Need to upgrade my Christmas CD collection. Recommend your favorite!
December 2, 2013 7:27 AM   Subscribe

Need more Christmas music. Too busy to list what I already have, so just list whatever CD is your favorite. I like everything--every genre imaginable, except rap. Thanks!
posted by luvmywife to Media & Arts (56 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
I swear to god, this is one of my favourite christmas albums ever, and I hate country music. He just seems to have a perfect voice for Christmas songs, I don't know.

I'll skip the "popular" suggestions and go to my offbeat, uncommon christmas favourites...
John Williams and the Boston Pops
A Very Special Christmas 1 (there are lots more, but 1 is the best)
Wynton Marsalis
Canadian Brass
King Singers
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:32 AM on December 2, 2013

Best answer: The only Christmas music that I actually like is the Charlie Brown Christmas album.
posted by barnoley at 7:37 AM on December 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

oh this for sure.
posted by chasles at 7:38 AM on December 2, 2013

Bad Religion recently put out Christmas Songs, an album of (you guessed it) Christmas songs, which I've been getting a kick out of. Here's an article in Rolling Stone about it.
posted by onshi at 7:39 AM on December 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

As always, I must put in a recommendation for the first Ultra-Lounge Christmas Cocktails compilation. (There are 3 of them, but I think the first is the best.)
posted by usonian at 7:41 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can't link because my phone is being cranky, but my go-to Christmas album will always be "Silent Nightclub" by Richard Cheese.
posted by skycrashesdown at 7:45 AM on December 2, 2013

Best answer: I'm a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas music. My top two artists are Andy Williams and the Ray Conniff Singers
posted by entropicamericana at 7:45 AM on December 2, 2013

As featured previously on MetaFilter, Target's The Christmas Gig features some really great modern Christmas songs, and the direct download still appears to be functional.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:47 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sufjan Stevens! Sufjan Stevens! Sufjan Stevens!
You can listen to them in full on his website:
Silver And Gold
Songs for Christmas
posted by fancyoats at 7:48 AM on December 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: My hands down favorite is Over the Rhine's Snow Angels. Jazzy, bluesy, original, infinitely listenable.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:50 AM on December 2, 2013

I forgot to add this Sixpence None The Richer christmas album. Her voice is so soft and lovely, perfect for Christmas music.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:50 AM on December 2, 2013

Low - Christmas.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:50 AM on December 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

For sheer quantity, you can't beat this compilation.
posted by deezil at 7:51 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can't go wrong with The Ventures Christmas Album.
posted by scruss at 7:52 AM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Christmas by Bruce Cockburn. Beautiful heartfelt renditions of the classic Christmas Carols. Listen to the samples, and it'll be very clear if it suits your taste. It's the long-time favorite in our household.
posted by alms at 8:07 AM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas Album

Most of my fave Christmas music is on a mix cd a friend compiled for me years ago; some tunes to look out for if you're looking at compilations are Louie Armstrong's rendition of The Night Before Christmas, Brian Setzer Orchestra's Jingle Bells, Elvis' Blue Christmas, and Santa Claus Is A Black Man by Akim and the Teddy Van Production Company; that last one is on John Water's Christmas album, but I can't vouch for the rest of the album. Might could get it as a single on iTunes.
posted by Diablevert at 8:07 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

my 2¢ here. maybe some other good ideas, too.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:08 AM on December 2, 2013

Brian Setzer ("Christmas Rocks: The Best of Collection"), Lou Rawls ("Merry Christmas Baby"), Relient K ("Let It Snow Baby, Let It Reindeer"). "A Motown Christmas," "We Wish You a Metal Christmas."
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 8:14 AM on December 2, 2013

James Brown! Also, emusic just published a good list.
posted by aka burlap at 8:20 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:24 AM on December 2, 2013

Christmas with Dino!
posted by scody at 8:28 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

We don't listen to pop Christmas music in my house (well, I love the Sufjan compilations mentioned above, but I'm alone in that regard), so:
Ramsey Lewis, Sound of Christmas (recommended in the jazz thread). For vocal jazz, Spider Saloff's Christmas CD is really fun.

