This is my 150th post, and I thought that I would make it fun. So, as a follow up to my Top 10 Christmas Movies post, here are my Top 10 Christmas albums with a few honorable mentions. I know that there are many that are overlooked here, but these are the ones that have stories connected to them, I’m sure you’ve got your own stories for your own Top 10 list, and I would love to hear about those.
A few years back, a friend introduced me to this album. Peterson labels it “The TRUE Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ.” Every aspect of this album is great and it has been a highlight for me to have seen it performed live 3 times (see this post). A concept album that screams for some time to be set aside in order to listen to it from beginning to end. Peace on earth!
2. The Carpenters “Christmas Portrait”
I can’t listen to this album without seeing my mom’s face and it’s brought many tears to my eyes in the years since I lost my mom. I grew up listening to this on the record player with the smell of Christmas cookies baking in the background. Karen’s voice and Richard’s piano playing make this the perfect Christmas album.
3. Amy Grant “A Christmas Album”
This is another album that I listened to on the record player. It screams of all of the cheesiness of 80s music, but there are some gems on here as well. The opening with “Tennessee Christmas” is just pure Christmas goodness.
4. Kenny Loggins “December”
Not quite sure where I picked this one up, but Loggins does a great job of bringing his own adult contemporary vibe to some of the lesser known Christmas classics. His original tunes “The Bells of Christmas” and “Angels in the Snow” are great. His take on some of the more sacred Christmas songs like “Coventry Carol” and “Some Children See Him” are enhanced by some really nice instrumentation.
I am biased about this since I sing in the choir on it. I met Rob many years ago through his sister who I was good friends with. I had the privilege of singing in his choir for many years until we left Connecticut. Great music, both original and traditional, and some fantastic arrangements for the band and vocalists like Vanessa Williams and Michael McDonald
6. “The Muppet Christmas Carol” Soundtrack
Since this movie is on my Top 10 Christmas Movies list, it only seems appropriate that the soundtrack should follow on her. Some good songs that got cut from the film as well. Anytime you hear Beaker sing, it should be enough to evoke a laugh. Animal trying to contain himself on the drums. Paul Williams doing what he has done so well for the Muppets for years, writing some great songs that you will continue to sing long after the album is over.
7. Michael W. Smith “Christmastime”
Michael W. Smith enlists the help of a boy choir for many of the songs on this album. Just hearing the beauty of the voices evokes images of a large cathedral with candles burning and the boys lining either side of the altar wearing their white robes. “Sing We Now of Christmas” and “Carols Sing” are standouts to me. If you want good Christmas choral music, listen to John Rutter, but Smith offers some nice arrangements here too.
8. John Denver & The Muppets “A Christmas Together”
The winning combination: John Denver and the Muppets. Just a fun Christmas album that brings me right back to sitting in my footie pajamas watching the Muppets on TV.
Another movie that’s on my Top 10 list with the soundtrack firmly planted here. Vince Guaraldi’s music is timeless and connects with every generation. Nothing gives me greater joy than to hear “Skating” while we’re out in the store and to hear one of my sons say, “This is the song from Charlie Brown.”
10. “The Preacher’s Wife” Soundtrack
Whitney Houston in the remake of “The Bishop’s Wife.” The song that gets me every time is “Who Would Imagine A King.” Whitney in her heyday with Denzel. Can’t really go wrong with the movie, but Whitney’s pipes are in their prime.
Sting “If On A Winter’s Night…”
Mr. Sumner brings his own twist to the Christmas season with some more baroque and traditionally British music. A tree, a fire, a couch, your favorite holiday beverage, and your listening experience will be complete.
James Taylor “At Christmas”
How can you go wrong with Sweet Baby James? Great Taylor takes on holiday classics.
Francesca Battistelli “Christmas”
A good mix of the classics with some originals thrown in there. Of particular interest is “You’re Here.” A worthwhile listening.