Thanksgiving is over! Let the holidays begin!

Okay, I know… Thanksgiving is part of “the holidays”, but as I was stressing like a madwoman over Thanksgiving, I feel like I can relax a little now. I’m not one to get as wrapped up in Christmas music as some people do, but I will admit to having some favorite albums for this time of year. Last Christmas, I made a huge holiday music mix that had songs by everybody from Sting and James Taylor to Kathleen Battle and Eden’s Bridge. My mix has bluegrass, classical, rock, pop, soul, and everything in between. What can I say? I have very eclectic tastes.

Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” was recorded in 1975, but was pretty popular in the 80s…

Having come of age in the 80s, a lot of my favorite music comes from that era. Christmas music is no exception. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band famously covered “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” in December 1975 and then released it as a B side to his 80s era hit, “My Hometown”. It’s now a holiday staple! But as much as I like The Boss, I find my tastes lean more toward the traditional. Must be a feature of getting old.

In 1987, Sting made a haunting cover of “Gabriel’s Message” for the 1987 compilation, A Very Special Christmas.

Love this contemplative Christmas song…

Years later, Sting refurbished “Gabriel’s Message” for his 2010 album, If On A Winter’s Night.

Updated with strings and horns, this version is also haunting in a different way.

Last year, I discovered the wonderful holiday offering Joy- An Irish Christmas by Keith and Krystyn Getty. If you like a little Celtic flavor to your holiday music, I recommend it highly! There’s an exciting mix of exciting fast paced music countered by peaceful beautiful songs.

“Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven” sung here by Krystyn Getty.

A live version of their “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

And there are also a number of soulful classics available. “Do You Hear What I Hear” by Gladys Knight and the Pips immediately comes to mind… So does the Jackson 5’s Christmas album, which comes complete with Christmas greetings from the brothers. Given that they were Jehovah’s Witnesses at the time they made the album, that must have been an awkward recording session.

“Give Love On Christmas Day” by the Jackson 5.

Or there’s blue-eyed soul by Hall & Oates…

I must admit, I like this song for the video…

And “Please Come Home For Christmas” by The Eagles…

Pat Benatar also does a fine version of this bluesy Christmas staple, but I am partial to Don Henley’s soulful vocals.

Here’s Pat singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.

Talk about a classic. This was done in 1988, when I was still a lass.

My all time favorite Christmas album, though, has to be James Taylor’s A Christmas Album, which he made in 2004 for Hallmark. The album was produced by Dave Grusin, who wrote all the wonderful arrangements of the music. James later re-released the album with two more songs. I didn’t buy the re-released version because I already had all the songs on it.

“Go Tell It On The Mountain” is one of my favorite JT Christmas songs!

I’m sure as the month wears on, there will be more posts about Christmas songs… but for now, I think we’ve gotten things off to a festive start! Hope your December has gotten off famously!