Music to Wrap Presents By

Dec 12, 2012 by

Music to Wrap Presents By

So. What are y’all’s feelings on Christmas music? When do you start listening? When do you stop? What are your favorite albums? What songs make you curl up and die a little inside when you hear them?

I swear, my feelings on Christmas music change every year. A few years ago, I wanted to start hearing it — in SMALL doses — the week following Thanksgiving. But then, a curious phenomenon emerged. Satellite stations like Sirius XM began offering Christmas music channels ALL day, EVERY day. You could find Christmas music on Pandora in every genre available. Even some commercial radio stations got into the act; in Seattle, where I live, Spirit 105.3 plays holiday music non-stop (except for an astounding amount of commercials) from the day following Thanksgiving until after Christmas. And as supply increased, demand (at least as far as my desire went) decreased. Such that today, I wait to start playing Christmas music until well into Advent, maybe a week before Christmas, and also during the prime Christmas-prep times such as decorating the tree and wrapping presents.

I don’t like feeling so Scrooge-y. But here’s what I think may have happened. I feel like to a large extent, Christmas music, which had been heretofore personal and special to me, has been co-opted and shoved down my throat by retailers and commerce in the same fashion that Christmas decorations have. So to keep it special and personal, I have to turn the commerce machine off. Which means I listen to it when it can be special to me.

Now, I didn’t mean to get off on a rant there. I just wanted to explore a little bit why I listen to Christmas music less now than in the past. But here are my personal favorites, the ones that never fail to get me in the Christmas spirit of love and joy:

Annie Lennox: A Christmas Cornucopia

A Christmas Cornucopia I love this album because it’s full of old English carols. And because Annie Lennox could sing binary code and have it sound like a heavenly choir.


Selah: Rose of Bethlehem

Rose of Bethlehem This group has some mad instrumental and vocal skills, but again, what I like most about this album is that they stick to traditional carols and some more obscure titles by artists such as Dolly Parton. Their cover of Emmy Lou Harris’ “Light of the Stable” is so exciting and uplifting that I dare you not to cheer at the end of it.


Handel’s The Messiah

Handel:  Messiah What can I say? I’m a purist.



What are your favorite Christmas albums? I promise, I WILL listen to your suggestions, even if I don’t listen to the commercial stations.