It’s December! How did that happen? Well, I survived Black Friday…but the holiday shopping season is far from over! Thus, I offer you some music to bring you Christmas cheer as we celebrate this wonderful time of year. First, an original arrangement (or “mash-up,” if you will) of a traditional Christmas carol and a classic worship song, produced by my brother, Charlie, of Charmony Beats. Even though we have different styles (I tend toward Bach and he tends toward rock), we appreciate each other’s styles and it’s especially awesome when our two diverse styles can merge.
Second, a list of my all-time favorite Christmas albums, plus some newer albums I’m enjoying this year:
1. “All the Joy in the World” by Jump5. Jump5 was a staple of my late childhood and early adolescence. No Christmas is complete without listening to this album at least once, and it usually involves singing and dancing like an idiot on my part, especially if I’m alone and putting up Christmas decorations.
2. “ ‘Twas the Night for Smooth Jazz” by Various Artists. I randomly got this CD on clearance at Hobby Lobby (yes, you read that right) after Christmas one year, forgot about it, then rediscovered it in my iTunes library years later. It’s a collection of Christmas carols recorded by various jazz guitarists, and the arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is simply irresistible. (Commence more goofy dancing.)
3. “Peppermint Winter” by Owl City. Well, this one is actually just a song and not a whole album, but I did listen to it like 50 times in one day after it was released in 2010, so it definitely deserves to make my list. This song will give you warm fuzzies all over!
4. “ ‘Tis the Season Christmas Piano” and “Lifescapes Christmas Piano” by Jeff Victor. I fell in love with these Christmas piano albums as soon as I heard them playing over the church’s sound system before service one year (and since my dad is the pastor, he hooked me up!). Many a Christmas Eve was spent listening to these CDs and trying not to fall asleep…yawn…but I always did anyway.
5. “Let It Snow, Baby…Let It Reindeer” by Relient K. I think this title speaks for itself. Relient K’s music is both fun and thought-provoking, and this album is no exception. Also, kudos to them for the song about the day after Christmas: “No more lights glistening, no more carols to sing, but Christmas, it makes way for spring.” Gets me every time.
6. “Peace On Earth” by Casting Crowns. Despite the fact that I work at a Christian bookstore and it is almost heresy for me to say this, I’m not that big of a Casting Crowns fan in general. However, their Christmas album is fantastic, especially their version of “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” and the instrumental arrangement of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
7. “A Very Veggie Christmas” by VeggieTales. Yes, it’s silly. But no Christmas goes by at our house without some memory of the Polish Christmas foods song (sung to the tune of “12 Days of Christmas”). Especially because my mom is Polish.
This year, I’m enjoying new Christmas albums by Francesca Battistelli and Steven Curtis Chapman, as well as a compilation put out by the International Justice Mission called “It Happened One Night.” And just a disclaimer that this list is entirely of my own invention and I’m not being paid to promote any of these albums…even though I do work at a Christian bookstore…
Have a very Merry Christmas, friends!
[December 9, 2012]