Recommendations on Christmas Music??

With all due respect to those who choose not to celebrate Christmas (for whatever reason); for those who do, what recommendations do you have for this Christmas Season??

If you're like me, I find Christmas Music to be terribly commercialized with artist after artist coming out with there 'token album', almost as if it was an obligation to fans or perhaps an easy way to make a few extra bucks. I apologize if this sounds too harsh, but when an artist does take the time to come up with something special, I have to give a special nod of appreciation.

So help me out here, if you have some personal favorites that you feel rises above the mundane, please share those gems with the AudiogoN community.

Many thanks!!
Christmass with Patti Page folk/country
Christmass with StarWars by Meco Monardo
Nat King Cole -- Christmas Song ballad
Jimmy Smith -- Christmas Album jazz
The best in English comes from the great Anglican Choirs at Cambridge University.
Amazon up Choir of King's College, Cambridge and/or The Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge and buy what they have.

2010 Top 10 Classical Music Christmas CDs ( - part of the New York Times) By Aaron Green

selected article reviews below

7 . Christmas Piano - Chemayne Micallef (MY FAVE .... highly recomemnnded)

" .... Nothing beats sitting back in a comfy chair across from the Christmas tree late at night while listening to classic Christmas songs played on a solo piano. Chemayne Micallef performs your holiday favorites with such ease and simplicity, there's not a song on the album you'll find unlovable...."

1. Angels We Have Heard On High - 4:20
2. Away In A Manger - 3:15
3. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - 3:03
4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - 3:28
5. What Child Is This? - 4:48
6. The First Noel - 2:53
7. Silent Night - 4:35
8. Joy To The World - 2:41
9. Deck The Halls - 2:31
10. I Saw Three Ships - 1:52
11. O Holy Night - 6:10
12. Good King Wenceslas - 2:18
13. O Little Town Of Bethlehem - 3:35
14. O Christmas Tree - 1:30
15. We Wish You A Merry Christmas - 1:57

1 . A Christmas Festival - Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops

Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops create a marvelous classical music CD. It's large orchestral sound and familiar Christmas songs are sure to bring any listener delight. If you don't already own it, you need to!

2 . The Glorious Sound of Christmas - Eugene Ormandy & the Philadelphia Orchestra

Another large orchestra CD, the just as famous Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy released this album in 1991. With familiar classics as Handel's "Joy to the World" and Mendelssohn's "Hark! The Hareld Angels Sing," this album is about as Christmas as they come
3 . Christmas with the Westminster Choir Westminster Choir

is one of the United State's premier choirs. Performing regularly with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, the Westminster Choir found time to record a lovely Christmas album. More intimate than the previous Christmas CD's, you'll enjoy listening to the Westminster Choir next to the Christmas tree in the evening hours wrapped up in a warm blanket

4 . A Festival of Carols in Brass - the Philadelphia Brass

This unique Christmas album is for all the brass lovers of the world, though, anyone can easily fall in love with this CD! If you haven't guessed already, it's 100% pure brass, and unlike you may think, the sound is very smooth and lyrical - almost as intimate as the choir

5 . Christmas with the Dale Warland Singers

Another favorite choral album of mine, I find myself listening to this album periodically throughout the year. Like the Westminster Choir, the Dale Warland Singers are highly respected in the choral field. Their warm and well-rounded sound creates an atmosphere so peaceful and relaxing, you may end up celebrating Christmas all year round

6 . Winter Romance - Beegie Adair

get that "everything is right with the world" feeling while listening to this album, and I'm sure you will too! Beegie Adair's lighthearted Christmas CD features a solo piano accompanied by orchestra and drums. Its jazz-like sounds and rhythms will definitely put a spring in your step
By far, my all-time fav is "Mas! A Caribbean Christmas Party" on Rykodisc. It is THE BEST!
I really like the "A Very Special Christmas" series of albums. I think I have them all. All kinds of different artists and styles in this group.
I celebrate Channukah, but I find Vince Guaraldi's Christmas music (A Charlie Brown Christmas, etc.) great fun, FWIW.
Tracey Thorn - Tinsel and Lights

I'm sure there's videos on youtube if you'd like a sample of it.
Sufjan Stevens has an incredible 5 disc set that features a very heartfelt rendition of traditional and classic holiday songs. I never grow tired of hearing it.
"With all due respect to those who choose not to celebrate Christmas (for whatever reason); for those who do, what recommendations do you have for this Christmas Season??"

I don't get that. Why "all due respect to those who choose not to celebrate Christmas"? It almost sounds like you are apologizing for something. apology, just the recognition that not all people celebrate the Holidays as my family and I do. Personally, I look forward to the Christmas Season more than any other time of the year and am truly thankful for all the wonderful music that is a part of the experience.

Thanks for all the terrific recommendations!!
No reason to apologize. I think most of us would agree with you. The four I would recommend in no particular order are:

Spiritual to the Bone, Christmas Edition. This is a trombone ensemble playing arrangements by Stephen Bulla and Eric Alexander. The Salvation Army has some excellent music and recordings, and I think this is one example.

A Merry Christmas by Stan Kenton. The recordings were made in the early sixties. Kenton took a break from the big band style and recorded a "serious" work consisting of a brass ensemble and rhythm section. However, lest you be disappointed, the CD also includes a medley by Maynard Ferguson.

Proclaim the Bridegroom Near: a Chicago Metro Presbytery collaboration. I will disclose that one of the producers is a friend of mine. Nevertheless, if you are seeking creativity and originality, definitely give this one a listen.

Joy, Joy by David Phelps with The Miller Brass Ensemble. On talent alone, Phelps is capable of making the mundane sound good. But the voicing in the arrangements combined with Phelps' talent make this a special CD. A couple of the arrangements are really quite outstanding IMO.

I celebrate Christmas and heartily recommend 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' it is the gold standard after all.

I also have always enjoyed Crosby/Bowie version of the 'Little Drummer Boy'. Finally, 'A Very Special Christmas' is a nice curtain call.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Ever since I found it in a bargain bin in 1976, hands-down it's Ellington's Nutcracker Suite. It is loved by all and never gets old, dated or out of place. Seasonal, musically secular and such a treat.

If you can find an original Columbia pressing grab it, they are fabulous. The later Columbia reissues, not so much. Pure Pleasure has a newly released reissue. It if it up to their usual standards, it'll be great.
Windham Hill has several Winter's Solstice discs. I also like "If on a Winter's Night..." by Sting.
"Disco Baby" - Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony

"The Nutcracker Suite" - The Modern Mandolin Quartet

"Parallel Lines" - Blondie

"Duke EllingtonĀ’s Nutcracker Suite" - already mentioned

"Greatest Hits" - ABBA

"Christmas With SCTV" volumes 1, 2 & 3 on DVD
John Fahey has an amazing Christmas album that I can't get enough of every season. It is one of the most beautiful albums I have ever heard. It is called John Fahey's Guitar Soli Christmas Album. I recommend the original vinyl, not to hard to find on Tacoma.
Here are a few traditional style CDs that I choose for top-notch recording qualitiy and performance. Stunning in both those areas, especially when played in a large room.
-John Rutter and Cambridge Singers on Collegium
Records has 3 blockbusters: CSCD510, CSCD512, COLCD133
-Handel's Messiah: Hogwood on L'oiseau-Lyre- first choice
-Handel's Messiah: Marriner on London- close second
In my posting I wrote "musically secular". I meant "musically non-secular".
I second the Jethro Tull outing and I like also The Rod Stewart Christmas Cd too. I bought it last year and just dug it. Another great Christmas Cd is the one by Nat Cole.