[Note: This article includes links for you to purchase some of my favorites on Amazon. You are not required to click these links. If you do and make a purchase, there is no additional cost to you, but I will receive a small commission. Thank you for your support!]
Like bread and butter, Christmas and music just go together.
Growing up in church there were the Christmas carols and Christmas plays or pageants with music.
On the radio, the Christmas songs; on the television, the Christmas shows filled with music.
Everybody and their little sister who made music had to make a Christmas album or do a Christmas show. Still do it seems.
So, with no further ado, I’ll share with you some of the Christmas music that has impacted me. There will be links to some of them which you are not required to click on, but if you do, please note that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Of course, for my generation and perhaps more there was Alvin and the Chipmunks. Love ’em or hate ’em, they are a part of our Christmas heritage.
Earlier generations brought us Bing Crosby and the other crooners. My wife still loves and listens to this music. She says she may have been born in the wrong generation, but then she remembers that she wouldn’t have met me if she had been born back then.
Last week I mentioned the Charlie Brown Christmas show and it’s music. Definitely a staple for many of us. (Click here to read that post.)
In seminary, I was introduced to Handel’s Messiah (click the title to purchase on Amazon). Although much bigger than just Christmas, the Christmas portion and a few selections from other portions of this great work are often featured at Christmas. For some, it’s not Christmas until they’ve heard or sung “Hallelujah” – that amazing chorus from Messiah.
Then, too, there were classical musicals like Amahl and the Night Visitors that I was introduced to as well.
Of course, many loved the music of Karen Carpenter and her brother, Richard (what a great name!!). I have a Christmas CD of theirs. Many were introduced to Chip Davis and Mannheim Steamroller (click the title to purchase on Amazong) – with their wonderfully diverse Christmas pieces although most people only hear the synth driven songs that the radio plays every year.
Then, I was introduced to TSO, Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Most people only know them for “Carol of the Bells – Christmas Eve/Sarajevo” [from Christmas Eve and Other Stories – click title to purchase on Amazon] or “Christmas Canon Rocks,” [from The Lost Christmas Eve – again click title to purchase on Amazon] but each year they do a massive concert tour where they present a story such as “The Lost Christmas Eve” in story telling and a rock-driven Christmas tunes – including traditional carols. Strangely enough the most moving rendition of “O Holy Night” for me is a guitar solo by TSO. For me, a church musician of all things, Christmas is not complete unless I’ve listened to some of their music.
I also love a CD that I have which is called, Light Jazz Christmas Eve (click the title to purchase on Amazon). The light jazz touches on these traditional Christmas songs are just so cool! (That’s still a good word for jazz, right?)
And for some easy listening Christmas background music, I really like a set of CD’s that I got many years ago called The Heart of Christmas. This set includes a classical guitar album (fabulous)and one with jazz piano (nice!). There are 2 others, but these are my favorites.
Finally, and I know I’m leaving out so many, many more of my own favorites – I have only barely touched on the Christmas Carol hymns since I wanted to give you a glimpse of some of the rest of my musical world and influences – but, for me, every year I have to hear a song that I was introduced to a few years ago. I don’t even remember where I got the CD, but I love, love, love it. If nothing else, go immediately to YouTube and listen to The 12 Days of Christmas by Straight No Chaser [YouTube link or purchase the album on Amazon]. It is funny and incredible. (Strangely enough it introduced me to the fantastic band Toto.) BTW: I enjoyed listening again while getting the Youtube link for you!!
Yes, Christmas and music. Know that the carols about Christ are where I live and breath, but my life is enhanced by all of the other Christmas music that helps us celebrate the birth of a Savior who was born to save us from our sins.
PS: What Christmas songs have impacted your life and your celebration? Let me know in the Comments below.