The one thing that is guaranteed to put me in a festive mood is Christmas music. I have a personal rule not to listen to Christmas music before December, but as soon as the first hits I go pretty hard. Because I listen to so much Christmas music, variety is key to not hearing the jingle bells in my dreams. These are the 5 albums I’ll probably be playing the most this holiday season.
BING CROSBY – WHITE CHRISTMAS
Listen if you’re: looking for a classic
White Christmas is one of my all-time favourite Christmas films, I watch it at least once every year so I always associate Bing Crosby with the festive season. This album has all of the standards you’d expect on a 40s Christmas record.
ELLA FITZGERALD – ELLA WISHES YOU A SWINGING CHRISTMAS
Listen if you’re: looking for a jazzier classic
Is there anything better than Ella Fitzgerald singing while you lounge in front of an open fire? This is always the image that this album conjures up for me, even if I’m stuck on the tube. This one’s a bit more upbeat and, well, swingy than White Christmas so it’s the perfect pick me up.
SHE & HIM – A VERY SHE & HIM CHRISTMAS
Listen if you’re: wanting an update on the usual standards
I love She & Him (Zooey Deschanel of New Girl and Elf fame, and M. Ward off of Masters of Folk) at any time of the year, but particularly at Christmas-time. Their festive album is perfectly titled, it’s a record of holiday standards that just sound very She & Him, the perfect mix of vintage and modern. I like to mix this one in with the traditional big hitters like Ella and Bing for a bit of a break.
SUFJAN STEVENS – SONGS FOR CHRISTMAS
Listen if you’re: after something a bit different/not quite so upbeat
Sufjan Steven’s Songs for Christmas is a mix of winter classics like Silent Night and some originals all performed in Sufjan Steven’s signature, slightly melancholic, style. This one’s great if you’ve listened to too many jingle bells in a row and you want something Christmas themed without it being wrapped in fairy lights and covered in fake snow.
VINCE GUARALDI TRIO – A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
Listen if you’re: sick of all of the singing
Simple, jazzy, a bit plinky-plonky (you know what I mean) and not a voice in sight, that’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. I didn’t know about this one until a few years ago, but it’s now my go to background working music for December.
You’ll notice that I haven’t included Now That’s What I Call Christmas (or a similar cheesy compilation) or, shock horror, any Michael Bublé on this list. I’m as partial to a bit of Slade in the winter months as anyone else, but because those pop classics will be on literally everywhere I turn from shops to the office, to walking past my house mates’ doors, I don’t actively seek them out. But rest assured they haven’t been forgotten. What albums are on your Christmas playlist?