Here is the second part of my post from yesterday. The main criterion for being included in my “traditional” category is the music’s ability to evoke nostalgia. Some of these are sacred music, but some of them are not. Once again, I am eager to hear what music you would have included on this list. Tomorrow we’ll finish with “pop” favorites.
The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas
||This 3-CD set is nostalgia on steroids. It has all the classic performances that you and your parents have grown up hearing over the years. Think Burl Ives, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews, Elvis Presley, Mel Tormei, and you get the picture. It even has Gene Autrey’s version of “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which is hands-down the all-time best version. Somehow Alabama’s “Tender Tennessee Christmas” made it on here as well. If you don’t have this one, get it.
Alvin and The Chipmunks â€“ “Merry Christmas from the Chipmunks”
||I loved this when I was a kid, and now my kids love it too. In fact, I think it is their favorite Christmas album. Of course, the song to listen to on this one is “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late).”
Bing Crosby â€“ “White Christmas”
||Do I even need to explain why this one is on the list? Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is one of the best Christmas recordings ever produced. There’s another song on here that has had a revival in popularity in recent years because it was featured in the movie “Christmas Vacation.” It’s the last song on the album, and it’s titled “Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas).”
Vince Guaraldi Trio â€“ “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
||When the animated feature was first produced, the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack gave it a hip feel that was meant to draw in a wide audience. Now it’s a classic. You know it is by how many times “Christmas Time Is Here” has been covered by other artists. Great album.
Nat King Cole â€“ The Christmas Song
||Nat King Cole owns “The Christmas Song.” Always has, always will.
Harry Connick, Jr. â€“ “When My Heart Finds Christmas”
||This album is so new that some might dispute including it in the “traditional” category. I think, however, that it is a classic already and belongs here. Some of the songs are Christmas standards while others are original. “It Must Have Been Old Santa” is probably the most popular original song. His rendition of “Ave Maria” is not to be missed.
Ray Conniff Singers â€“ “Christmas with Conniff”
||How many of you remember The Ray Conniff Singers? They were really big in the 60’s, and their Christmas album became a holiday staple for my wife’s family.
Ella Fitzgerald â€“ “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” â€“ Gotta have this one. Best version ever.
Jimmy Durante â€“ “Frosty the Snowman”
Spike Jones â€“ “All I Want for Christmas”
Frank Sinatra â€“ “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”
Mahalia Jackson â€“ “Silent Night, Holy Night”
I’m really digging this series Denny! It’s nice to have a change of pace from political issues & theological debates. I myself am a big fan of Christmas music, even the “non-sacred” songs about Santa & reindeer. It’s nice to know I’m in good company!
You have to add Johnny Mathis to that list as well. Also Kenny G’s first Christmas Album is good.
My all-time favorite Christmas album in this category is:
John Denver and the Muppets — A Christmas Together
Here is a sample:
Johnny Mathis is on the Time-Life Treasury.
the Christmas Cocktails box set is a must. 3 discs of 50’s bizarro universe Christmas stuff from the Capitol/EMI vaults.
That none of the Nat King Cole Christmas albums got mentioned here is a tragedy of the first order. There’s one (and I forget the name of it off the top of my head) that’s geared specifically to kids, and it’s just absolutely adorable, besides having some of the best musicians that walked the planet in the 20th century on it.
And George Winston’s December is absolutely beautiful as well. Can’t go wrong with that one.
Now that you edited your thread, my comment no longer makes sense. But, if you’ve got kids in the house, I’m serious about the Nat King Cole kids’ Christmas disc. It’s outstanding.