Today is day 4 of the 12 Days of Christmas blog party, and to start off I am going to share with you some recent dialogue I had with myself:
“Write about Christmas music,” I thought. “There’s so much good music, it will be easy!”
Indeed I thought! While there is no shortage of good Christmas music, narrowing down what I want to share to a reasonable length proved immensely challenging. After a frustrating amount of time spent trying to figure out what to say to express what my favorite songs convey and why they matter to me, I’ve decided to instead let them speak for themselves. Mostly. I couldn’t keep myself from adding a few comments at the end, but if you have time, you should listen to the songs instead of just reading what I have to say.
Making playlists has become a random hobby of mine lately. Regarding Christmas music, I used to always listen to the same favorites by the same artists every year. This year I’ve mixed it up a bit. Of course the solid standbys are still sprinkled in, but there is more variety than I have ever embraced before. I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I am just sharing one playlist today, with 10 songs that I am really enjoying this year. I might share more later; we’ll see how things go.
Although Spotify is my default, I also made a YouTube playlist of the same songs:
- The First Noel performed by Lifestyle Players (instrumental: hand bells)
- I played in a hand bell group for 4 years in college and absolutely loved every minute of it. Because of this, Christmas music has become synonymous with hand bell music for me. This year I’m feeling very nostalgic about this, and had to start out with this beautiful arrangement!
- Mary, Did You Know? performed by Peter Hollens
- Peter Hollens is a new-to-me musician but his voice in this and other Christmas songs is gorgeous. Mary, Did You Know? is my all-time favorite Christmas song, and his version is beautiful.
- What Child is This? performed by Lifestyle Players
- Another hand bell arrangement I am enjoying!
- Gloria (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / Angels We Have Heard On High) performed by Jason Castro
- This song is a change in pace from a lot of the Christmas music that I listen to. It’s a different type of praise than many of the slower or more traditional carols, and very deserving of a place on this list.
- It Came Upon a Midnight Clear performed by Annie Moses Band
- This rendition is just so beautiful, especially the strings and the way that they build throughout the song.
- You’re Here by Francesca Battistelli
- This song is a few years old, but this year it seems to resonate with me more than in the past.
- The Little Drummer Boy performed by Bing Crosby
- Bing had to make an appearance somewhere on this list, right? This song is just fun.
- O Holy Night performed by Chris Mann
- I couldn’t have a list of Christmas songs without this one. Mann performs it marvelously.
- A Christmas Hallelujah by Cloverton
- This one was a big surprise to me! I dislike the source song “Hallelujah,” but this Christmas version is good.
- December Song by Peter Hollens
- This song is making me more emotional than anything else this season. If you don’t listen to anything else here, listen to this song. Maybe it isn’t as much of a Christmas song as the others, but I believe it is important. This is a song that we all need to hear at the end of this year.
I’ve seen several Christmas music posts recently, so I hope you aren’t burned out by them. Personally, I love seeing the songs that everyone chooses to talk about! There is so much variety of Christmas music that there seems to be very little overlap in what I have read so far.
Do you enjoy making music playlists? Would you like to see some others that I have made (Christmas or not)? What is a Christmas song that you are really enjoying this year?
Until the next chapter,