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These are the definitive recordings of 35 favorite Christmas carols: Don't argue, just listen

A perfect list

Photo credits, clockwise from top left: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images; Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images; Robin Platzer/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images; Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images; George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images; David Redfern/Redferns

Because nobody doesn't love a list and everybody is an expert nowadays, I've compiled a list of the definitive recordings of 35 of the most loved classic Christmas carols.

Don't agree? That's OK — you're allowed to be wrong. (Spoiler alert: There are zero Josh Groban or Pentatonix songs on this list. If you find that upsetting, this probably isn't the list for you anyway. Just click on something else.)

Merry Christmas! And happy listening:

#1: SILENT NIGHT — Dean Martin

This one was a gimme — that way we don't start out the list fighting.

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#2: HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS — Ella Fitzgerald

Yes, I know, I know, Judy did it first for "Meet Me in St. Louis"; however, that does not make it the best. If you think Garland's rendition is better than Ella's, you're probably also a Liza Minnelli fan.

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#3: JOY TO THE WORLD — Whitney Houston

Now, a lot of people will tell you that Mariah Carey has cornered the market on this old hymn, but that's only because she was hitched to Sony's Tommy Mottola when she cut the holiday album that features the song. If Whitney were still around today and able to get the press Mariah does, I'm pretty sure everybody would be saying "Mariah who?" when it was time to drop the needle on "Joy to the World."

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#4: IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR — Andy Williams

If you fight me on this one, we can't be friends.

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#5: THE CHRISTMAS SONG — Nat King Cole

C'mon. Mel Torme wrote the song (with Bob Wells) and gave it to Cole to sing, knowing he was the guy to make this song unforgettable. Other people can roast their chestnuts all they want — many have done it well — but Cole's take will never be topped. Ever.

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#6: HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING — Amy Grant

Truthfully, Jewel's arrangement of "Hark!" is superior, but the problem is ... Jewel, the woman who sings like she has marbles in her mouth and can't decide if she's going to do an adult voice or a little girl voice. Advantage: Grant.

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#7: ADESTE FIDELES — Celine Dion

No one really knows who wrote "O Come, All Ye Faithful," but anyone with any sense knows who did best. (Though I have to give a nod to David Osmond's strong performance on Glenn Beck's "Believe Again" album.)

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#8: WHITE CHRISTMAS — Bing Crosby

There's a reason this Crosby record is the best-selling single in the world — not just in the holiday genre, but best-selling single of all time. Nothing has ever topped it, and it's likely nothing ever will.

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#9: RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER — Gene Autry

Yes, Burl Ives was the narrator for the TV special. Yes, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling from Ives' record. No, it's isn't the best version. That belongs to The Singing Cowboy.

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#10: IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS — Johnny Mathis

Crosby and Como both killed it when they recorded this song, but the Mathis version has the edge — not just in quality but also culturally with its inclusion in "Home Alone 2," which gave it a massive surge in popularity.

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#11: I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS — Perry Como

Is there really any question? No. No there isn't.

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#12: JINGLE BELLS — Frank Sinatra

Don't question this one either: Frank knows people who know how to hurt people. (Well, at least, he used to.)

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#13: SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN' TO TOWN — Jackson 5

The Boss would say different. But you and I know the truth.

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#14: ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH — Mormon Tabernacle Choir

The "Gloria, in excelsis Deo" chorus requires a powerful choir. Good luck finding a choir more powerful than the one the LDS folks put together.

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#15: FROSTY THE SNOWMAN — Jimmy Durante

The Ronettes produced a very good version and it gets way more airplay, which is a shame: Durante's recording is a musical number Rankin & Bass actually got right.

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#16: A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS — Burl Ives

This is Ives' song. No one else should even try to sing it.

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#17: WINTER WONDERLAND — Perry Como

Admit it, you were expecting me to say Darline Love here. It's OK. It's a normal and fairly logical guess. But it also happens to be incorrect. Not only did Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass cut a version that was better (though wordless), both of Perry Como's versions (here and here) are objectively better. Here is the track from his 1946 album "Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music."

