick 5” blog series, we ask members of the Radio Bristol team to pick five songs within a given theme – from heartsongs to murder ballads and everything in between! Once they pick their “5,” they get the chance to tell us more about why they chose those songs. With a diverse staff of knowledgeable DJs, we’re sure to get some interesting song choices, which might introduce you to some new music, all easily accessible by tuning into Radio Bristol!

When the chilly winds begin to blow through the hills and hollers of Appalachia, everyone knows that the holidays will soon be upon us. With tinsel and bright lights glimmering everywhere and friends and relations making merry, it’s hard not to be in the holiday spirit. If you need a little extra push to get in the Christmas spirit, however, look no further! For this month’s “Pick 5,” we turned to some of our BCM staff to select their favorite holiday tunes, ones to help our listeners feel merry and bright. Here are their selections:

“I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” Summer Apostol, Frontline Associate

“I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” is my favorite Christmas song because of how ridiculously cute it is. What kind of kid asks for a hippo for Christmas? And are you sure nothing else will do, Gayla? The song just continues to baffle and stupefy you as you start to think about the logistics of obtaining a hippopotamus for a young child in Oklahoma City. I was first introduced to the song when I was ten years old. My best friend at the time made me a CD with “essential songs” I should know. “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” was an instant favorite from this CD for me (“Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira was a close second favorite on this mix). I would play the song on repeat and sing the song to my purple hippopotamus ty baby, imagining he was a real hippo. It’s not just nostalgia that makes this Christmas classic one of my favorites, it’s also the fact that 10-year-old Gayla Peevey, the original singer, was actually gifted a hippopotamus by a local promoter who oversaw a campaign to buy a real hippo for her based on the song’s popularity and Peevey’s local roots! Gayla donated her Christmas gift to the zoo, where he spent the remainder of his life, happy and content knowing that he made a little girl’s Christmas wish come true.

“Merry Christmas Everybody,” Scotty Almany, Digital Resources Manager

There were a few songs in contention for my favorite, but in the end, I chose the 1973 glam-era gem “Merry Christmas Everybody” from the British band Slade. I have been a huge fan of 1970s glam rock since my mid- to late teens, so the style of the song appealed to my everyday tastes in music, and I also like that it is a light-hearted tune that you can sing along with and enjoy. I also like the way the song was written. It seems like a lot of non-traditional holiday songs tend to be ironic or insincere, often coming across as hokey or just bad, but Slade seems to really be having fun in every performance I have seen or heard of the song. “So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun!”

“Happiest Little Christmas Tree,” Kim Davis, Director of Marketing

Christmas songs are my FAVORITE. In fact, I start listening to Christmas songs NON-STOP beginning November 1 and continue through to the end of the year. My current favorite is “Happiest Little Christmas Tree” by Nat King Cole. The song was released in the late 1950s on Cole’s Christmas album; however, I just discovered the song this year, nearly 70 years later. Just listening to the song will bring a smile to your face, especially, if you listen to it while looking at your festively decorated tree!

“Oh, I’m the happiest Christmas tree
Hoo hoo hoo, hee hee hee
Look how pretty they dressed me
Oh, lucky, lucky me.

I got shiny bells that jingle
And tiny lights that tingle
Whenever anyone passes by
I blink my lights and I wink my eye…”

With lyrics like that, how could you not get a smile on your face?

“Where Are You Christmas?” Erika Barker, Sales & Business Development Manager

“Where Are You Christmas?” is my favorite Christmas song in part because it was sung by my favorite character in my favorite Christmas movie: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). When I was little I loved the Christmas season, and I wanted to be just like Cindy Lou Who, I would put my hair up in crazy Who-Hairstyles and dance around the house singing this song. As I have grown up, this song still resonates with me because as my world has changed each year so has the way I experience Christmas. Just because I am not the little girl pretending to be a Who in my parents living room anymore doesn’t mean the joy of Christmas has gone away. The magic of Christmas is still here if we just know how to look for it!

“Arthur McBride,” Emily Robinson, Collections Manager

I learned about this song from Rosanne Cash’s New York Times article about her favorite ballads a few years back. She says that she listened to it a thousand times. I did too. Paul Brady’s beautiful, lilting voice, his precise and intricate guitar playing… this gorgeous, haunting song should be on everyone’s Christmas playlist.

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