Top Christmas Albums:

Given the short supply of decent Christmas music, especially if you’re not of a religious bent, picking albums can be a challenge. Every year I have made it a tradition to add a new Christmas CD to my collection, preferably one that is a bit off-beat. I don’t always pick secular items, but if its not it has to be for good reason.

So far, here are my perennial favorites:

1) The Bells of Dublin (Chieftains) — ain’t Xmas without an Irish jig or two

2) Christmas Caravan (Squirrel Nut Zippers) — great mix of holiday sentiment and festivity

3) Pretty Paper (Willie Nelson) — Willie! The title song says its Christmas season to me…

4) The Wonderful World of Christmas (Elvis Presley) — You don’t have a CD collection without one with the King of croon.

5) A Christmas Celebration of Hope (B.B. King) –Another class act

One CD that must be mentioned is Trailer Trash Christmas (various artists) — great attitude, I just wish the music lived up to the idea. Irreverant as hell.

But what to get this year? Any ideas? Any favorites that should have made this list?

11 thoughts on “Top Christmas Albums:

  1. I’m not sure if you already know about this site or not, or if it’s even what you’re looking for, but have you seen Flatulina?  You can’t get much more irreverant.

  2. I don’t really enjoy Christmas music that much and I definitely don’t enjoy country music, so I was quite surprised when I found myself singing along with SHeDaisy and their “Deck the Halls” video.

    It’s almost impossible not to watch this video without feeling some holiday cheer.  The rest of the album is probably worth checking out.

  3. I second the recommendation of the soundtrack of A Charlie Brown Christmas.  It doesn’t feel like the Christmas season has begun unless I’ve heard something from it.

    My favorite Xmas album is the Christmas EP by Low.  It has covers of Xmas staples like “Silent Night,” as well as some originals.  (Sound samples are on their audio page.  Another recommendation is the North: Winter Solstice EP by Coil.  It might be kind of hard to find, but it’s worth tracking down to hear their rendition of “Christmas is Now Drawing Near.”

  4. My wife has complained in the past that too many of my Christmas albums put her to sleep. So I made my own this year that is guaranteed not to put you to sleep. It consists of the following artists and songs:

    1. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Canon
    2. Powder – Christmas Don’t Be Late (Chipmunk Song)
    3. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night
    4. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Wizard In Winter
    5. Eve 6 – Noel Noel
    6. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – A Mad Russian’s Christmas
    7. Sheryl Crow – Run Rudolph Run
    8. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Faith Noel
    9. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)
    10. Tom Petty – Christmas All Over Again
    11. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Queen Of The Winter Night
    12. Barenaked Ladies – Green Christmas
    13. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Joy/Angels We Have Heard on High
    14. Sheryl Crow – Blue Christmas
    15. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Nights In Blue
    16. Barenaked Ladies – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen-We Three Kings (with Sarah McLachlan)
    17. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Siberian Sleigh Ride
    18. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Promises to Keep
    19. Barenaked Ladies – Jingle Bells
    20. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Wish Liszt (Toy Shop Madness)
    21. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Jam
    22. Barenaked Ladies – Sleigh Ride

    If that list doesn’t keep you awake then you’re legally dead. Sheryl Crow is also notable for taking two songs I normally can not stand and doing renditions that I actually enjoy.

  5. At the risk of driving my bandwidth to all new record highs, I’ve put a link to SEB Radio on the side bar which you can click to hear the Christmas album I listed above. It opens in a new window so you can listen while visiting.

  6. Les, the Chieftains tops my list as well.  It just doesn’t get any better than “The St. Stephens Day Murders”!  Other favorites:

    The Roches: “We Three Kings”.  Alternatively lovely and funny;

    Loreena McKennitt: “To Drive the Cold Winter Away”.  Very Old-England, quite beautiful;

    Ella Fitzgerald: “Wishes You a Swinging Xmas”.  It’s Ella; ‘nuff said.

  7. Les,

    Thanks for the radio to try out your favorites.  My kids loved the Barenaked Ladies’ version of Jingle Bells.

    At the risk of starting a peer-to-peer controversy, any chance we can give you a song or two include in the radio blog you have?

  8. Good Folks,

    Go to SomaFM on net.

    right now they are playing Santa Ga Machi Ni Yattekuru. . . aka “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” IN JAPANESE!!!!!!!!  Very cool.

    A lot of the songs mentioned here are under the station labeled “Xmas in Frisco.”

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