Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat...
December 5, 2006 9:40 AM   Subscribe

It has come to my attention that my five year-old cousins do not have any Christmas music. Recommendations for fantastic albums, please!

So many albums, so little time. I'd like to find them some great music that can be played over and over, without annoying the adults. Of course they'll need the classic Christmas carols, but they are of German and Vietnamese descent, so a nod towards either heritage (or a compilation of Christmas music from around the world) would not go unappreciated. And one of them shows some musical aptitude, so ideally the album(s) will stimulate his interest in that. What do your kids particularly enjoy?
posted by Soliloquy to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite xmas album. Doesn't satisfy the German or Vietnamese heritage portion of your question but still a great album and one that my kids love.
posted by gfrobe at 9:43 AM on December 5, 2006

John Denver & The Muppets.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:47 AM on December 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

The Beach Boys' Christmas (there are many variations with the same songs).
posted by stopgap at 9:47 AM on December 5, 2006

Well, Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas, for starters.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:54 AM on December 5, 2006

Seconding John Denver and the Muppets, but be careful. There are two versions and one doesn't have Little St. Nick or When the River meets the sea.
posted by saffry at 10:06 AM on December 5, 2006

Oh, a tripleplus double on the Phil Spector Christmas album. It is amazing. Amazing, I tell you.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:26 AM on December 5, 2006

5 year olds? Jingle Cats!
I've never met a kid who didn't love it.
posted by zerokey at 10:45 AM on December 5, 2006

Second the Beach Boys Christmas Album. This track list is the good one-- you don't need any more expensive versions that have more recent songs recorded without Brian Wilson.

Peanuts Christmas album.

"Now That's What I Call Christmas" is a 2-CD set, should be inexpensive, includes Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, John Lennon, Nat King Cole, Paul McCartney, Bing Crosby, etc., plus just a wee bit of Bad, like Michael Bolton.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:49 AM on December 5, 2006

Traditional Christmas Classics would be my choice if I was only allowed one Christmas album for the rest of my life. Great choices, great track arrangement, and it gives you all the biggies: Bing's White Christmas, Burl Ives' Rudolph, the definitive version of The Christmas Song by Mel Torme, and my favorite Christmas song of all time: Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters' version of Jingle Bells. It is cheap too.
posted by ND¢ at 11:02 AM on December 5, 2006

I second John Denver & the Muppets. Good songs, familiar voices. It's traditional-type songs, but with a fun twist.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 11:32 AM on December 5, 2006

The definitive Beach Boys Christmas album is Ultimate Christmas, which has all the Christmas tracks in one place (not counting Brian Wilson's newer solo stuff on What I Really Want for Christmas, which isn't worthwhile).

I also second John Denver & the Muppets' A Christmas Together, and at that age, I enjoyed the hell out of Alvin & the Chipmunks. However, I'm not sure either can be put on repeat without driving parents insane. You might want to give them to the kids on Christmas, so they can only play them for one day, not for a month.

Do the kids know the Rankin-Bass Christmas specials? The soundtracks to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman would be good, and don't forget (not Rankin-Bass) The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Charlie Brown Christmas.

You can pick up generic choral Christmas CDs at various checkouts for a few dollars, and most of the ones I've seen this year are actually compilations of decent choirs. Watch out for stuff like "[Company] Singers," but if the name is something like "Clare College Singers" or "Choir of King's College," you're probably good. Lots of these have some German songs, too, like "Est ist ein Ros' entsprungen" or "Stille Nacht." Vietnamese...not so much.
posted by booksandlibretti at 11:35 AM on December 5, 2006

Soul Christmas is excellent.
posted by wsg at 11:43 AM on December 5, 2006

One more thing about Soul Christmas, it's very commonly found in discount bins this time of year.
posted by wsg at 11:46 AM on December 5, 2006

If you're talking kid's music, you must look to Raffi. He has an excellent Christmas album. It has a song in French (he's Canadian), but no help on the requested languages, sorry.
posted by Margalo Epps at 11:59 AM on December 5, 2006

It shouldn't be your first Christmas album purchase, but for a second, don't overlook Leon Redbone's Christmas Island, which should be very tolerable for grownups if they have any taste whatsoever.
posted by j-dawg at 12:00 PM on December 5, 2006

If the parents are indie-rock-tastic, Sufjan Stevens has a new Christmas album out. Five discs. Five! Lots of traditional, lots of non-traditional, and Sufjan suffers from Prince-ism, he's never written a song he didn't like, but I quite enjoy it. But this is only if the parents tend towards indie rock themselves.
posted by incessant at 12:17 PM on December 5, 2006

Adults may hate it, but I have fond memories of The Chipmunks Christmas that I'm happy to pass along to my kid. "Alvin!"
posted by Gucky at 12:28 PM on December 5, 2006

FWIW, the Beach Boys album booksandlibretti mentioned, Ultimate Christmas, is the same one I described as not worth the extra $3. So, now you have a couple different opinions on that one...
posted by ibmcginty at 12:45 PM on December 5, 2006

The Little Drummer Boy by the Harry Simeone Chorale was my favorite as a child. Along with the Messiah (Chicago Symphony, Georg Solti, Kiri Te Kanawa). I still listen to both.

Be aware, there are a million recordings called The Little Drummer Boy, and I believe there's more than one by the Harry Simeone Chorale. The linked one is the best of those.
posted by expialidocious at 2:54 PM on December 5, 2006

Yeah, I thought that was what you meant, ibmcginty. Da noive! But the one I like is only $1.50 more on Amazon, and you get 10 more tracks. And I would pay an extra $1.50 just for "Santa's Got an Airplane," or for "Winter Symphony," or "Melekalikimaka," or "Bells of Christmas," or . . . anyway. Let alone for all of those combined.
posted by booksandlibretti at 3:47 PM on December 5, 2006

Nth-ing John Denver and the Muppets. Also, the Barenaked Ladies put out Barenaked for the Holidays last year- fun and kid-friendly.

Avoid Raffi like the plague.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:03 PM on December 5, 2006

If anyone is looking to Amazon for the Phil Spector album, they have a four disc box-set which appears to include the Xmas album for $2 more than the Xmas album alone. Called welcome to mono.
posted by bystander at 6:17 PM on December 5, 2006

Oh yeah, booksandlibretti? Well, not to have heard "Santa's Got an Airplane" and "Christmas-Christmas-Christmastime Is Here Again!" is worth at least $3.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:45 PM on December 5, 2006

That's it, buddy, we're taking this to e-mail. You wouldn't at least listen to "Santa's Got an Airplane" for free? Are you saying the stereo trick at the end doesn't make you crack the tiniest of smiles? 'Cause it sure makes me grin. Like a fool. In public. And, okay, okay, even if you happen to be a humorless Scrooge, even if you do consider "Santa's Got an Airplane" a loss, doesn't "Winter Symphony" put the album back in the black?

Now, you want to talk about a Christmas song I would pay very large sums of money not to have heard, we can talk about Mike Love's new one: "Santa's Goin' to Kokomo." This is not a joke. Neither your sanity nor time will be returned. Think very hard before you click (youtube).

posted by booksandlibretti at 2:11 AM on December 6, 2006

The Roger Whittaker Christmas Album
I'd have spit on it as a teenager, buy it is well loved by children and adults.
posted by maldrin at 12:19 PM on April 18, 2007

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