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On December 25th, nine in 10 Americans will celebrate Christmas, but few understand why.
Time

Grammy-nominated artists John Ondrasik, aka Five For Fighting, and Jim Brickman have collaborated to send a message of love and support to the troops this holiday season with a new song, Christmas Where You Are.

To celebrate the song’s release, as well as Brickman’s new collection of holiday songs, A Joyful Christmas (out now), the two singers teamed up for a playlist of Christmas classics for USA TODAY. 

John Ondrasik:

Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Burl Ives

I have a video of my four-year-old daughter and I singing this classic…and boy does she steal the show!

In the Bleak Midwinter, Susan Boyle

If only Jeff Buckley covered this poetic masterpiece.

Christmas Time is Here, Vince Guaraldi Trio

Any song from Vince Guaraldi’s iconic Peanuts Christmas album can be found on my playlist 365 days a year.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer, Burl Ives

Nothing better for medley long car rides to grandma’s house.

White Christmas, Bing Crosby

Bingo!

 

Jim Brickman:

The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole 

Simply nostalgia at its finest. To me, the best Christmas songs are ones that are classics, and there’s no song out there more classic or honeyed in nostalgia than this one. 

Blue Christmas, Elvis Presley

The all-time shining example of how to perform and conceive a rock & roll Christmas song. Combined with its vintage sound and Elvis’ vocals, this song is an essential on my Christmastime playlists. 

Ave Maria, The Carpenters

It’s Karen Carpenter…what more could you ask for? I love the entire Carpenters Christmas Collection. I think it’s amazing, and this song in particular is a great Americana-flavored version of an international classic. 

Sleigh Ride, Leroy Anderson

Sleigh Ride wasn’t originally written with lyrics, and as an often instrumental-only songwriter, I feel the need to defend Leroy Anderson’s work! This song is a musical sleigh ride all on its own. 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Johnny Mathis

Besides being an iconic musician, personal idol, and (amazingly) a collaborator of mine, Johnny’s version of this song has always managed to get me into the holiday spirit. 

 

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