Music: My Favorite Things Holiday Albums

TV is a little light this week, and God only knows when I'll get around to watching another movie (except maybe The Bishop's Wife), so I thought I'd look at seasonal music. Growing up, Christmas albums had a heavy influence on me; we'd put them on the turntable and listen as we hung lights and ornaments and wrapped things in tinsel. There were two records that were a must each year: Bing Crosby's White Christmas and Andy Williams' Merry Christmas. To this day it is not officially the holiday season until I've put those records on. (Well, and really the holidays officially start in our house when Santa ends the Macy's Parade, but that's another story.)

My mother had an Elvis Christmas album but I didn't have much feeling for that one. And then we had a Christy Lane album (also titled White Christmas; my mother is a minister). I do remember liking Lane's version of "Away In a Manger." It was kind of twangy.

Later I would incorporate Jimmy Buffett's Christmas Island into my regular holiday rotation. I enjoy his version of "Run, Rudolph, Run."

I guess I'm mostly a sucker for the classics, though. I don't mind some of the newer stuff, though I much prefer the upbeat to the balladic. "Jingle Bell Rock" is a good one, and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." I guess those aren't that new, but you get the idea.

And I hate "Little Drummer Boy" and all those slow, mournful types. It's already dark and cold, and though I can appreciate "Silent Night"—I've walked alone on a cold, clear night and felt that song deep in me—I can't really enjoy it.

Having grown up in a theocentric household, I do like "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Joy to the World" and all those. But my all-time favorite Christmas song? "Sleigh Ride." Preferably as sung by Mr. Williams, but just about any version will do.

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