Christmas Caroling

By Doug Kelly

Don’t know about you, but this is the favorite time of the year for me. The air is brisk; yards come vibrant at night with lights, inflatable Santas and nativity scenes; thoughts turn to loved ones and – to those of us fortunate enough – gift giving to family and friends.

JillWellington on Pixabay

As a popular Yuletide song goes: There’s no place like home for the holidays.

PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

I hope you’re filled with the spirit of all that Christmas represents, no matter your religion or age. Can there be anything more heartwarming to witness than the excitement of a child opening a present?

Christmas carols exemplify the spirit of these holy holidays, so I thought it would be cool to ask some Clearwater friends for their favorite ditties and the reasons why. And, on The Kelly Kelly Show that wife Kelly and I co-host every Monday from 5 to 6 on WTAN’s TanTalk Radio Network, we’ll be playing Christmas songs and dedicating to those below on our Dec. 21st show – listen in! Here are those who have replied so far:


Amanda Payne, President and CEO of Amplify Clearwater

“Christmas in Dixie” by Alabama has been my longtime favorite, mainly because I am a born and bred southern girl through and through and who doesn’t love Alabama? Although being the mama of two little boys, Rudolph is quickly becoming my second favorite and I almost have all of the reindeer names memorized.

GoranH on Pixabay

Marilyn Turman, Director of Communications, Clearwater Urban League Coalition

My favorite song is “Mary Did You Know.” As a woman of faith, and one who recognizes the privilege of being Chosen by God. What an honor it was for Mary to be used as the conduit by which the savior of the world would come to us. That event has forever changed the world.


JillWellington on Pixabay

Kathleen Beckman, Clearwater Councilwoman

One of my favorite songs is “What Christmas Means” by Stevie Wonder. I have fond memories of cooking with my children while this song was playing and it’s part of one of my favorite holiday movies, Elf. It’s such a happy, upbeat song you can’t help but smile and dance when you hear it.

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Bill Horne, Clearwater City Manager

My favorite Christmas Hymn is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” It is intended to be a lament (and it feels that way when you hear it) to God to come and deliver us from overwhelming odds. It is very appropriate to hear during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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Chuck Warrington, Executive Director of Clearwater Gas Co.

“White Christmas.” I guess this has always resonated with me as a Florida native and only seeing snow on trips. It is intriguing!

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Elizabeth Drayer, Community Activist

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” You can feel the longing of a soldier far from home to be with family on the holiday – the scene in his mind is so vivid but he can only fantasize. Gets me every time.


Karen Cunningham, Community Activist

“The Little Drummer Boy.”When I first heard it as a young child it made me cry it moved me so much.

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Charlie Crist, Dist. 13 U.S. Congressman

Little Drummer Boy. This year more than ever, the message of this song reads true: The best gift we can give to the people in our lives doesn’t have a price tag. Compassion, kindness, and patience are the most valuable resources we have, and we must treasure them and pay them forward.

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Frank Hibbard, Clearwater Mayor 

“O Holy Night.” I think it captures the essence of Christmas, the lyrics are a challenge to how we should live and if sung by the right person it is a showcase for talent because of the required range.

MabelAmber on Pixabay

Dan Slaughter, Clearwater Chief of Police

“Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” When I was young, I played the trumpet and our church would have me play the song for Christmas Eve service. The song is really beautiful, but even more so on the trumpet.

JillWellington on Pixabay

 Brian Aungst Jr., Community Activist

“I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” because it reminds me of my Mom and great childhood and inspires me to enjoy a great Christmas season with my wife and kids.

JillWellington on Pixabay

Val Tavanese, Owner of Outspokin’ Family Bicycles

My most favorite song is “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano. It reminds me of my childhood in Nicaragua and brings back such joyful memories of my family.


Frank Dame, CEO of Clearwater Marine Aquarium

My song is “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” I like it because it brought a tremendous amount of joy and laughter to the children in our family every time it was heard. After all, joy and laughter around the holidays is what it’s all about!

Norman Tsui on UnSplash

Sheri Heilman, Co-Owner of Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber & Bobby’s Bistro & Wine Bar

My fav Christmas carol is “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” It was my mother-in-law Nelle Heilman’s favorite. She cracked us all up when she sang and danced to it. I don’t hear it very often, but when I do it makes me smile. I have a new favorite, “Christmas Cookies” by George Strait, it makes my grandkids laugh.

PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay

Sam Hutkin, President of the Clearwater Beach Association

“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” Just reminds me of winter and the times spent skiing at our local mountain site with my family when I was little. Then warming up the cabin fire as we listened to Nat King Cole sing that song so softly.

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Carl Schrader, Community Activist

My favorite is “O Holy Night” because it captures what Christmas is all about, the celebration of Jesus’ birth. The world can be a pretty chaotic and stressful place but through Jesus there is peace, redemption and everlasting life and O Holy Night reminds me that things are going to be okay.

articgoneape on Pixabay

George Cretekos, Former Clearwater Mayor & Congressional Aide

“What Child is This” focuses on Jesus Christ whose birth brings light in the midst of darkness, hope in the midst of despair, and it is this belief that gives inspiration to those who celebrate.

LoggaWiggler on Pixabay

Kelly Kelly, Publisher of

“Angels We Have Heard on High” always puts me in a joyful mood with its magnificent harmonies and celebration of the birth of Jesus, the whole reason for Christmas.


Ciker-Free-Vector-Images on Pixabay

My favorite is a toss-up between “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano and “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby. When I hear either of them playing, I sing along and never mind where I am or who’s listening.

No matter what Christmas tune rings your chimes, I hope the holiday spirit fills your heart, mind and soul as it does me.


Feature photo by ShortSword on Pixabay


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