hum it, sing it, fa-la-la it

Even though I complain about Christmas music coming on too early in the stores, that’s only because I don’t want to get over-saturated on it before Christmas actually gets here.

I love Christmas music.

Every sleigh-bell, every chorus, every voice pitched to the heavens, every set of strings strumming a well-loved carol.

I put the instrumental CDs on in the morning to keep the dark at bay.  I play Christmas carols – secular and religious – while I make cookies and treats to enjoy over the holidays (it makes the treats taste better) and while we decorate the tree.

I wouldn’t even think of wrapping presents without Christmas music in the background.

Naturally, we have quite a collection.  And while we do not listen to all of them every season, these are always in the rotation:

Eddie Bauer Christmas Jazz

I picked this one up years ago – I think I was buying gloves or socks or something, and this was sitting at the register.  Yep, they got me.  (The case and cover are long since gone – I’m not even sure of the title of the CD.)

Jewel – Joy: a Holiday Collection

I really liked this when I first brought it home, then decided I didn’t like the non-traditional arrangements, and have since decided that I like it a lot.  What? I can change my mind.  This is a nice mix.

Sarah McLachlan – Wintersong

This is hands-down one of my favourites of the season.  When the Grinches threaten my Christmas spirit, this album sets me right; it is soulful and melodic, without being over-the-top cheery.  I especially love her cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s Song for a Winter’s Night.

Vonda Shephard – A Very Ally Christmas

Vonda Shephard leads the way, with several of the actors from the show chiming in. Remember Calista Flockhart’s rendition of Santa Baby from the show, when everyone said Ally couldn’t make a Christmas carol sexy? She can, and she does.  My favourite is Robert Downey Jr.’s version of Joni Mitchell’s River – haunting and lovely.

Tingstad and Rumble – The Gift

This album was a gift, from my Tina.  It is an instrumental release, and lovely from beginning to end.  Wonderful background to whatever we are doing, or a peaceful thing to listen to in the candlelight when I need to get my calm back.

A Windham Hill Christmas

Another beautiful instrumental collection from a sampling of Windham Hill artists.

Celtic Christmas III

We don’t have Celtic Christmas I or II (I assume the exist), but this is stellar.  I found it in the Chinaberry catalogue – they have always been spot-on with their book and music recommendations.  (This is another Windham Hill collection.)

Aine Minogue – To Warm the Winter’s Night

This is blissful.  Another recommendation from Chinaberry, this one came to us last year.  It is a wonderful addition to the Christmas mix.

Christmas Sing with Frank and Bing

The movie White Christmas, with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, is one of our favourite Christmas traditions.  The camaraderie between the leading men is great fun.  This album includes similar banter between Frank and Bing in between Christmas standards.  Perfection.

Michael Bublé – Let It Snow

This was another gift from Tina.  There are only a handful of songs on the album, but Michael Buble’s signature style rings through here, without the big-band distraction his music sometimes has.  This album introduced my to Bublé.

If you have little ones, this is a treat:
Santabear’s First Christmas

This is a story narrated by Kelly McGillis, with musical accompaniment by Michael Hedges (another Windham Hill artist). After the story, the musical arrangements are repeated on their own.  We still love this, so I guess it’s a treat even if you don’t have little ones.

Pink Martini – Joy to the World

I am a huge Pink Martini fan.  They came to the winery in Woodinville this year, and we missed it.  I hope they come back, to an indoor venue, soon.  I expect this album to become a new favourite.  I love when new music joins and compliments what we already have.

And now, my all-time favourite Christmas album.

Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas

Even though we have literally dozens of Christmas CDs, this one is first, last, and always the best.  If I had only one Christmas album forever, this would be it.  I will always picture the actors dancing on stage at rehearsal, Pigpen’s dust cloud ruffling up around him.  And the droopy little Charlie-Brown-tree drooping under the weight of one glass ornament.  And the whole group singing around Charlie Brown at the end, voices raised to the sky, tonsils and noses waving at the stars.


  • I have a Victoria’s Secret box set – box long gone, one cd and case missing – that is London Philharmonic holiday songs. Similar to your impulse buy, but it’s in our rotation every year.

    I second Jewel, Sarah, and all Windham Hill. There are several Celtic Christmas cds, all are good more or less.

    I subscribe to Rhapsody, and this time of year it is a huge benefit. You can listen to all kinds of holiday music!

    I love the snow on your page. Makes me feel like I’m looking out a window as I’m reading 🙂

  • you are just so darn awesome, sister bear. xo

    ps. i second the shout out to snoopy dance.

    as soon as i am done writing this i am going to snoopy dance. hard.
    I encourage you to consider a good ol snoopy dance when you read this.
    snoopy love.

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