The holidays are a favorite time for children all around the world. With Christmas specials on television almost every day and holiday songs flooding the airwaves, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with options on which songs to teach them first. To help you narrow down your choices, here is a shortlist of some favorite holiday children’s songs that will be fun for both children and parents to sing along to.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Every child loves this timeless, catchy tune! Plus, it’s got a great opening line in the form of a cautionary tale that spells out the theme of not getting presents if you’re bad, and being rewarded for being good—and we all love it when there’s a little moral to the story. This is such a classic, popular tune that almost all holiday baby music CDs and compilations include it. The rhyming in the song is easy to learn and helps boost phonemic learning and vocabulary building.
Silent Night. This is one of the oldest and most popular Christmas songs ever. The original German version was written in 1818 by Austrian Catholic priest Josef Mohr and the melody was composed by Franz Gruber, but it wasn’t translated to English until 1859. It’s a beautiful and sacred song (it’s actually considered a Christian hymn) that is easy to learn and is even used in many musical baby toys geared to the holidays, probably because of the lulling effect it has on infants and toddlers. No holiday baby CD would be complete without this time-honored tune.
We Wish You a Merry Christmas. This upbeat melody dates back to the 16th Century and is another song that’s often featured on musical baby toys. The song paid homage to the longstanding English tradition when wealthy families in the community doled out holiday treats such as pies and puddings to the carolers who serenaded them on their doorsteps. The song’s catchy chorus helps children build memory skills and learn about tone and enunciation.
In addition, the Spanish version, Feliz Navidad, which means “Merry Christmas" in Spanish, is a pretty direct translation that even includes the wish for a prosperous and happy new year in its chorus, "Feliz Navidad… próspero año y felicidad." Baby CD products often include this version when the emphasis is on learning the Spanish language. It’s such an easy song to learn in English and therefore offers a quick introduction to Spanish.
image credit: minnesota.publicradio.org