Yes, dear reader, I know “my favorite Christmas albums!” as a blog post is the most cliché content from a teenage girl. And although I hate being cliché with a passion, this year has been so whacked up that I couldn’t help but allow my enthusiasm that the most wonderful time of the year is here to become a post that I share with the wide world.
Christmas music is one of the greatest gifts to mankind, right up there with the Reason for the season and dark chocolate. It has a magical sensation about it that just lifts one’s spirits with its sleigh bells, festive harmonies and references to winter wonderlands and fireplaces and baby Jesus all wrapped up in silk (realistically speaking more like rough strips of cloth but silk sounds more lyrical).
I usually follow the strict policy of no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, but this year I needed to close my eyes, plug in the headphones and get carried away by five of my favorite Christmas albums that are listed below.
Michael Bublé: Christmas (Deluxe Special Edition)
Every radio station and store speaker this time of year is playing Bublé’s rendition of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” so you are very likely familiar with his serenading baritone, but have you given the rest of his Christmas collection a listen? He truly has one masterpiece of an Yuletide album. Bublé’s smooth-as-butter-on-a-bald-monkey (hat tip Larry the cucumber) voice make seasonal classics such as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Silent Night” and my personal favorite “Winter Wonderland” an absolute privilege to listen to.
The stress of the year melts away with Bublé’s jazzy renditions of holiday favorites, and transports you to a peaceful, snow covered (in a good way) state of mind that only comes once a year. I highly recommend the whole–and in whole I mean the deluxe edition–album of Michael Bublé’s Christmas.
Piano Guys: A Family Christmas (Deluxe Edition)
When it comes to the Piano Guys, you really can’t go wrong. They cover a myriad of songs, from soundtracks to film scores to country to pop to combining them all and creating an instrumental version that is better than the originals. Their music can be played any time; whilst one is cleaning, or studying, or just unwinding after a chaotic day, the Piano Guys gotchu covered.
With this particular album: “A Family Christmas,” this group puts a smile to your face with their variations of “We Three Kings,” “Angels We Have Heard on High” and my personal favorite, “Let it Snow/WinterWonderland.” It is a very effective mood lifter as well as mood setter, so if you are feeling low, or out of the Christmas loop, I suggest you play this album–once again, the deluxe edition–to set you right.
Cherish The Ladies: On Christmas Night
This album has been a part of my family’s Christmas celebrations for as long as it’s been around. Cherish The Ladies is an all-female Irish music group whose mystical voices, enchanting harmonies and Celtic spin on Christmas makes their album a magical and (for me) nostalgic experience to listen to.
The best piece from this album is “The Castle of Dromore,” a haunting lullaby that brings the quiet aspect of the season into the forefront with it’s soft, tranquil tune. If you–for some inexplicable reason–don’t want to be carried away by the happy pipe of the flutes and the cheery Hibernian renditions of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Holly and the Ivy,” and “Silent Night,” at the very least listen to The Castle of Dromore. It’s the sort of song that wrings tears from one’s eyes and kindles a warmth in the heart that one never wants to go away.
Frank Sinatra: Jolly Christmas
Over this quarantine, I have found a new appreciation for Frank Sinatra and his lilting baritone. This album was released in 1957, which adds a classic warmth to its original charm now in 2020.
The one song that hooked me into listening to the entire album is “The Christmas Waltz,” a reminiscent, whimsical song that reflects the whole album and make your toes involuntarily start twinkling while you are swept into the spirit of the Holiday by Sinatra’s rich voice. This is the perfect album to turn on as festive background while you roll out the cookie dough or tinsel the tree.
Peter Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite
And we at last we come to the final–and arguably best–album on this top five Christmas list.
When one hears “”The Nutcracker,” the first images that come to mind are ballerinas or tutus or men in tights which is all fine and dandy. The ballet, however, is nothing without its score. Peter Tchaikovsky is known for bringing timeless, beautiful stories to life with his music; stories such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty (believe it or not, he was the one who initially made this tale famous, not Disney), and of course, The Nutcracker Suite.
Thanks to my ardent love for the Nutcracker ballet as a young child, I wore out the VCR tape my family owned with the number of times I watched it. Because of this fact, I have the entire plot memorized, and can see the story unfolding in my head when listening to the score as vividly as if I were watching it. I can’t quite explain the euphorically festive feeling one enters when hearing the delightful, impeccable strains of this masterpiece, you really must experience it yourself. Before you do so, I recommend you read the synopsis of the story I linked to above, or better yet, in order to truly appreciate this suite, watch the ballet this Christmas. You won’t regret it–or you might, if you have no taste.
Thus ends my most meaningless post of the year. Take me for my word and listen to these holly jolly albums this December in order to justify me publishing this or go on your merry way and don’t, just means more holiday spirit for the rest of us.