Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Music!

With Thanksgiving past, Thursday was the official start of the American Christmas season. Also in Amiens, the Marché de Nöel started last Saturday, and I got a glimpse of the lights and decorations downtown Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Spiritually, yesterday was the First Sunday of Advent.

While I hate the over-commercialization of Christmas, I love the real celebration. The colors, lights, and decoration are just the best, and somehow seem fitting for the remembrance of the nativity of our Lord. The world is filled with joy and anticipation, and I think everyone knows deep down that it isn’t anticipation of gifts to be opened or meals to be devoured.

Christmas music floods the airwaves and gently tickles the ears when walking through the mall or the outdoor market. This is the most annoying part of the holidays for some, but I have to admit I love Christmas music. Well, most Christmas music. While I enjoy secular songs like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Chestnuts Roasting, they are the songs that get old the quickest. One Christian station I used to listen to made a habit of trying to have a secular-religious-secular-religious pattern of songs. I usually ended up turning them off after an hour or so in favor of my own Christmas CDs.

So what are they? Well, here are my favorite Christmas albums:

  • Amy Grant’s A Christmas Album, Home for Christmas, & A Christmas to Remember
  • Fernando Ortega’s Christmas Songs
  • Mannheim Steamroller’s A Fresh Aire Christmas & Christmas Extraordinaire
  • Sandi Patty’s O Holy Night, Yuletide Joy!, and other assorted songs

I also enjoy the Christmas music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Celtic Woman, Julie Andrews, and other random artists. Casting Crowns’ “While You Were Sleeping” is particularly good, but I’ve never been able to listen to their whole album Peace on Earth. Regina Spektor’s Baby Jesus is a clever look at Christmas from a non-Christian perspective (she’s Jewish).

My favorite traditional songs include: "The Hallelujah Chorus," "Ukranian Carol of the Bells," "O Holy Night," "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "Silver Bells," "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," "Still, Still, Still," and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."

Two of my favorite modern songs are: "Breath of Heaven" by Amy Grant and "Mary, Did You Know?" by Clay Aiken.

So now I’d like to hear from you! Which Christmas albums is the first that you pop into the player after Thanksgiving? What Christmas songs do you turn up when the start? Post them in the comments.


Olivia Arlene said...

Well hello there Pierre! Yes, it has been a while hasn't it?

Ahhh yes, Christmas! The most wonderful time of the year! I would have to agree with your selections, and would have to add Barbara Streisand, Michael Buble, Harry Connick Jr., anything big band, jazz,or swing, Point of Grace, Bing Crosby (White Christmas of course!!!), SOME of the Nutcracker, and Take 6 is also pretty good!

By the way, did you know that Mark Lowry wrote the lyrics to "Mary, Did You Know?", and Buddy Green wrote the music?

Do you remember doing An Olde Fashioned Christmas in choir? I really enjoyed that a lot! Those were good songs, though most of them I can no longer remember...some of them are just on the tip of my tongue though...maybe they will come to me when I least expect it.

gail said...

In MN we have a NPR station that is commercial free classical music 24/7. December is a great month for listening to this station to hear some of the lesser known carols and Christmas selections. I always like to listen to the 'Nine Lessons In Carols' on Christmas Day. Forgive me, but I have a Charlotte Church Christmas cd that I like to crank up really loud while I bake Christmas cookies. I have another cd of German Carols sung by a Children's choir which is a regular listen for me. Must get home an get all those out(I am using Scott's laptop at Dan's house!)Blessings to you Josh.

Pierre Bellville said...

Olivia - Thanks for posting your favs!

I did know that about "Mary, Did You Know?" but my favorite version is Clay Aiken's.

I so remember "An Olde Fashioned Christmas"! Fun times! "Give me an olde fashioned Christmas, and right from the start, the only thing, fresh and new, will be joy in my heart!" Great memories.