My Christmas Experience relies heavily on the music of the season. For years I have chosen one new Christmas album to purchase for my collection, and each year I look for exactly the right one to signify that particular year and reflect that year’s interests. As such, the genres are eclectic, like my taste in music, and previous years’ purchases have included Contemporary Christian, Worship, Pop, R&B, Broadway performers, and many, many compilation CDs featuring various artists. My happiness comes from pulling out my library and revisiting those moments in my life. As with practically everything related to me, all the albums have memories attached. And though some of the music has become dated, you will find me smiling constantly while the music plays. The albums are reflective of my life and my journey, so listening to the songs is truly nostalgic. And adding a new CD to the collection each year is one of my greatest Christmas joys.
The collection shown below lists my all-time favorites. These are the CDs that I play first and most throughout the season. The Amy Grant CD is actually a compilation that I put together years ago from her first three Christmas albums, with a little John Tesh thrown into the mix. It was inspired by Grant’s Christmas concerts with the Nashville Symphony, which I saw on television one year. This compilation remains in my top 3 favorites for the holidays. No matter what else Amy Grant has done, it is her Christmas music that I love the most. And by combining the best tracks into one list, I created for myself an imaginary concert for my own enjoyment. Very few CDs rival this in my affections.
Michael W. Smith – Christmastime / Amy Grant collection / Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas / Diana Krall – Christmas Songs / Christina Aguilera – My Kind of Christmas / Kenny Loggins – December / Sarah McLachlan – Wintersong / James Taylor – A Christmas Album / Linda Eder – Christmas Stays the Same / SheDAISY – Brand New Year / Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas / MercyME – The Christmas Sessions
For this year’s selections I have chosen two albums and a single track as my new additions. You’ll notice that they are very reflective of my taste in music during 2009. The Sugarland CD represents my country music phase, while the remake of Wham’s “Last Christmas” was an absolute must to mark this year of GLEE. And Chris Tomlin just couldn’t be passed up, as his music is the epitome of worship.
Along with all of my CDs, I have collected a library of single tracks by various artists that I’ve loved at one time or another. There are also some classics mixed in and some that were simply free downloads I chose to try out. I love that I can now shuffle up these tracks every day and hear them in a different order on the iPod, allowing each song to feel new. Do I have an all-time favorite Christmas song? This very question was asked by my cousin Patti Lacy on her blog. My answer reiterated some of what I’m writing here: As a child I never realized the importance of the Christmas season to my overall well-being, but as I’ve become older I can pinpoint the exact moments that my heart begins to swell and my spirit soars — the first glimpse of a street lined with lighted homes and the playing of Christmas music. I’m in agreement that none of it should happen before Thanksgiving, if only for preserving the anticipation that the holidays incite, but once December arrives I am ready to fully engage in Tinseltown.
My favorite carols as a child were often those fun little jingles attached to any number of stop-motion television specials (Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Rudolph, The Year Without a Santa Claus). But as I came to understand the depth of celebrating our Savior’s birth, I have come to love the classic hymns just as deeply. My favorite traditional carols are probably “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Joy to the World,” although I’m much more partial to modern tunes. Michael W. Smith’s “Christmastime” evokes all my favorite emotions, and Amy Grant’s “Breath of Heaven” is a particular favorite that puts me into Mary’s mind in a way I could never imagine. I love MercyME’s original “Gloria” and can never get enough of Kenny Loggins’s CD December. But above all others, my sentimental favorite came from the unique pairing of Bing Crosby and David Bowie. My holidays are not complete until I listen to Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy. In my mind, there was never anything greater.
I can also add to those titles the song Do They Know It’s Christmas?, which was recorded by all of my favorite artists in 1984 under the moniker Band Aid. It was a recording made to benefit efforts to provide food to the starving children of Ethiopia, which had only just been reported through news media around the world. The song is still powerful, even today, and hearing the voices of those artists I loved as a teenager immediately brings me back to the first time I saw the music video. I never tire of hearing the song, and I’m still thankful for the efforts of Bob Geldof in bringing the project to fruition. This was my first true understanding of what the world was like outside my small town, and to say that it shaped my thinking is an understatement. Seeing celebrities come together to raise money for an African country was so unusual and so new at the time. And watching it, then reading stories of Africa, changed my heart forever. And at Christmas, that’s the emotion I always want to feel.
click image to enlarge my Christmas playlist
Documenting the days of Christmas was inspired by Ali Edwards’s December Daily project and the Holidays in Hand class by Jessica Sprague.
Posted on 6 December 2009, in Stories I Tell and tagged Life is Daily, Life Unabridged, makes me happy, music, my Christmas experience, things to know about me, traditions. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.