It would be really hard for me to pick one single song as my favorite Christmas carol - as I really do enjoy a lot of them. Obviously The Twelve Days of Christmas would top my list, but I also have a soft spot for some more obnoxious and less classic carols, like All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth sung by the Chipmunks and eleven-year-old Gayla Peevey's I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.
Anyway, I think the 1940s through the 1960s has to be the golden age of Christmas carols. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the older carols too, but there is just something so festive about the songs written in and around the 1950s. Here are some of my favorites:
Written in 1944 by Donal Yetter Gardner and first recorded in 1947. According to Wikipedia, Gardner, a children's music teacher, got the idea for the song when he noticed that most of his young students were missing at least one front tooth. He asked his students what they wanted for Christmas, and most replied with a whistle due to the missing teeth. It is rumored that he wrote the song in only thirty minutes!
This song was a hit in 1953, written by John Rox and sung by eleven year old Gayla Peevey on the Ed Sullivan Show. While her request for Christmas is a little less realistic than having adult teeth grow in, I still think its a fun song. I don't hear it as often as others on the radio, but when I do it always gets stuck in my head!
The song was a hit on the Billboard charts and reached number 24. It was so popular that rumors were created around the young singer and the song. Rumor had it that the song was released as a fundraiser to help Peevey's hometown zoo raise the funds the acquire a hippo. In 2007, however, the grown up singer clarified that a radio station from her home town (Oklahoma City) had used the popularity of the song to launch a campaign to present young Peevey with an actual hippopotamus on Christmas - and the campaign was successful! After her dream came true, Peevey donated her hippo (named Matilda) to the local zoo where the hippo lived a long life. You can see a video of the grown up Peevey singing at the Oklahoma City Zoo here.