The Most Wonderful (Musical) Time of the Year
I love everything about Christmas, save for the excessive commercialization of the holiday, but what I absolutely love the most is the music.
I have fond memories of my family trimming the tree, baking cookies and opening presents on Christmas morning…all the while with a record spinning that enhanced all of these holiday traditions and brought the magic of Christmas to life. My parents had a nice collection of vinyl that included a healthy dose of Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and other crooners performing all of the standards we’ve come to know and love. This was our soundtrack from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
I don’t mean to offend any of today’s artists and bands, but for me…you just can’t beat the classics. The nostalgia is not lost on me, which is not to say that I don’t enjoy a more contemporary Christmas album, but I always default to the old guard. And, there are a lot of classics to choose from, which is why I’m writing this post.
If you’re having a Christmas party, decorating the Christmas tree, driving to Grandma and Grandpa’s house…or doing any one of a hundred other holiday-related tasks, here are five classic Christmas albums that I think you should have on hand to enhance the festivities…
1) Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters “A Merry Christmas”
Bing Crosby is widely considered to be the “Voice of Christmas” for good reason. You just can’t find a better version of “White Christmas.” In my opinion, it’s the definitive rendition. My favorite Christmas album is the one he did with the Andrews Sisters.
My favorite songs on this record are:
- “Happy Holiday”
- “Jing-A-Ling, Jing-A-Ling”
- “12 Days of Christmas”
- “Here Comes Santa Claus”
- “Mele Kalikimaka”
2) Nat King Cole “The Christmas Song”
If Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is the definitive version of that song, then so is Nat King Cole’s masterful rendition of “The Christmas Song.” If you’ve never heard it, please go seek it out and give it a listen. In addition to that holiday standard, my two other favorites on this record are:
- “Deck the Halls”
- “Caroling, Caroling”
3) Frank Sinatra “The Sinatra Christmas Album”
Sinatra. Enough said.
Here are my three favorite songs on this album:
- “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
- “We Wish You the Merriest” (with Bing Crosby)
- “The Christmas Waltz”
4) Perry Como “Season’s Greetings From Perry Como”
This is a fantastic and very festive album. I absolutely love “(There’s No Place Like) Home For the Holidays. It’s one of my top five Christmas songs of all time. And, I think Como’s version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is probably second only to Gene Autry’s. And, I dare you to play “Here We Come a Caroling: We Wish You a Merry Christmas” without singing along at some point.
Here are my most favorite songs on this record:
- “(There’s No Place Like) Home For the Holidays”
- “Here We Come a Caroling: We Wish You a Merry Christmas”
- “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
- “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”
- “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
5) Dean Martin “Making Spirits Bright”
This is one of those Christmas albums that you can play from start to finish without skipping a song. It’s a very celebratory and festive collection of mostly upbeat tunes that will really keep your spirits bright (yes, that was intentional). Martin was quite the crooner and in my humble opinion, his interpretation of “Marshmallow World” is second to none.
- “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
- “Silver Bells”
- “Marshmallow World”
So there you have it. Please know that I am fully aware that there are dozens of other well-known, extremely popular albums that could have made this list, but I had to draw the line somewhere. If you have a suggestion, please post a comment and let the rest of our blog readers know which Christmas albums really make you feel festive at this time of year.
Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone.