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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