If you are someone who wants to start singing again, who wants to make music together with family and friends, or who just wants a ready reference for lyrics to some of those old Christmas favorites, I have got the perfect resource for you. It’s The Easy Christmas Fake Book.
I picked this book up at a local music store a couple of years ago when I was looking for just one book with all the Christmas songs I wanted to share with clients during the holiday season. Many Christmas favorites (like “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger”) are in the public domain now and are easy to find on the web at sites like ChristmasCarolMusic.org (a WONDERFUL resource on its own.) Songs like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Silver Bells” are still protected by copyright, though, and aren’t available in collections of public domain songs. “Easy Christmas Fake Book” is a pretty comprehensive collection of Christmas songs.
The other draw of this book is that ALL of the songs are in the key of C. That means no flats or sharps in the key signature and a smaller set of chords for the guitar and piano. Even if you are not a practiced musician who is used to playing in Eb or A, you can still enjoy playing all these Christmas favorites with minimal headache. The melodies are easier to sight read and learn, and you have fewer chords to learn to be able to accompany songs on piano or guitar.
Over the last few years, my family has enjoyed playing and singing Christmas songs using this book. Including my two parents, us four kids, and three spouses, we play in various combinations of piano, guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin, accordion, and hand percussion at various levels of competency. It helps to have only a handful of chord symbols to follow and easy melodies to sight read. Playing and singing Christmas songs together as a family is probably my favorite event of the whole season.
The only drawback to having all of the songs in the key of C is that some of them are in more difficult ranges for singing. Of course, music therapists can easily transpose these songs to singable keys, and other musicians may be able to do this as well.
What are your go-to resources for holiday music? Please share your comments below.