Okay, last Christmas post for awhile, promise. But since I’m hauling out the festive music a bit early this year, I’m also experiencing my first tradition of the season a bit sooner than usual—remembering why I have NO BUSINESS EVER buying another Christmas song. Everyone from Diana Ross to David Hasselhoff has felt compelled to contribute their own version of “Silent Night” to the common good, and every year I feel compelled to buy more, which means at this point I own so much Christmas music that 2013 might be the first time I actually listen to all of it before the end of December.
The least I can do is point you toward some of the best. Here are the favorites I look forward to hearing every year:
—Most of Andrew Peterson’s “Behold the Lamb of God.” Or at least “Labor of Love” and the title track. Well, also the instrumental version of “The Holly and the Ivy.” Oh, forget it–just listen to all of it.
—Most of Jill Phillips’ and Andy Gullahorn’s “Christmas.” And then every year they tour with AP on his Behold the Lamb of God tour and it’s enough goodness to blow your hair back. Are they coming within 200 miles of you? Be there.
—Christmastime is Here – Vince Guaraldi Trio
—Christmas Carol – Mary Chapin Carpenter
—Wish List – Neon Trees
—It’s True – Sara Groves
—Christmas with the Snow – Marah
—Even Santa Fell in Love – Jim Brickman, I think (Don’t judge.)
—Several of Michael W. Smith’s songs, especially “Christmastime,” “Carols Sing,” “The Promise,” and “Sing Noel, Sing Hallelujah.” I have happy memories of singing in backup choirs for his Nashville Christmas shows.
—The Merriest – June Christy
—Last Christmas – Wham!
—Ring the Bells – Ronnie Freeman and Cindy Morgan. As part of my work with The Worship Network, a few years ago I got to be at this concert and hear this song performed by the artists who wrote it. It’s since been recorded by tons of others, but this one is still my favorite.
—I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas – Gayla Peevey
—Angels’ Lullaby – Christy Nockels. Also part of that Ring the Bells show. As was another favorite, “Emmanuel” by Geoff Moore. Just get the whole disc.
—Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
—O Holy Night – Nsync. I’m completely for serious. It’s a great arrangement of a song I can barely listen to anyone sing.
—The Twelve Days of Christmas – Bob & Doug McKenzie. Same deal. This is about the only version I can stomach.
—You’re Here – Francesca Battistelli
—Born that We May Have Life – Chris Tomlin
—We are the Reason – Avalon
—Dona Nobis Pacem/Auld Lang Syne – Yo-Yo Ma & Chris Botti
—My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year) – Regina Spektor
Your turn: leave me a comment with your very favorites. Because let’s be honest—I need to buy them.