Robert Shaw Chamber Singers, Songs of Angels
The Philadelphia Brass, A Festival of Carols in Brass
The Singers Unlimited, Christmas

Weirdly, I don't like most of the Windham Hill stuff, but their Winter's Solstice #3 is KILLER. The John Waters Christmas album is super fun, it's up there with Dr. Demento as my family's favorite Christmas novelty CD.
posted by kickingthecrap at 8:28 AM on December 2, 2013

Best answer: In my family, it's not Christmas until Jo Stafford is singing. They're all songs about snow and winter, not Christmas. If you get some good Christmas music, especially a good mixtape, it will come to represent Christmas for your family. Several years, Metachat did some music sharing and it was fun. So, maybe put your email address in your profile.

I enjoy James Taylor's Christmas album. Handel's Messiah. Trapp Family. Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Odetta. I like traditional and choral music, obviously.

Best sellers. Listicle. Listicle. Listicle.
posted by theora55 at 8:30 AM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I tend to veer toward the standards sung by the classic vocalists, so I purchased 100 Classic Christmas Songs for $5.99. Not a bad deal.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 8:34 AM on December 2, 2013

Best answer: Louis Armstrong and Friends bring the joy.
posted by in278s at 8:36 AM on December 2, 2013

Boney M's Christmas album is the only non-traditional (Sinatra, Fitzgerald, etc.) music I'll listen to.
posted by hydrobatidae at 8:38 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm very fond of the Seattle Girls Choir holiday CD.
posted by bearwife at 8:55 AM on December 2, 2013

Two of my favorites are Christmas Eve and Other Stories and The Christmas Attic by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I listen to this particular piece over and over, Christmas Cannon.
posted by kathrynm at 8:55 AM on December 2, 2013

For when you just want mellow instrumental: Don Thomas Christmas Guitar. His stie includes a few demos. So, so nice.
posted by evilmomlady at 9:01 AM on December 2, 2013

This is one of my favorites. Definitely odd but still endearing. May be out of print. One-off side project directed by Victor DeLorenzo of the Violent Femmes.
posted by erebora at 9:31 AM on December 2, 2013

The aforementioned Philadelphia Brass album is excellent, especially when you're burned out on schmaltzy vocals and strings.

If we're going to get all Ray Conniff up in here, the album I grew up with We Wish You a Merry Christmas. (If you're into the 1950s/60s pop choir thing, see also: The Norman Luboff Choir.)
posted by usonian at 9:32 AM on December 2, 2013

I'm so glad you asked this question, because I wanted to recommend my favorite, REVELS; they have lots of different Christmas music and it's all pretty wonderful, and in going to get the link I discovered two albums that I don't have. Win!
posted by OolooKitty at 9:39 AM on December 2, 2013

Christmas in the Heart, Bob Dylan.
posted by gonzo_ID at 9:41 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I agree with Theora555, I love James Taylor's christmas album.

Ringo Starr's Christmas album is one of my all time favorites too, and Straight No Chaser is an a capella group with several really fantastic Christmas albums. I think I'm on an a capella tear this year, I've also been listening to Pentatonix a lot already.
posted by lemniskate at 9:57 AM on December 2, 2013

Best answer: Pink Martini's holiday album, Joy to the World, is one of my favorites from the past few years.

All the classic weird stuff can be found on Dr. Demento Presents: the Greatest Christmas Novelty CD of All Time and Holidays in Dementia.

