Kathleen Schultz, SVM news editor
My shy, sweet mom had such a beautiful voice, angelic, really – very mezzo-soprano-ish – but she was modest, and did all her singing in church.
One of my favorite childhood Christmas memories is leaning against her arm, my cheeks rubbing on the itchy wool of her coat, feeling her warmth as she sang "O Holy Night."
I can see her turn her head, look down at me and smile, softly singing, wearing that fuchsia-pink lipstick she loved when she was younger. Her face is so far away from me, I must be very small, maybe 5 or 6.
I remember struggling to stay awake – I think it was midnight Mass. I remember the smell of her perfume, how it mingled with the thick, heady odor of incense. I remember feeling utterly loved, and so very happy.
Now, every time I hear that song, that memory rushes in like a tsunami and I just well up. When it gets to the first "fall on your knees," I'm a wet washrag. I practically do.
Merry Christmas, Mom. I miss you.
Jennifer Heintzelman, SVM general manager
At the start of the month, I was feeling a bit bah, humbug about Christmas music interrupting my daily listening lineup. I'm very much a creature of habit. When I come into the office everyday, I like to turn on my radio – yes, radio, not computer, YouTube, Pandora or Spotify.
I like to have background music on throughout the day; it helps me to stay focused. I wasn't feeling the Christmas music until just this week. It probably helps that we finally got our tree up at home and that I've started to do some shopping. This has helped to get me into the spirit.
I like most Christmas songs performed by pop singers because they are typically upbeat and joyful. Artists like John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie and even Adam Sandler have produced songs that top my Christmas song list.
The one song though that has always struck a chord with me, and even gets me to tear up, is "Silent Night," so I'd have to say that one is my favorite. It's an oldie but goodie. I remember singing it in a Christmas pageant as a kid, and I also think it sounds beautiful sung at Christmas Eve midnight Mass. It's a reminder to my Catholic self of the purity of Christmas and a reminder of what we should be thankful for.
Pam Eggemeier, SVM editorial page editor
This roundtable topic made its way into our editorial boardroom after I read an op-ed piece about Christmas music. The writer dove into why the most listened to pop Christmas song, Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas," is now 24 years old.
The interesting point was made that a majority of Americans still opt for traditional holiday tunes. They want to hear Bing Crosby croon "White Christmas," Nat King Cole's smooth delivery of "The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)," and Andy Williams singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
I love all kinds of music, so I listen to the traditional artists, but I like to sample many different versions of my holiday favorites. I'm not that interested in hearing original songs from contemporary artists because I think holiday music is important because of the memories associated with them.
Some songs, such as "O Holy Night," take me back to the beautiful midnight Masses from my childhood that were shared with a large church family. Others – the entire "When My Heart Finds Christmas" CD by Harry Connick Jr., gets me in the holiday spirit while taking some much-needed time to breathe and wrap gifts.
So whether it's "Silver Bells" with Bing or "Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)" by the Ramones, take the time this season to listen to whatever speaks to you.