11.29.2011

The Stockings Were Hung :: Festive Music

I'm a lover of music year round, but there's just something about Christmas songs (religious or otherwise) that really puts me in a good mood. I still remember one particularly yucky period of time when we were living in Africa, and after dealing with issue after issue, we spent one whole Saturday listening to Christmas music in mid-July. It was cold, so it felt right, plus, the soothing sounds of Bing Crosby crooning "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..." and "Silent Night" were enough to drive away the angst of the problems at hand and bring a smile to our faces. That's just one example of why I'm sharing some of my favorite Christmas songs and artists to add to your Festive Music play list!

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(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.

7 comments:

  1. Hi Carrie! I've been enjoying your Christmas countdown! : )
    You mentioned that the photos of the Christmas cd's would have links to Amazon, but no photos or links show up on the blog page at this point. Just wanted to let you know in case you can add them.
    I love Julie Andrews' version of Joy to the World. It was the first song on a Christmas album (a record!) we had when I was growing up, and the way it starts with bells chiming is like a joyful alert to me that Christmas is coming! Just checked, and you can get Julie Andrews singing Joy to the World on iTunes (either just that one song or a whole album). I also really enjoy Manheim Steamroller's Christmas music! And, of course, Handel's Messiah!

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  2. I always enjoy your Christmas countdown. :)

    My favorite Christmas carol/song is a two-way tie...Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Carol of the Bells.

    My favorite hymns are O Holy Night (but only sung by someone who can hit the high note) and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

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  3. I feel like I have searched for a soundtrack to the Muppets Christmas Carol before and couldn't find one! Yay for your link!

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  4. My favorite Christmas album has to be Third Day's. I love their versions of the classics. I have not started listening to any holiday tunes yet those as I have a strict no Christmas anything before December policy :)

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  5. wowee you have a serious Christmas music fetish!!! :) I had Amy Grant's first album too - loved it!!

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  6. Christmas MUSIC might just be my favorite part of the season!
    Thanks for sharing your favorites, I'm tempted to hunt for a copy of the Billboard Family Christmas to add to our ever growing collection.

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  7. Sandy - I'm not sure why the little icons aren't showing up for you as I can see them. I will never fully understand the ways of blogging and the internet. ;-) Handel's "Messiah" is one of my favorites!

    Karen - "Carol of the Bells" is beautiful and now I want to hear it again!

    Kaysi - YAY! :-)

    Rachel - You've just added something else to my list of things to look for. I'm not sure that I knew that Third Day had a Christmas album, but I'm certainly going to check it out now - thanks!

    Sophie - Yes, fettish is a good word. ;-)

    Molly - That album just makes me smile. I hope you find it! :-)

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