Required Christmas listening in my household:
  • The Royal Guardsmen's Snoopy vs. the Red Baron
  • John Denver and the Muppets' A Christmas Together
  • The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
  • A John Prine Christmas
  • Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass' Christmas album
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • All the Trans-Siberian Orchestra albums (even the two that technically aren't Christmasy)
  • Ultra-Lounge Christmas Cocktails, all three volumes
And Aimee Mann and Tori Amos both have lovely Christmas albums, too.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:32 AM on December 2, 2013

Jethro Tull's Christmas album. A good mix of traditional (God rest Ye Merry gentlemen), and Tull favorites (Christmas Song, Solstice Bells)
posted by Gungho at 10:33 AM on December 2, 2013

King Diamond's No Presents for Christmas is the greatest non-rap Christmas song of all time.
posted by ignignokt at 11:18 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Günther - Ding Dong (Christmas Song)

Sure, it's a jokey novelty song, but it's catchy and fun, and a welcome palate cleanser if you've had enough of the more familiar Christmas songs.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:19 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I like the Christmas Jug Band for amusing quirky songs from Dan Hicks and company. We have enjoyed Treeside Hoot and Mistletoe Jam. Haven't listened to the others.
posted by goodsearch at 12:18 PM on December 2, 2013

As always, "Christmas With The Believers," over and over and over.

And "Bethlehem After Dark" for cello with (awesome!) pianist Butch Thompson. Also, Thompson's solo Christmas album "Yulestride." And the Canadian Brass album "Noel."

This year to that list I added I added Dave Brubeck's Christmas album named, aptly, "A Dave Brubeck Christmas."
posted by wenestvedt at 12:51 PM on December 2, 2013

Booker T. & The M.G.'s -- In the Christmas Spirit

Simple, festive, catchy, and cool.
posted by mnumberger at 12:53 PM on December 2, 2013

Christmas From A Golden Age is a superb collection of Christmas numbers by classic opera singers, recorded 1925-1950, selected by Lawrence Holdridge and expertly transferred from 78s by Seth Winner.
posted by in278s at 1:12 PM on December 2, 2013

John Fahey
posted by blob at 3:18 PM on December 2, 2013

The Roches, _We Three Kings_. Worth it just for their version of Winter Wonderland.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:28 PM on December 2, 2013

Oh yeah and Metafilter's own Jingle Rock Bell.

(please unlink if I shouldn't have linked)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:31 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm also unreasonably fond of some of the songs on Jewel's Joy: A Holiday Collection

Kī hōʻalu Christmas (Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar) is also very nice.
posted by blob at 5:33 PM on December 2, 2013

Sorry to keep piling on, but I linked to the lesser of the John Fahey Christmas albums. You want The New Possibility: John Fahey's Guitar Soli Christmas Album
posted by blob at 5:40 PM on December 2, 2013

Harry Belafonte's To Wish You A Merry Christmas was a big favorite of ours growing up and still is. Here's one song from it on youtube.
posted by gudrun at 6:04 PM on December 2, 2013

Bjork's Gling-Gló isn't strictly a holiday album, but I associate it with a jazzy yuley sound. I'm also inordinately fond of the Christmas Remixed compilation.
posted by mumkin at 7:21 PM on December 2, 2013

Nat King Cole --any of his Christmas albums with "O Holy Night"
posted by calgirl at 9:09 PM on December 2, 2013

This year I added two albums to my Christmas collection that I really like - Emilie-Claire Barlow's Winter Wonderland, and Good Lovelies' Under the Mistletoe.
posted by fever-trees at 10:21 PM on December 2, 2013

There is also this collection of bad Xmas music.
posted by blob at 9:49 PM on December 3, 2013

Christmas by Chris Isaak.
posted by Pyrattorney at 6:51 AM on December 4, 2013

Self link alert!!!
For the past 12 years, my friends and I have been writing and recording (and lately, performing) original, non-traditional (and often unusual) holiday (and winter-themed music). We offer it up all for free on our website, There are about 100 songs available. Here are a few examples from our latest album:

Who's Gonna Keep it Together: This one falls into the "unusual" category.

Have a Good Time: This is Patsy Cline-ish, with some great pedal steel.

Dance in the New Year: Straight up disco.
posted by jonathanhughes at 6:35 PM on December 15, 2013

No mention of John Zorn's A Dreamer's Christmas??
posted by casaubon at 7:57 AM on December 16, 2013

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