Finding America

Me and Tarah

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Following on from an earlier list that looked at 7 British Christmas songs that somehow never made it big in the US, here are 6 Christmas songs that are more popular in the United States than the UK. Some on this list were a wonderful revelation to me after relocating to the US in 2008, while others prove an annual source of irritation.

1. Feliz Navidad, by José Feliciano
Released in 1970, this catchy blend of Spanish and English is irresistible in its simplistic cheer. The song - penned and recorded by Puerto Rican singer-songwriter José Feliciano - likely struck more of a chord with American audiences due to the country's associations with Puerto Rico as well as its ever-growing Hispanic population. And because, well, it's a delightful tune.

2. Celebrate Me Home, by Kenny Loggins
This soft rock ballad - written and recorded in 1976 by Kenny Loggins - initially faired quite poorly in the US charts, but later found success as a Christmas staple of the US airwaves. Despite its relative popularity in the United States, it failed to find success in the UK.

3. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, by several artists
Though the song was in fact written by British songwriter Tommi Connor in 1952, the song doesn't enjoy nearly the airplay in Britain as it does in the United States. The clue might be in the spelling of the word mommy (as opposed to mummy). In the US, three versions of the song are particularly popular: The Ronnettes, Jackson Five and (unfortunately) John Mellencamp versions.

4. The Christmas Shoes, by NewSong
Every decade has its cringe-worthy Christmas hit. Representing the 2000s (and perhaps an entire century of music) is the depressing and ever-so-slightly disturbing The Christmas Shoes by Christian vocal group NewSong. It tells the story of a little boy, who essentially begs for money in order to buy his dying mother a pair of shoes ahead of her imminent encounter with Jesus. Stay away from this one, Britain. Please.  

5. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, by Elmo & Patsy
From the depressing to the wildly irritating; Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer is a song that has apparently divided a nation; a 2007 poll of both the country's most liked and disliked Christmas songs found that GGROBaR reached the top of both categories. Personally, I think it's awful.

6. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late), by The Chipmunks
Competing with number 5 in the most-irritating-Christmas-song category is this 1958 novelty song. Featuring the impossibly falsetto voices of the Chipmunks, The Chipmunk Song - while sporting a potentially favorable melody - is another one of those that could do with staying off British radio stations.

Laurence is a British expat living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a contributor for BBC America and has written for Anglotopia. In addition to his expatriate musings, Laurence is a keen composer of orchestral music. For more information on Laurence's compositions, follow him on SoundCloud.

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