Christmas is here, and a whole new passel of singers are taking on the holiday classics we grew up listening to. Because who needs Donny Hathaway’s This Christmas when we’ve got… Chris Brown! I say SACRILEGE.

Some Christmas classics need to stay classic. Still, there are some great updates on the Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole standards, and every year new artists add to the list. I reached out to my Twitter friends to ask what their fave Christmas covers were, and got some great responses. Pisces in Purple loves John Cougar Mellencamp’s I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. DJ Diva loves Destiny’s Child singing Carol of the Bells. Jawnita, self-described HBIC of my favorite music magazine The Fader, shouted out Mariah’s So So Def remix of All I Want for Christmas is You.

My top 5 is a little more traditional, but hey – it ends with a giveaway! The last for the season!! So without further ado, here are my favorite Christmas cover songs.

1. Aretha Franklin’s Silent Night.

The Queen of Soul released her very first holiday album this year, This Christmas, exclusively for sale at Borders. It’s all about Christmas classics, sang as only Aretha could — big and majestic and soaring. If you like your holidays traditional, you’ll love Aretha’s album. Her voice can fill a cathedral. And this song brings the reason for the season to mind immediately.

2. Whitney. Do You Hear What I Hear?

On a personal note — Whitney Houston, I miss you and that magnificent voice. Come back soon!

Goodness gracious, her voice is so big and so beautiful. I’ve always loved this particular song, written as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missle Crisis in 1962. Bing Crosby’s was the first popular version, but Whitney’s is absolutely my favorite. And don’t get me started on her version of Joy to the World!

3. What Child Is This, by Vanessa Williams.

I think Vanessa’s smooth, warm, jazzy version of this song — originally recorded for A Very Special Christmas, Volume 2 is the business. And she’s stunning as ever in the video. This song would fit in equally well around the fireplace, opening presents with your family, as it would at a crowded bar, sipping hot toddies with your friends. I’ve celebrated Christmas in both ways, so I know of what I speak.

4. Ledisi’s cover of Give Love on Christmas Day.

I am so late to the Ledisi party! She’s so talented, beautiful, all natural… an obvious candidate for the return of Afrobella of the Month in 2009. The songstress has recorded a brilliant holiday album, It’s Christmas, and it’s a must-have for any bella who’s feeling the holiday spirit. And AOL Black Voices reveals, she’s planning a tour! If you’re looking for a new holiday album to add to your collection, this is the one. Her voice just floats so beautifully on tracks like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and her original songs, are sure to be classics in our holiday rotation eventually. I absolutely adore that she covered a contemporary classic, one I grew up listening to on the Jackson 5 Christmas Album.
Aww. Young Michael’s voice still touches my heart.

5. Brian McKnight’s take on The Christmas Song.

Brian McKnight’s version of The Christmas Song gives a delicious update to the holiday classic that speaks most to my Christmas memories. I almost didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I do, because Nat King Cole is so close to my heart. But Soulbounce dubbed him the heir apparent, and his version reveals why. It’s like Nat King Cole with a little Marvin Gaye flava. I love it. I think Brian McKnight’s album, I’ll Be Home For Christmas is a beautiful update for families who own Nat King Cole’s Christmas album. I am listening to it and loving it, and I’m proud to offer it as my final Christmas giveaway!

FIVE lucky winners will win a copy of Brian McKnight’s album, I’ll Be Home For Christmas AND a copy of Ledisi’s It’s Christmas.

And I’ll make this an easy one. All you have to do is tell me, what do YOU want to find underneath your Christmas tree this year?

I will close these comments on Sunday, and announce winners on Monday! I gotta get this moving in order to get these items mailed out before the holidays.

Happy Friday, bellas and fellas!! And Merry Christmas!!

