Welcome to our newest series. In “Friday Favorites,” our team will share a handful of favorite items. These can range from clothes to beauty products to recipes to books and anything in between.
More than the sights and smells, the traditions and gifts, music is what puts me in the holiday spirit. A big part of my holiday preparations are fiddling with my playlists to suit every mood and occasion. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of Mariah around the clock if you’re depending on the radio, or the soundtrack of Olaf’s Frozen Adventure if your children have too much power over music choices. Here are a few of my favorite albums to mix it up for you (note how very uncomprehensive this list is… it was hard to pick only five!).
This is my all-time favorite Christmas album. If I were locked in a big box store for 24 hours in December and could only listen to one album on repeat, it would be Wintersong. It’s a lovely blend of classics and originals, all of them tinged with a slightly melancholy yet icily beautiful filter. Listen while you’re staring out your window at the Christmas lights, wishing you could go to the huge party your neighbors throw every year that is canceled this year because 2020.
Bing Crosby is who I grew up listening to during Christmas. His voice played in the car as we drove up to the mountains; my parents popped one of his albums into the CD player (remember those?) as my siblings and I waited on the stairs for the signal to come and see what Santa had brought us. This new compilation has thirty of his songs. Listen to this as you’re online shopping, pretending that you’re walking through the flagship Macy’s store in New York City with an armful of shopping bags.
Ingrid Michaelson is one of my favorite performers of all time and the one I’ve seen the most often in concert. I was thrilled when she came out with this album last year. It’s an absolute confection – light-hearted and fun with a certain mid-century flair to it. I feel like I’m in the middle of a Marvelous Mrs. Maisel episode when I listen (other than the fact that the Maisels don’t actually celebrate Christmas). Listen when you’re baking cookies or pampering yourself with a holiday-scented face mask and a home manicure.
Rounding us out is the ultimate exercise in nostalgia. Does anyone else remember wandering the mall with their parents, hoping a visit to Santa was in order while these synthesized beats rang out over the loudspeakers? Mannheim Steamroller has several amazing Christmas albums, but Fresh Aire Christmas tops the list for me. Maybe because it came out the year I was born? My husband and I actually went to a Mannheim Steamroller concert last year, and we were definitely the only attendees under the age of sixty. It’s fine. Turn this one on while you drive around looking at Christmas lights – it’s so fun and energetic.