This is for you, Rachel. My 10 favorite Christmas albums – in no particular order except for what came up first on my mp3 player and then what popped into my head first. I linked them all to amazon because they provide such handy little soundclips.
1. Christmastime (Michael W. Smith) – I’ve put this album on repeat and let it play all evening without getting tired of it. A very happy collection of Christmas songs.
2. Christmas (Rebecca St. James) – I’m not typically a Rebecca St. James fan, (she sounds too pop-princess for me) but I do love this CD. It’s upbeat and fun to listen to really loud when I’m all alone. My favorite track is One Small Child (I also really like her CD If I Had One Chance to Tell You Something, but that doesn’t belong on this list.)
3. Tradition: Holiday Songs Old and New (the Burns Sisters) – With the exception of the very irritating Children Go Where I Send Thee, I’ve loved this CD for years. It’s folksy; if you liked country music before it morphed into pop, you’ll appreciate this.
4. Snow Angels (Over the Rhine) – My new favorite. It doesn’t feel so Christmas-y that you can only pull it out after Thanksgiving. It’s intelligent music, kind of jazzy; I’ve been listening to it for months.
5. City on a Hill: It’s Christmas Time – Good Christmas music from intelligent Christians who write quality songs.
6. A Slugs and Bugs Christmas (Randall Goodgame and Andrew Peterson) – If it says “Slugs and Bugs” on it, it’s gotta be good music. These are songs that make the kids smile and dance and sing along without getting on a parent’s nerves. My personal favorite is the Camel Song. My favorite favorite track is the Camel Conversation. Randall and Andrew’s dialogues make me laugh out loud.
7. A Neighborly Christmas (Drew Holcombe and the Neighbors) – A new one for me this year that I picked up for free on Noisetrade. (They would love for you to download it too. I know this. They told me in an email.) The first few songs make me feel like hanging stockings and sipping cocoa with Ernest Hemingway. I will say: I despise track #6 – it sounds like something Mariah Carey would sing – in a fluffy red bikini. Delete this one immediately – or… suffer through the inanity if you prefer.
8. Behold the Lamb of God (Andrew Peterson) – I love this album simply for the song “Matthew’s Begats.” Anyone who can put the genealogy of Jesus into a catchy and humorous song that gets stuck in my head head gets my vote for genius of the month.
9. A Very Veggie Christmas (VeggieTales) – Our family has listened to this Christmas-extravaganza-on-a-disc repeatedly and we (even the parents!) don’t get tired of it.
10. Christmas (Michael W. Smith) – I know. I just put MWS on this list twice. I never listen to his music any other time of the year, but he makes great Christmas music. I used to disregard this CD as a weird choral album. And then I started listening more closely.
alternate: Joy: A Holiday Collection (Jewel) – Listen to this for the beautiful Ave Maria and the quirky Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer. She also sings I Wonder as I Wander. That’s a song that doesn’t appear on very many Christmas albums.
* Bonus! *
Noel (Josh Groban) – I haven’t heard anything off this album yet, but the man has a beautiful voice, which I think would be just perfect for Christmas music. One of these days, I’ll buy it…