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Muffin says:
December 19, 2008, 12:56 pm
What I want to find under my Christmas Tree this year is...... A new pair of pajamas, Stawberry Flowers by Fresh and a journal.
Niky says:
December 19, 2008, 1:17 pm
I would like to find my husband sitting beside our Christmas tree holding a shih tzu puppy. I want to name the puppy Noel. :0) Husband is too big to be under the tree. *lol*
nolagirl says:
December 19, 2008, 1:19 pm
All I want for Christmas is a new levee system! What I would really love for Christmas cannot fit under a tree and as I have gotten older the joy of giving is more than the joy of getting. But if my City could return to what it once was or begin a track of getting there before I leave this earth it would make me the happiest I have been in years.
nikkibee says:
December 19, 2008, 1:25 pm
a book..."In The Spirit" by Essence's Susan Taylor...u got a copy???? lol!!!
Rita says:
December 19, 2008, 1:31 pm
I want to find a bunch of new workout clothes and running shoes!
SacredAngel says:
December 19, 2008, 1:37 pm
I love love LOVE Whitney's version of that song. You know I think you've inspired me to list my favorite Christmas songs.
Fleurzty says:
December 19, 2008, 2:09 pm
Honestly, a new pair of winter boots. I recently moved to Illinois from Miami, Fl and am not prepared at all for winter. Every time I leave the house, I'm afraid I will break a leg and be the center of a spectacle :) Everything else I can do without. I have my husband and my son and that screams "Merry Christmas!"
Marcia says:
December 19, 2008, 2:19 pm
Under my tree, I would like to find several inspirational books. (Movin Up (Susan Cook) and Cooking with Grease (Donna Brazille) are two on my list) In my daily life I try to inspire others and this Christmas I'd like to spend some time reading about how other authors inspire others. Happy Holidays.
Nicole says:
December 19, 2008, 2:36 pm
Wow, nolagirl's Christmas wish makes me sad, and makes me feel silly for wanting a few material things for myself.But, I really want a sewing machine and a gift card to Barnes & Noble. Oh and I love Ledesi, her CD is great. A lot of people are sleeping on her.
Mara says:
December 19, 2008, 2:36 pm
Christmas songs are the best! I would love to find under my tree or sitting beside it my healthy & happy parents. I will see them for been a while.
Mara says:
December 19, 2008, 2:37 pm
Christmas songs are the best! I would love to find under my tree or sitting beside it my healthy & happy parents. I will see them for holiday…it's been a while. I miss family.
Laquita says:
December 19, 2008, 2:46 pm
Let's see -- if I could have anything I would like my 12-year-old's metabolism :o)
westindianladee says:
December 19, 2008, 2:46 pm
Ok Whitney's singing gave me goosebumps! Whatever happened to her comeback album?
bella says:
December 19, 2008, 3:03 pm
Obviously I was in a big hurry -- didn't even fix those broken links!! Will fix as soon as I get home, bellas and fellas =(
Gertha says:
December 19, 2008, 3:32 pm
Hey lady! love you! I would like to find healthy and happy friends and family. The love of my life(still waiting and praying on this one), and a happy new year!
Mrs.Mckinzie says:
December 19, 2008, 4:17 pm
I don't want anything materialistic this year.If I could have one thing under my tree it would be a box of hugs&kisses from my niece Stephanie.She passed seven years ago,and I miss her dearly.I would share this gift with my whole family.
Obcydian says:
December 19, 2008, 4:27 pm
Hmm, I don't really want much this year, just a pair of long-distance running shoes, and the opportunity to see my entire family on Dec. 25:)
Janet says:
December 19, 2008, 11:37 pm
I would LOVE to have my hubby home (he's currently deployed to Iraq) but, since I know that will not happen. I just want my boys to have a wonderful christmas with extended family. I usually start playing Luther's Christmas cd right around halloween!
NaturalOasis says:
December 20, 2008, 2:04 am
I would love to find a box full of my sons happiness and laughter, a taller box holding my husbands heart and devotion to me! One tangible gift would have to be a motivational book that would help my transition to this new natural world....I am in aaww! I must say, reading your blog has helped me tremendously! I have not only motivated my sister to go natural but I have obtained a new sense of myself. I donated a kidney to my younger sister back in May of this year and must say that that was the most honorable + selfless thing that I have ever done. And now going natural just feels like the next step. I am so greatful that thru todays technology that I am able to click a few buttons and learn, in detail, about any topic that I choose. Thanks again and have a blessed holiday!
sumthought says:
December 20, 2008, 10:13 am
Would love a spa experience for Christmas! 2008 was a tough year and I'd love to enter 2009 all relaxed and stress free...a 60 minute massage is just the trick!
Lynette says:
December 20, 2008, 1:33 pm
My sis and I had misunderstanding over Thanksgiving. I haven't spoke to her since, as she refuses to answer or return my phone calls. I hope that the season will thaw her heart enought that she'll be able to sit down, talk this out with me and move on.
Angie says:
December 20, 2008, 2:00 pm
If I even had my tree up yet, I would have to say yarn, beading supplies and a macbook! Not too much right?
Y M Williams says:
December 20, 2008, 3:12 pm
Ledisi's CD is beautiful! It's definitely an addition to our collections of Christmas Music.
T.O says:
December 20, 2008, 4:42 pm
I would love to find a check for $30,000 under the tree, to pay off my debts while I look for a job in this difficult economy. Honestly, they have been a great weight on my heart for several months now since I've been out of work. I love Ledisi too, she's my artist of the year! And I also love Whitney's version of "Joy To The World" with the Georgia Mass Choir. Its one of my favorite Christmas renditions.
TJ says:
December 20, 2008, 6:27 pm
I like Whitney's "Joy to the World" with the Georgia Mass Choir, but my favorite is "This Christmas" There should be a ban on covers because I've NEVER heard any renditions that touch the original. Never. I hope I find gifts that leave warm memories and the true meaning of Christmas with my family.
ClarkisMommy says:
December 20, 2008, 7:17 pm
I would love to find a time clock under my tree, so I can go back to the Christmas of 2003. It just seems like everything was just right that day. Financial, emotionally and spiritually. I want that back.
Robin says:
December 20, 2008, 9:31 pm
All I want for Christmas cannot fit under a tree - and that's for everyone to find the true meaning and spirit of Christmas, and to try to carry that spirit throughout the year. In these hard economic times, we all need to have the spirit of giving and helping those who are in need.
tiffini says:
December 21, 2008, 11:37 am
For Christmas, if not sooner, I would love to find under my tree, a tall order of [humanity] for me to distribute amongst all who have not, and maybe, just maybe, there would be less reaping havoc in the world.