I do not have any exact data to back this up; I am totally basing this upon anecdotal or observational information. But, when it comes to rock-based Christmas decorations, four artists actually appear dominate the season: Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Grateful Dead and (Surprise! Surprise!) Kiss. As we all know, the images of Elvis have been ubiquitous since his passing in 1977, and that Kiss have been marketed for all kinds of items, from string lights and Christmas balls to JPEGs and coffins. Additionally, we all know that The Beatles are marketed heavily as well. But the Dead? You bet! Actually, there have been so many dancing bear string lights and different types of ornaments, that you could have created a Christmas dedicated to the Dead, or any of those other artists as well.
For me, I attempt to make my rock & roll Christmas tree as eclectic as possible, with ornaments not only represented the “Big Four” but others as well. Over the years, I have accumulated various ornaments that promote disparate artists such as AC/DC, Santana, Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, Run-DMC and Alice Cooper. Additionally, I have the aforementioned Christmas string lights (actually, I finally found a string of Kiss lights, to put the final touch on my tree for this year). Once I get those lights, I plan to put some photos of my tree on this blog, but it may be a week longer.
As you remember, there are two situations which may have influenced my love of Christmas music. First, there were those days in the late-Sixties when I would lay down in the babysitter’s living room, quietly listening to The Ventures Christmas Album as her state-of-the-art aqua-blue lava lamp bubbled away and the rotating three-color wheel slowly rotated colors in front of a projection light that bathed her aluminum-silver Christmas tree. I would just stare at the cover, precociously reading the recording information.
Then, there were those LONG, sleepless Christmas Eves during the ages of four to seven, when I was sent to bed early, like eight- or nine-o’clock, expected to sleep until Christmas morning. But, when you are an non-medicated/undiagnosed ADHD child, Christmas Eve can actually seem like the day with the longest amount of nighttime, even though that day was actually a couple of days earlier. But, I kept my AM radio turned on all night, first pulling in the signal of the local radio station as it played Christmas music until the station went off the air at midnight. Still, I remember the haunting vocals of the Harry Simeone Chorale performing their definitive version of “Little Drummer Boy.” Then, I would spent a few seemingly long minutes as I searched the dial for another station playing Christmas music, when I discovered the sound of Fort Wayne’s once seminal AM station WOWO. Much to my surprise, I was hearing newer versions of these Christmas songs. It was on that station that I discovered Phil Spector’s artists, Motown artists, Elvis, Chuck Berry and many other rockers doing their versions of all of those Christmas songs, hymns and carols. Finally, there was an air of freshness being pumped into these songs we sang in school and church. From the moment I heard Otis Redding’s version of “White Christmas” or the Beach Boys’ rocking yuletide original “Little Saint Nick,” I was hooked. And WOWO became my first late-night foray into rock music.
Now, 50-some years on, let’s take a look at the next 20 songs on my Top 200 Modern Christmas Songs of All Time, specifically numbers 60 to 41. So, let’s get this thing going!
60. Stevie Wonder – “Someday at Christmas” 
59. Sufjan Stevens – “Christmas in the Room” 
58. Shake Some Action! – “Christmas in the Sun” 
57. Bob Dylan – “Must Be Santa” 
56. Kurtis Blow – “Christmas Rappin’” 
55. Jimmy Eat World – “Last Christmas” 
54. Ariana Grande – “Santa Tell Me” 
53. Bob & Doug McKenzie – “The Twelve Days of Christmas” 
52. Vince Guaraldi Trio – “Christmastime Is Here” 
51. Bobby Helms – “Jingle Bell Rock” 
50. Chicago – “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” 
49. Cheech & Chong – “Santa & His Old Lady” 
48. Greg Lake – “I Believe in Father Christmas” 
47. Eurythmics – “Winter Wonderland” 
46. Hanson – “Finally, It’s Christmas” 
45. The Staple Singers – “Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas” 
44. Madonna – “Santa Baby” 
43. William Bell – “Every Day Will Be like a Holiday” 
42. Elvis Presley – “Blue Christmas” 
41.The Beach Boys – “Little Saint Nick” 
Yes! We are now ready for my Top 40 beginning tomorrow! See you in 23 and a half hours or so. Have a great day!