How many of your favourite Christmas songs first appeared in movies?

Probably quite a few.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas was first sung by Judy Garland in the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis before it was recorded with modified lyrics by Frank Sinatra in 1957, on its way to becoming one of the most recorded and performed holiday tunes. Silver Bells was commissioned for The Lemon Drop Kid, a 1951 comedy starring Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside first appeared in the 1949 rom-com Neptune’s Daughter and became a Christmas standard despite never mentioning the holiday. And Bing Crosby’s classic White Christmas — which still reigns as the best-selling single of all time — was first given a wide release with the 1942 musical film Holiday Inn. 

The films themselves may not have gone on to have the same cultural ubiquity as classics like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, but the songs have taken on lives of their own.

That songbook is the focus of A Reel Christmas: A Celebration of Holiday Movie Musicthe opening event in the 44th annual Sound of Jazz concert series by JAZZ.FM91. Trombonist Russ Little leads a supergroup of Canada’s finest musicians in this concert full of holiday music from your favourite Hollywood films, taking place on Thursday, Dec. 19.