15 Vintage Christmas Songs to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

GraphicaArtis/Getty Images
GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

The holiday season is the most nostalgic time of year, so it only makes sense that the most popular Christmas songs are from the 1940s and '50s. To really put a retro spin on the season, we gathered up 15 songs from even earlier—the '10s, '20s, and '30s. And while they might not be coming directly out of a record player, they're sure to put you in a very merry sepia-tinted mood.

1. "Hail! Hail! Day of Days" by the Edison Mixed Quartet // 1913

Perhaps the most traditional song on this list, its performers—the Edison Mixed Quartet (also sometimes referred to as the Edison Concert Band)—also recorded a few similar-sounding Christmas tunes during the early 20th century.

2. "Santa Claus Hides In the Phonograph" by Santa Claus Himself (Ernest Hare) // 1922

OK, this isn't a song—but we just had to include this 1922 bit that does end with a rendition of "Jingle Bells."

3. "At the Christmas Ball" by Bessie Smith // 1925

If you're a music lover, you know (and love) Bessie Smith, but you might not have heard this holiday track, which combines Smith's soaring vocals with delightfully jazzy horns and piano.

4. "The Santa Claus Crave" by Elzadie Robinson // 1927

We've included a few blues tracks here, because, hey: The holidays are the best time to be cheerful—and depressed.

5. "Santa Claus, That’s Me" by Vernon Dalhart // 1928

Vernon Dalhart was an important figure in the early days of American folk and country music—even with a background in opera. He auditioned for Thomas Edison and, over the course of several years, recorded hundreds of songs for Edison Records under a number of pseudonyms. After that, Dalhart began to record country songs, becoming a household name with 1924's "The Wreck of the Old 97."

6. "Christmas in Jail—Ain’t That A Pain?” by Leroy Carr // 1929

If the name didn't tip you off, here's another blues track. And if you find yourself in need of more, click on over here, here, here, and here. Yes, there are a surprising number of great blues songs about the holidays, and these somber tunes will definitely bring you joy.

7. "I Told Santa Claus to Bring Me You" by Bernie Cummins and His Orchestra // 1930

While the Christmas music of the '40s and '50s would start to make its way into the studio, much of the earlier music of the holidays still had that live, big band sound—including this 1930 recording.

8. "The Santa Claus Express" by Henry Hall featuring Dan Donovan and the BBC Orchestra // 1933

This is the kind of song you might expect to hear in a Christmas special for kids (which is a total compliment).

9. "Does Santa Claus Sleep With His Whiskers Over or Under the Sheet?" by Jack Jackson and His Orchestra // 1933

A very cheeky song honoring the age-old question you've never thought to ask: "Does Santa Claus sleep with his whiskers over or under the sheet?"

10. "In a Merry Mood" by Barnabas Von Geczy and His Orchestra // 1934

An instrumental track that's perfect for you if orchestra swells are what really get you in the holiday spirit.

11. "Swingin’ Them Jingle Bells" by Fats Waller // 1936

"Swingin" might actually be the best way to describe this 1936 jazz carol.

12. "What Will Santa Claus Say?" by Louis Prima & His New Orleans Gang // 1936

This song is sometimes listed as "What Will Santa Claus Say? (When He Finds Everybody Swingin')," which is a pretty fun image to conjure if you ask us.

13. "The Fairy on the Christmas Tree” by Three Sisters // 1936

This 1936 Christmas song sounds a bit like a scene out of an old Disney movie—and tells the tale of all the little girls who dream of being the fairy on top of the tree. (It's OK, we've never had that dream either.)

14. "I Want You for Christmas" by Russ Morgan // 1937

Before "All I Want For Christmas Is You," there was "I Want You For Christmas."

15. "The Only Thing I Want for Christmas" by Eddie Cantor // 1939

Don't let that creepy preview image above fool you: This 1939 song is a sweet ode to all the things we already have (with some not-so-subtle nods to the turmoil happening around the world at the time).

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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25 Amazing Facts for International Beer Day

iStock
iStock

Every year, suds lovers celebrate International Beer Day on August 7—which makes it the pefect day to share any one of these amazing facts about beer.

1. After he won the Nobel Prize, Niels Bohr was given a perpetual supply of beer piped into his house.

2. The Code of Hammurabi decreed that bartenders who watered down beer would be executed.

3. At the Wife Carrying World Championships, first prize is the wife's weight in beer.

4. A cloud near the constellation Aquila contains enough ethyl alcohol to fill 400 trillion trillion pints of beer.

5. Coined in the early 1900s, the word alcoholiday means leisure time spent drinking.

6. The builders of the Great Pyramid of Giza were paid with a daily ration of beer.

7. During WWII, a bear named Wojtek joined the Polish army. He transported ammunition and sometimes drank beer.

8. Fried beer won Most Creative Fried Food at the 2010 Texas State Fair.

9. The top five states for beer consumption per capita: 1. New Hampshire, 2. Montana, 3. Vermont, 4. North Dakota, 5. South Dakota.

10. Germany is home to a beer pipeline. Taps in Veltsin-Arena are connected by a 5km tube of beer.

11. Thomas Jefferson wrote parts of the Declaration of Independence in a Philadelphia tavern.

12. Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty glass.

13. At the end of Prohibition, FDR said, "What America needs now is a drink."

14. Winston Churchill called the concept of Prohibition "an affront to the whole history of mankind."

15. George Washington insisted his continental army be permitted a quart of beer as part of their daily rations.

16. Oktoberfest originally started as a festival celebrating the 1810 marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig.

17. At spas in Europe, you can literally bathe in beer as a physical and mental therapeutic treatment.

18. In the 1990s, the Beer Lovers Party ran candidates in Belarus and Russia.

19. J.K. Rowling invented Quidditch in a pub.

20. Beer helped Joseph Priestley discover oxygen. He noticed gases rising from the big vats of beer at a brewery and asked to do some experiments.

21. A Buddhist temple in the Thai countryside was built with over 1 million recycled beer bottles.

22. The moon has a crater named Beer.

23. Beer soup was a common breakfast in medieval Europe.

24. At the start of Bavarian Beer Week in Germany, an open-air beer fountain dispenses free beer to the public.

25. In the 1980s, a beer-drinking goat was elected mayor of Lajitas, Texas.