(NOTE: If you click on the pictures of the albums, they will take you to their pages on Amazon)
I think my very first Christmas tape was Amy Grant's A Christmas Album - still a yearly favorite (who couldn't love Tennessee Christmas, after all?). After I got my first CD player, one of the first CD's I added to my little collection was Amy's second take on the holiday, Home for Christmas. Although I don't agree with Amy's personal life decisions, I do like her Christmas albums, and I think they are a good addition to any Christmas play list.
No collection is complete without at least one holiday CD by the Boston Pops. My first album was A Christmas Festival with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, and it's still one of my favorites to listen to each and every holiday season. A few years back, Peter gave me the Keith Lockhart version, Holiday Pops - equally as fun and cheerful! I always feel a little thrill when I hear Sleigh Ride start to play.
If you like jazz (or lounge), as we do, then you're probably going to want to invest in one or all of the following: (Steve Tyrell) This Time of the Year, (Diana Krall) Christmas Songs, (Natalie Cole) The Magic of Christmas, or any one of the Christmas CD's from Pottery Barn, like Jazzy Christmas. We usually have these playing softly in the background from November through Christmas.
For family favorites, I would look for something like the The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas (a smaller version of the set that used to be advertised on TV), or (Bing Crosby) White Christmas. Several years ago, I picked up a copy of Billboard Family Christmas Classics, which is loaded with songs from Christmas TV specials and other childhood favorites.
I still remember when I first heard Mannheim Steamroller's take on Christmas - and I loved it! Most of their holiday albums have made their way into our personal collection over the years, but some of my favorites are still the original two, Christmas and A Fresh Aire Christmas.
No list would be complete without albums like, A Glen Miller Christmas Concert and (Harry Connick, Jr.) Harry for the Holidays. I'm also partial to soundtracks from Christmas specials for TV and holiday films, like Rudolph, It's Christmastime Charlie Brown, Elf, and The Muppets Christmas Carol.
In all honesty, I could go on and on and on because our Christmas play list is so extensive that we added it up one time and realized that we could play nothing but Christmas music, 24-hours a day, for over 2 days, and we still wouldn't be to the end of our list!
Something that didn't make it on the above list is my favorite way to hear the songs of the season, and that's singing the Christmas hymns with our church family. I love singing Joy to the World, Silent Night, Away in a Manger, Angels We Have Heard on High, and O Little Town of Bethlehem. They are the true reminders of why we are celebrating - and indeed, without Christ coming to earth, we would have nothing to sing about. May we always keep that in mind as we enter the busyness of the holiday season!
If you missed the first five parts of this eight week series, you can find them by clicking HERE.