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#18: LET IT SNOW! LET IS SNOW! LET IT SNOW! — Lena Horne

Lots of artists have made great "Let It Snow!" records (including Harry Connick Jr., who deserves a mention). But none of them ever reached the smoothness — and, frankly, sexiness — of Lena Horne's.

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#19: THE FIRST NOEL — Third Day

It's a more modern version of an old hymn with some cool rhythm. It's also the best version ever recorded.

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#20: SILVER BELLS — Elvis Presley

After The King walked out of the studio the day he laid this down, there was no reason for anyone to ever bother trying to do it better.

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#21: SLEIGH RIDE — Ella Fitzgerald

You want me to say Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops Orchestra. Not gonna happen. Lady Ella owns this — and always will.

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#22: DECK THE HALLS — Ashley Hess

Ashley Hess is not likely a name you recognize at first. But if you're a Glenn Beck fan, you'll remember this after a quick listen. And then you'll agree.

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#23: GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN — Barenaked Ladies

Here's one that had me going back and forth for hours. Everything Nat King Cole touched was superb, so I could easily put his recording here and be done with it. But ... the Barenaked Ladies put a spin on this classic that has just the edge needed to bump it ahead of Cole.

***

#24: THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS — John Denver & The Muppets

The LP of this 1979 Christmas special (which has never been released on home video) is full of great music. The most notable is the Muppet Gang's clever rundown of the many gifts the writer's obnoxious "true love" gave him. Bah-dum-bum-bum.

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#25: ANGELS FROM THE REALMS OF GLORY — Julie Andrews

If you like Andrews' style, you'll absolutely love all of her Christmas songs. Her best Christmas record happens to also be the best version of that song.

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#26: DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? — Perry Como

I know he's already got a couple wins on this list, but I've got to give Como this one, too, with Andy Williams coming in a close second.

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#27: IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR — MercyMe

Another modern take on a hymn. On first listen, you'll disagree with me on its ranking. But then you'll listen again and again and be forced to admit that, well, the fat Blaze editor was right once more.

***

#28: LITTLE DRUMMER BOY — Bing Crosby & David Bowie

It's a beautiful song — it's also the strangest Christmas song. Crosby and Bowie's awkward video didn't help make it less weird. But you can't argue with the talent they brought to the studio when it was time to record.

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#29: WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS — Alvin and the Chipmunks

Every Christmas music list is required to include Alvin and the Chipmunks. It's scriptural.

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#30: ROCKIN' AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE — Leann Rimes

"Brenda Lee!" you're shouting as you read this. "You're nuts!" I'm shouting back. Lee's famous record doesn't have 1 percent of the feel (or talent, for that matter) that Rimes' does.

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#31: O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM — Andy Williams

I was torn on this one — all the way up until it was time to post this. My brain tells me to go with Mahalia Jackson's soulful version. But my heart says this is another song that The King of Christmas just nailed.

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#32: WHAT CHILD IS THIS? — Vince Guaraldi Trio

Guaraldi's "Charlie Brown Christmas" album is arguably the best complete holiday album ever produced. No one has ever made "Greensleeves" sound better.

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#33: GOOD KING WENCESLAS — Ames Brothers

Though a lot of folks will say The Velvet Fog's jazzy turn on this tale of a ruler who looked out for others should be tops, I've got a soft spot in my heart for the Ames Brothers' record. The majesty of the music sets the tone for understanding the lesson we can learn from Wenceslas.

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#34: O HOLY NIGHT — David Phelps

Here's another hymn that could have gone to a couple artists. Critics have rightfully celebrated Celine Dion for her rendition, but David Phelps really brought it home. (Plus, Celine is Canadian, so the thought of giving her more than one song on this list was nauseating.)

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#35: MY FAVORITE THINGS — Tony Bennett

No one has ever explained to me how this became a Christmas song. Julie Andrews really made it famous on "The Sound of Music," and since then, scads of very notable vocalists have covered it for Christmas — no one better than Bennett. (Barbra Streisand can get bent.)

One last thing…
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