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Top 5 Christmas Albums

I think the two times in your life that you will experience the most joy at Christmas is when you are a child and when your own children are young. This Top 5 is a mixture of my favorite Christmas music from both those periods and my wife's and my shared favorite Christmas albums. This year’s Top 5 Christmas albums recognizes George Winston for his LP December. George Winston passed away in 2023 so I placed him in my Top 5 for the year.

The Roches: We Three Kings

This was the first of the “new” Christmas Records, meaning records not by the artists of my parent’s generation, that I bought. My wife and I were starting our family so I figured we needed Christmas music. And even if the end result was another mediocre Christmas record The Roches would deserve an A+ for effort. There are 24 songs on this record many of them, a cappella, and all of them with original, often intricate, arrangements; especially the arrangement of the vocals.

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The Vince Guaraldi Trio : A Charlie Brown Christmas

I was nine years old and a huge fan of Charles Schultz peanuts comic strip when A Charlie Brown Christmas aired for the first time in 1965. Both the show itself and the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas Always Take Me Back to the Christmases of my childhood and as soon as my daughter was old enough, we began watching the show together every year. Anytime I hear any of the songs I can picture the exact scene in the TV special in which that song plays.

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Over The Rhine: Snow Angel

I bought this album simply as a fan of OTR not knowing it was mostly original Christmas and winter themed music and fell fast in love with every song. It’s so rare and refreshing to find a Christmas record of so much wonderful original material. It has always been one of my wife’s and my favorites. Its a Christmas album for adults without having to be risqué.

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Hanson: Snowed In

My daughter picked this one out as she was a fan of Hanson. It was usually the first Christmas album we played when we decorated our tree. If Charlie Brown Christmas takes me back to the Christmases of my childhood, Snowed In takes me back to the Christmases of my daughter’s childhood. The arrangements of the standards are really good and they included a couple really good originals.

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December: George Winston

The perfect “sitting by the light of the Christmas tree at night” album. This is another one that I bought early in our family’s Christmas history. Another favorite of my wife’s and mine. It’s peaceful but not boring. I find this record can easily slip into the background, but still holds my ear. And if I want to sit and give it all my full attention it’s interesting enough that I won’t find myself waking up in surprise a hour later long after the record ended.

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