Song of the Week: “Jingle Bells” by Barbra Streisand

I grew up in a very close-knit family where one of the biggest contributors to our closeness was all the family trips we took. In particular, the trips we made every year, for either Thanksgiving or Christmas, to visit my grandparents in Mississippi.

The best part about those trips? The Christmas music.

My mom had a huge paper bag full of tapes with all her favorite Christmas albums, and it was a privilege to pick out which one we would listen to next in the minivan. My brother and sister both loved Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas. They’d fight over who got to choose it. My mom adored The Carpenters’ Christmas Portrait, and my dad usually grumbled and passed his choice on to someone else. That was part of the fun though! I really liked Home for Christmas by Amy Grant. And Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey. Ooh! And White Christmas by Martina McBride.

Somebody stop me!

There was one song though, that all of us loved, no matter whose turn it was to choose—Barbra Streisand’s enthusiastic rendition of “Jingle Bells.”

It starts with a majestic trumpet fanfare and continues on in a theatrical manner. I have vivid memories of all five of us belting this one out and trying our hardest to nail the “Ji-ji-ji-ji-ji-ji-jingle bells! Ja-ja-ja-ja-ja-ja-jangle bells!” part. We’d play the song, then rewind it, then play it again. Usually by the end, we’d dissolve into laughter and couldn’t hold out her final sustained “sleigh.” That’s probably a good thing. We are not the kind of family who can produce perfect, five-part harmonies. We don’t take holiday road trips anymore, but we still jam out to holiday music at home. It’s not a very original tradition, but it’s one of my absolute faves.

What about you? Do you have a favorite Christmas song? What about traditions or childhood memories from Christmases past? We’d love to hear about all your favorite holiday memories!

Here’s a playlist of holiday music for you to enjoy while running last-minute errands. Happy holidays, everyone!

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