Ten Best Christmas Albums
Christmas is Coming!!
One of the best things about the holiday season is the music. I love Christmas music, and I typically load my ipod and stereo with a multitude of Christmas music cd's. I like to start playing Christmas albums around Thanksgiving. For many people, Thanksgiving is too soon to begin thinking about Christmas, shopping and parties. As for me, I would start at Halloween, if I thought I could get away with it.
As my children have gotten older, some of them share my love of Christmas music (and some of them disdain it altogether), so we enjoy it together.
New Years day means the end of Christmas music for most people, but with Pandora loaded into my computer, I usually listen to Christmas music at random times throughout the year.
While nothing quite compares to a live performance of Handel's Messiah, Christmas albums offer a variety of musical styles.
Below, I will share some of my personal favorites and why I like them.
The following list is my short list of favorites. These are my go to Christmas cd's. I probably own over fifty, but these are the ten best.
Hope you enjoy the list, and Merry Christmas!
1. Mannheim Steamroller: A Fresh Aire Christmas. Arguably, Mannheim Steamroller, created by Chip Davis, created the freshest, most invigorating arrangement of classic Christmas favorites. Beginning with Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, and followed by several subsequent Christmas albums, Mannheim Steamroller produces quality music consistently. Every album is unique and moving. My personal favorite, and the one I play almost continually, is A Fresh Aire Christmas. If you add no other album to your Christmas collection, this one is a must have.
Great Christmas Music
2.Frank Sinatra: The Christmas Collection. There is no voice to compare with Frank Sinatra. His smooth, sultry tones translate well into Christmas music. On this album, he collaborates with several other artists, in a delightful mix. This album is a must have for fans of Frank Sinatra.
If you like that style of music, Andy Williams has a great Christmas album, and the smooth voice of Michael Buble adds a surprising depth and warmth to traditional holiday favorites.
While you're at it, be sure to add Bing Crosby's White Christmas to your holiday playlist. Bing knows how to sing with the big boys and White Christmas might be his best album.
All I Want for Christmas is You
Charlie Brown Christmas
Great Music for Kids
There is an abundance of music for kids at Christmastime. In fact, it sometimes seems that most holiday music is geared toward children. Here are some of my family's favorites.
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Christmas with the Chipmunks. Christmas brings out the child in many of us, and what better way to nurture that child than with Alvin and the Chipmunks. While they have released two albums, Christmas with the Chipmunks is always on my iPod holiday playlist. The squeaky voices of the Chipmunks, coupled with Dave's deep crooning creates a fun and engaging playlist of music.
4. Vince Guaraldi Trio: A Charlie Brown Christmas. This Christmas album isn't just for kids. As a matter of fact, most kids will miss the subtle jazz nuances of the Vince Guaraldi Trio. For anyone who appreciates a good jazz album, or for anyone who loves the movie "A Charlie Brown Christmas", this album is a delight.
Kids will love it because of the Charlie Brown movies. Adults will love it because of the great jazz music. All in all, the Vince Guaraldi Trio is one of my holiday favorites.
A few women with great pipes
5. Celine Dion: These Are Special Times. While the song, "These are Special Times", may be more played, Celine Dion's beautiful voice creates a heartfelt rendition of "Ave Maria". And the song, "Don't Save it All For Christmas Day" never fails to bring a tear to my eye.
Besides the strong and vibrant voice of Celine, consider adding Mariah Carey to your Christmas playlist. She wrote and performed the original "All I Want for Christmas is You," and its been remade and redone, but never as well as she sings it.
For a little more quiet, try Amy Grant's heartfelt Christmas album. That girl sings like an angel.
Christmas, Blues style
6. Over The Rhine: Snow Angels. I first heard this album while driving across Wyoming during a blizzard. The Glenn Beck show played a large part of the album, and I was hooked. I had never heard of Over the Rhine before, but now, I love their music. The Christmas album is a bluesy, slow collection of music that could be Christmasy, or just a great blues album. I listen to this one year around.
Try out Over the Rhine, and see if you aren't surprised, not only by their great voices, but also by the deep lyrics.
There are a lot of compilation Christmas albums. Within most genres of music, you can find a "best of" album, full of great Christmas music. Following are three of my personal favorites.
7. Various Artists: Santa Baby. This Christmas album is a best of the best. I hesitate to put it so far down the list. The truth is, I love all Christmas music. In my book, you can never have too much. Peggy Lee, singing "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire". Lou Rawls, with "Merry Christmas Baby", and Eartha Kitt singing the title track, "Santa Baby" are just some of the great songs you'll get with this classic hit.
8. Various Artists: A Very Special Christmas. With artists like The Pretenders, John Cougar, and Bruce Springsteen, this album rocks. It fun and fast, from beginning to end.
9. Various Artists: Wow Christmas. This is a comprehensive collection of the best Christian Christmas music of our time. It includes the great hit by Newsong, "The Christmas Shoes", as well as songs by Michael W Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Amy Grant. With thirty, count 'em, 30 songs, it is not only a complete collection, but a great value.
A Wonderful Surprise
10. Christmas Gregorian Chant: I tripped onto this album quite by accident, and boy I'm glad I did. It is peaceful and beautiful, and a calm way to enjoy Christmas music.
This is a great album for quieting rambunctious youngsters or to calm the household at bedtime.