A Squared: My Top 10 Most Played Holiday Albums

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Top 10 Most Played Holiday Albums

December is already flying by and it makes me a little sad because this is truly my favorite time of year and you'd never know it based on my recent posts.  Life is busy, I guess!  I thought it was about time for me to write a post solely devoted to feeling festive and getting into the holiday spirit!  I have got a few cookie posts coming your way (I just need to bake them first!), but in the meantime let's talk about something near and dear to me at this time of year: Christmas carols! 

For me, Christmas isn't Christmas without the holiday music.  I truly do love almost all Christmas songs.  I say almost as there are a few I can definitely live without-- I'm looking at you, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas and Dominic the Donkey.  Even though I do love them all, there are a few albums that I pull out every year and could listen to forever.  A few are newer choices, but a few are albums that my parents played over and over when I was a kid so they bring back some amazing childhood holiday memories.  Here are the top 10 in my collection.  What are your favorites?

1. Christmas Portrait by The Carpenters
One of mom and dad's favorites, but not always mine.  My brother and I used to moan and groan everytime they put this one on, but now it's one of my favorites too.  This is a CD where all the songs are great on their own, but you should really listen to the tracks in order because each one sort of runs into the next.  It's pretty magical.

My favorite tracks:  Honestly, all of them.  But a few standouts include Merry Christmas Darling, Christmas Waltz, Sleigh Ride, and Carol of the Bells.

2. Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey
I'd call it a modern classic since I remember when the album was released, but that was already almost 20 years ago.  How can that be?? I'm old.

My favorite tracks: Obviously my favorite is All I Want For Christmas is You.  Do any of the others even matter?  I've also been known to keep Miss You Most (At Christmastime) and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on repeat as well.

3. The Christmas Collection by Amy Grant
This is a hard one because Amy Grant's first 3 Christmas albums are my mom's favorites and could totally place on my list too.  Mom says it doesn't feel like Christmas until she starts playing these CDs.  However, I felt it was a little biased to include 3 CDs by the same artist on this top 10 list.  How convenient then that Amy Grant released The Christmas Collection, a compilation of the best tracks from all three!  Of course there are a few really good ones that didn't make the cut, so check out her other albums Christmas Album, Home for Christmas, and Christmas to Remember.

My favorite tracks: Too many to choose!  A few highlights though would be Tennessee Christmas, Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song), and A Christmas to Remember.

4. A Christmas Together by John Denver and The Muppets
I know that this one is SO random, but my brother and I couldn't get enough when we were kids!  We owned it on cassette tape and vinyl.  Now that is old school.  It's still one that I love though-- some of the songs are silly like the Muppets and the others are sentimental like John Denver.  A little something for everyone.

My favorite tracks: For silly, I love Twelve Days of Christmas and Little Saint Nick. For sentimental, I love the tearjerkers When the River Meets the Sea, The Christmas Wish, and the medley that includes It's In Every One of Us.

5. At Christmas by James Taylor
James Taylor really can do no wrong and this whole album is great.  It's a low key and relaxed Christmas album-- perfect for listening to while you're lounging around during the holidays.  It's almost a little jazzy.

My favorite tracks: River (a Joni Mitchell classic), Baby It's Cold Outside (a duet with Natalie Cole), In the Bleak Midwinter, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

6. Christmas by Michael Buble
Christmas songs as performed by crooners are always great, but Michael Buble makes it somehomw sound a little less dated.  On this album there is a great mix of really fun upbeat tracks and slower more traditional ones too.  Another CD with something for everyone.

My favorite tracks: I'll Be Home for Christmas, Jingle Bells (featuring the Puppini Sisters), and Blue Christmas (an Elvis song that I don't really like unless Buble or Celine is singing it).

7. My Kind of Christmas by Christina Aguilera
One of the first holiday albums I purchased for myself back in high school.  You can't go wrong with a few holiday songs sung by your favorite diva!  And let's face it, her voice is pretty amazing.

My favorite tracks: This Christmas, These Are Special Times, and O Holy Night-- this girl can really belt it out!

8. When My Heart Find Christmas by Harry Connick Jr.
Harry is another great modern crooner like Michael Buble.  Another CD with a great mix of upbeat swingy music and sentimental ballads and old standards.  I also love the 1990's effect of the frosted frame on this album cover.  Amazing.

My favorite tracks: When My Heart Finds Christmas, Sleigh Ride, and one of my favorite non-Christmas holiday songs What are you doing New Year's Eve?

9. Christmas Song by Nat King Cole
The ultimate Christmas album.  It's a classic that everyone should have in their collection.  When you think of "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" who else do you think of singing it but Nat?

My favorite tracks: The Christmas Song, of course.  Many CDs also include this one as a duet with his daughter Natalie.  Love that one as well!  I also love his take on some of the other classics like I Saw Three Ships, Deck the Halls, Caroling Caroling, and O Come All Ye Faithful.

10. The Christmas Album by the cast of Glee
My little sisters are Gleeks and they introduced me to this one. I didn't want to like it, but I really do! They have released a few more Christmas albums since, but I really like this first one.

My favorite tracks: We Need a Little Christmas, Baby, It's Cold Outside (who would know this version is performed by two boys?), and Last Christmas, a classic 80s Christmas song.

And for your viewing pleasure...

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