Favorite Christmas albums

I decided this year that I wanted more Christmas music in my life. I’ve been asking some friends what their favorite music of the season is and Daniel had a good roundup, so I decided that I should list some of my favorites too.

Sufjan Stevens

Songs for Christmas
Songs for Christmas

Songs for Christmas

Probably my favorite this year, this is actually a 5-disc compendium from Sufjan’s past musical Christmas gifts to friends and family. As such, it’s a mish-mash of originals and standards in varying stages of production and arrangement. What I love about it is how Sufjan manages to capture the feelings of Christmas—softness, wonder, wistful sadness, intimacy, reverence.

Favorite tracks: “Once in Royal David’s City” (from “Hark!”), “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!”, “Joy to the World”, and “Holy, Holy, Holy”.

Over the Rhine

Snow Angels
Snow Angels

Snow Angels

Over the Rhine has been one of my favorite bands since I first heard them in 2006 (thanks, Ken) but I just discovered last year’s Snow Angels last month. Like Sufjan, Karin and Linford capture the experiences of Christmas with Americana originals, no standards.1

Favorite tracks: “Darlin’ (Christmas Is Coming)”, “White Horse”, “Here It Is”, and “Snow Angel”.

Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby's Christmas Classics
Bing Crosby's Christmas Classics

Bing Crosby’s Christmas Classics

White Christmas is probably my favorite Christmas movie (yes, probably even over A Christmas Story) and that’s almost entirely because of Bing. This album showcases some classic Christmas songs with his classic voice.

Favorite tracks: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “What Child is This? / The Holly and the Ivy”, “O Holy Night”, “The Littlest Angel”

Your Turn

What are your favorite Christmas albums/songs? I’d love to know! I’d like to be prepared for next Christmas, to have a reasonably good collection of music all ready to go. :)

  1. This one just feels like winter. ((Incidentally, their earlier Christmas album, The Darkest Night of the Year, is mostly standards and, though effective, sounds more dated.

6 thoughts on “Favorite Christmas albums

  1. Favorite Album – Tran-Siberian Orchestra Christmas Eve Sarajevo and Other Stories

    – The whole album moves me, but this year especially the song This Christmas Day gets to me. The lyrics about a prayer that had been prayed then long given up on finally being answered. I cant listen to it without crying for joy.

    Favorite religious Christmas song – Oh Holy Night

    Favorite Christmas Song (Classic) Peace On Earth/Lil Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby with David Bowie

    Christmas music is my favorite music. It’s hard for me to find just one song or one album. A lot is fluff and “feel-good” music, but that’s its purpose. To make us feel better, if just for a little while.

  2. One other thing, and I don’t think anyone will argue with me here, that it just isn’t Christmas if you don’t hear Bing’s voice.

  3. These 3 make the holiday for me:

    Nat King Cole singing just about any Christmas song. I start listening to Christmas music in September usually, but I always save my Nat Cole christmas album for Thanksgiving to officially mark the start of the season.

    Christmas at Our House – Lou Monte. It’s the “B” side to the 1960 Dominick the Donkey single. Hard to find, but well worth it. It’s not on the 2 CD Lou Monte set i have but I’m sure it’s out there.

    Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Original Sound Track Recording Of The CBS Television Special

    Two recent (last 5 or so years) favorites: Soul Christmas and Christmas with the Rat Pack.

  4. Thanks for the replies!

    Bill: I totally agree about Bing Crosby. Thanks for reminding me of MK. That Waitresses song reminds me of my dad’s Christmas rock mix; some great memories of listening to that tape.

    Beth: I also love “O Holy Night” (one of my favorites to sing in church) and Sufjan Stevens has a rather nice arrangement on his CD. Almost made the cut for favorite tracks.
    Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy is one of my favorites from my dad’s tape—Happy Xmas (War is Over) would probably be the other. I feel a little silly just realizing today that it’s Bing on there and not David (from CSN and sometimes Y), which was what I always assumed. Whoops. :) (It’s been quite a few years since I’ve heard it, to be honest.)
    I haven’t heard much of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra to be honest; I will definitely check them out.

    John: Nat King Cole is definitely going on my list of Christmas music I should own myself. Thanks for the reminder.
    Snow Angels sounds a lot like Vince Guaraldi, actually, and not just because of the hat-tipping track “Goodbye Charles”. It fits right in. And yes, that’s a soundtrack I should have. :)
    The others I haven’t heard of, but will check out. Thanks!

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