I could play Christmas music all year long. But as this would make said music a little commonplace and I can't have commonplace music about Jesus' birth, I give myself permission on Thanksgiving Day (our traditional day to decorate a tree) to start my holiday playlist.
My college roommate Amy can regale you with terrible tales of Manheim Steamroller, a group which made her run screaming into her room. Or Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is you." Hey, don't judge, it was the late '90s.
Hopefully my musical tastes have matured since then (although I still love me some Michael W. Smith Christmas music).
Here are my top Christmas albums of years new and old. Happy Thanksgiving!
11. John Denver and the Muppets Christmas by John Denver and the Muppets: Fun for all ages. Smooth Denver vocals with Kermit and the gang. Twelve Days of Christmas
10. It's Christmas time by Bing Crosby: His deep voice drips with nostalgia. No one could deliver a note the way Bing could. God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
9. And winter came by Enya and An Irish Christmas by Moya Brennan: Fun fact: Enya and Moya are sisters. Enya's album is good but I actually like Moya's better. It has more depth to it. One Toy Soldier (Enya) The Wexford Carol (Moya)
8. Winter song by Sarah McLachlan: The most depressing Christmas album ever. But it's Sarah. And she's beautiful. And she was going through some difficult times. And it really grows on you. And if the holidays are painful for you (which I know they are for a lot of people), this might be cathartic. Song For A Winter's Night
7. Christmas by Michael W. Smith: Like I said, I love me some MWS. This album is pretty classical. Not Christian-pop. "All is well" is gorgeous.
6. A Christmas Collection by Amy Grant: Another album from my youth. I can't decorate a tree without "Tennessee Christmas."
5. Joy: A holiday collection by Jewel: Yes, I said it. I love Jewel. She got me through some lonely moments in the early 2000s. Her voice is clear and lovely here. O Holy Night
4. Songs for Christmas, Vol 1 by Sufjan Stevens: I have listened to a few snippets of his new Christmas album, which I will most likely be adding to my collection. It sounds a bit like his first holiday album: spot on in places and way weird in others (please, Sufjan, never again do a techno version of "It came upon a midnight clear." Maybe you're being ironic but I don't get it...of course, I did like Mariah Carey in my teen years so maybe I'm not the best judge). My favorite versions of two of my most cherished hymns are on this album: "Holy Holy Holy" and "Come thou fount of every blessing." Worth wading through the Sufjan quirkiness for these gems. Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing
3. Classical choices: Handels' Messiah and Choir of King's College Cambridge and Sir David Wilcocks. Sussex Carol by King's college
2. Christmas songs by Anuna: Angelic! Pie Jesu
1. Sweet Bells and While Mortals Sleep by Kate Rusby: These albums are the first ones I listen to every holiday season because they are so joyful and fun. Rusby places her English folk Celtic spin on music for this season. Awake, Arise Good Christians and Diadem