You know how everybody has that one cause that hits really close to home for them? This is it for me. I lost my cousin Kim in the Spring of 2008, when she was just 30 years old. The culprit? Breast Cancer. If you want to help fight this terrible disease, or learn more about how to spread awareness - check out Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
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1. White Christmas
White Christmas was used as a secret, coded message during the Vietnam War. When it was played on the American radio signals in April 1975, it meant the city of Saigon had been captured and American soldiers should start their evacuation.
2. Do You Hear What I Hear?
This song, about the Nativity, was originally written as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Hugh Martin, the author of the song, was asked twice to make the lyrics to this rather depressive carol a bit more cheerful. First, he replaced the line "It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past" to "Let your heart be light / Next year all our troubles will be out of sight" for Judy Garland. Then he changed the lyric "Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow" to "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough" because Frank Sinatra told him the lyrics weren't jolly enough for his album, A Jolly Christmas.
4. Silent Night
Though this carol is typically sung as a solemn dirge today, it was originally written to be performed in 6/8 time, a much faster tempo.
5. Dominick the Donkey
The original studio recording of this Italian-American Christmas staple is rumored to have been financed by the Gambino crime family.
6. You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
The singing voice of the Grinch, Thurl Ravenscroft was also the voice of the Frosted Flakes cereal mascot, Tony the Tiger, for almost 50 years.
7. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Randy Brooks wrote this novelty hit after listening to the Merle Haggard song Grandma's Homemade Christmas Card. He was so upset the grandma's death wasn't revealed earlier in the song that he decided to write a song in response, as a sort of formal challenge. "I got angry and said, 'Merle, that's so unfair to do to people,'" Brooks said. "If you were half the songwriter you think you are, you would admit in the first line of the song that grandma was dead and then if you could come up with three verses and a chorus, you'd really have something. So that was my exercise, a parody of a Merle Haggard song."
8. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
This song, composed by Tommie Connor in 1952, was originally commissioned for a Saks Fifth Avenue ad campaign to sell greeting cards.
9. Last Christmas
Wham! released this single the same year as Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas?, so they decided to donate all proceeds of the song to the same Ethiopian famine appeal. It has gone on to actually raise more money than Do They Know It's Christmas? It's also the highest-selling single in the United Kingdom to never reach No. 1.
10. Jingle Bells
James Lord Pierpont actually wrote this classic as a song for Thanksgiving with the title One Horse Open Sleigh. The song became so popular that it was lightly rewritten for the entire holiday season.
11. Jingle Bell Rock
Bobby Helms originally didn't want to record this song because the music was too low for his voice. The writers, who were motivated by royalties, told him to change the song however he needed to. He would later claim he deserved a writing credit. Also the B-side to the original single is a bizarre song called Captain Santa Claus (and His Reindeer Space Patrol). Keep in mind this came out in 1957.
12. Silver Bells