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The Christmas Standard: Nostalgia And Solace In Holiday Songs

Joel Bernstein
'Songs From A Prarie Girl'
Joni Mitchell's "River" is about heartbreak and loss - it just happens to be set during the Christmas season.

Not since Wham!’s 1984 single “Last Christmas” has a holiday song been accepted widely into the canon. The good ones made later usually follow the lead of the classics in at least one way: they pine for another time or place. Music historian Ted Gioia, author of The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire and the forthcoming Love Songs: A Hidden History, explains why the past - or our idea of it - is a comfort each season.

Find some gems among modern holiday songs and a few treasured old friends in this playlist of selections from Gini Mascorro's "KXT Christmas Anthem" 2014 special for our sister station, KXT 91.7

Lyndsay Knecht is assistant producer for Think.