Since the Christmas season only begins on Christmas, I thought I would share with you the Christmas music that I go back to year after year. I didn't always like Christmas music - there were points where I would say I really hated it - but that changed when I found Christmas songs performed by bands and artists that I already liked. Now I have a selection of music that I look forward to breaking out every Christmas. They are not all religious songs, but through beauty, they all point me towards the truth of Christmas.
It was Relient K's first Christmas release, Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Hand, that first gave me hope for Christmas music. This was a pop-punk band that I loved making some cool Christmas music. Then they released Let It Snow, Baby ... and added a few more songs.
For a great Christmas song in their classic pop-punk sound, I recommend "12 Days of Christmas":
After intentionally ignoring him for a while - due to friends insisting that I must listen to his music - I became a big-time Sufjan Stevens fan a few years ago. I've devoured almost everything he's recorded and his two Christmas collections are among my favorites.
Both collections are gigantic, so you'll find some amazing songs but also lots of short bits of noise and strangeness - but that's ok because that's just Sufjan. These two "albums" hold a special place in my Christmas catalogue and that was confirmed when my siblings and I got to see Sufjan on his Christmas tour a couple of years ago. The song that summarizes that experience for me is "Christmas Unicorn" - one of the longer and weirder Christmas songs he's done, but amazing to see live. Standing right up against the stage for that show was amazing.
It's hard to pick just a few favorites from these collections, but here are a few that standout for me:
This little collection of Christmas songs from Deas Vail stands out for me especially for this rendition of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." I love the ukulele, I love the whistling, I love the beat, I love it all.
After falling completely in love with The Oh Hellos' Through the Deep, Dark Valley, how could I say no to a Christmas EP from this amazing band? Everything I loved about their music came through in the Family Christmas Album.
It's made up of four movements that all tie together, so you should just listen to the whole thing. My favorite movement is part 2: "Begin and Never Cease."
Here are a few other Christmas selections I really enjoy:
The Civil Wars - "Tracks in the Snow" (Not explicitly a Christmas song, but definitely a winter one.)
Coldplay - "Christmas Lights"
Five Iron Frenzy - "You Gotta Get Up"
And finally, it's become a tradition with my siblings and some friends to get together to play music around Christmas. It's called the Christmas Sing-A-Long EXPLOSION (at least on Facebook). So here is one of the songs we did. It's not a Christmas song, but it is one of my favorites. There are six of us playing/singing, but you can only see three: