The Boom Bandits’ Christmas Top Five

I’m here with Jeanne, my evil twin, and Nancy, the third Boom Bandit.  For any new readers, I should explain.  We have been so named because we like suspense, mayhem, and of course, blowing up stuff.

Blowing up stuff in our books.  Mostly.  Ahem…


Anyway, here we are, and we’re talking about our top five Christmas albums, and some of our favorite Christmas songs.

Tis the season, yaknow? 

Yes, I get it.  Some people don’t like Christmas music, don’t like being reminded that it IS Christmas, and would prefer not to hear about it.  In truth I went through a spell where I felt that way. I was sick to death of the crowds and the money mongering, all to the same melancholy musical backdrop that takes over radio frequencies from November until New Year’s Eve.  


Then I watched the film Elf, and something shifted.  Partly because in that film, for the first time ever, I heard the song, Baby It’s Cold Outside

I hear you asking the question. “How could this be, Cassondra?  How is it that you could live this long without hearing that song?”

I. Don’t. Know.

I started playing gigs all around the state (singing and playing guitar), when I was fifteen.  I started playing piano for money(all over the southeastern United States) when I was seventeen.  But that was mostly gospel and country.  I grew up in a fundamentalist church.  My whole childhood was swallowed whole by gospel, country, classical (checked out from the library)  and folk music (albums sneaked out of the attic upstairs, when my mom wasn’t looking).  Almost no jazz, or jazz-influenced music at all.  I got a hint of Big Band from the Lawrence Welk Show, but that was it.  That could be the reason I missed out on the jazzier side of Christmas.  The only Christmas music played around our home–or actually, around our town, that I remember–was the kind that centered on the religious.  Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie…

Santa Clause was comin’ to town, but only in a church-approved sleigh, yaknow?

Granted, Christmas is  a religious holiday, for many.  But still…where were all of these songs I missed? Merry Christmas Baby, you sure did treat me right…

I have this one memory.  I think it was from fourth grade.  Each of us had to bring a Clorox bleach jug from home.  (For those of you who don’t know, these jugs are opaque white plastic, like the one on the right.  We cut the top off of the jug, just at the top of the label,  where that ridge is in the picture.  We removed said label, turned the bottom half of the jug upside down,  then cut holly leaves and berries out of construction paper and glued them onto the front of the upside-down jug,  to make a marching-band-style “hat”.  Then we had to wear these godawful abominations and stand on a stage, on risers in front of family and friends, while we sang really bad, really depressing carols at the Christmas program. 

It. Was. Awful. 

Maybe that’s what turned me against Christmas carols to begin with.

Honestly though, when you think about that Baby It’s Cold Outside song, and its real meaning, there’s no mistake.  It’s a romance novel in the making.  A really steamy one.  Our intrepid hero is working his butt off to get our heroine to stay for  the night.  She’s resisting in a rather ridiculous  must-play-hard-to-get fashion.   He’s hoping for wild monkey sex, right?

You know he is.  I mean, he’s a guy.

In case you haven’t heard the song, here’s one of my favorite versions, from one of the favorite albums I list, below.


My suspicion is that this song was considered inappropriate by a lot of people when I was growing up. Maybe there just weren’t a lot of recorded versions out there.  I dunno. It certainly would have been inappropriate  in MY house.  You know…because of the whole “potential for wild monkey sex” thing.  Nothing sexual about Silent Night.   Well, maybe the “round yon virgin” thing.  But I digress.

Flash forward to adulthood, and  to the movie Elf and Christmas music came alive for me again.  I started buying albums full of Christmas music from Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and their ilk. 

Jeanne grew up in a church-going area too.  She sang in the church choir when she was old enough, and of course, carols were the order of the day.  But mostly, her favorite thing about the season is that it’s COLD. Baby, it’s cold outside, dear Lord  LET IT SNOW in this winter wonderland.  This is where our twin thing diverges.  I’ll go to a nice warm beach, thanks.

Nancy had her share of carols and Christmas music.    About this formative experience, she said,  “I sang in Junior Choir. Considering I can’t carry a tune in the proverbial bucket, this was probably more fun for me than for my more gifted choir-mates. Enthusiasm counted for a lot, though, and I was enthusiastic. In high school, I went caroling with friends a couple of times, again hoping enthusiasm made up for being pitch-challenged.”

So for the three of us, carols were the order of the day.

But back to my (relatively) recent discovery of the NON-carol Christmas song…

Many of these songs have nothing to do with Christmas itself.  They’ve just become standards of the season. And yet, the newer music is, mostly, my favorite.  I still do love the traditional carols though, and I’ve figured out that for me to like them, they have to be upbeat and maybe even a bit jazzy. 

So to that end, we give you the Boom Bandits’ Top Five Christmas albums, which will end up being fifteen, since there are three of us.  Then again, Jeanne and I are the evil twins of the lair, so we may have some duplicates.   Still…although we have a number of evil twin crossovers, we do not always tow the evil twin line.


 Cassondra: Anything Manheim Steamroller because they just rock.  It’s feel-good music.

Jeanne: Windham Hill’s  Winter Solstice.  Because of the sheer musicality of it, and this amazing, ancient-sounding  stuff you don’t hear on common playlists.

Nancy:  The Roches~~We Three Kings.   This is a capella, beautiful harmony.



Cassondra:  Amy Grant’s Home For Christmas.  Just a really warm, easygoing, family-at-home, glass-of-cider album.

Jeanne:  Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas–It’s jazzy and fun and it’s got my absolute favorite, O Holy Night, with someone who can hit all the notes crisp and clear. 

 Nancy:  Joan Baez~~Noel.  Lovely voice.  Folk music delivery of various carols.



Cassondra:  James Taylor’s At Christmas.  This is from 2006. There is not a bad track on this cd. If I started naming my favorites, I’d name almost every one. I’d never heard In the Bleak Midwinter until this album.

Jeanne:  Anything Manheim Steamroller.  They just rock.  (Cassondra:  I see the evil twin thing starting)

Nancy: The Homecoming Orchestra~~Christmas Baroque.  This is brass renditions of traditional carols.  This was one of those bargain bin purchases.


Cassondra:    Amy Grant~~A Christmas Album (her first one).   I love most of the songs, but the top ones are Tender Tennessee Christmas, Breath of Heaven, Grown Up Christmas List, and Emmanuel.

Jeanne:  Amy Grant~~ A Christmas Album–Ahem…Notice the exact repeat of my evil twin’s opinion…verbatim….I love most of the songs, but the top ones are Tender Tennessee Christmas, Breath of Heaven, Grown Up Christmas List, and Emmanuel. And yes, I am serious.  We scare each other at times.

Nancy:  Manheim Steamroller~~Christmas Extraordinaire.  Fabulous Orchestral renditions of holiday favorites.  Heavy on brass. (Cassondra:  I’m getting the idea that Nancy likes brass. Hmmm..and we all like Manheim Steamroller.  Which is kind of cool.)



Cassondra:  Rod Stewart’s new Christmas album~~Merry Christmas Baby.  The songs We Three Kings and Auld Lang Syne are worth buying the album for, but you’ll like the others too.  Stewart is an icon for a reason.  And he has some wonderful duets on here. 

Jeanne:  Handel’s The Messiah–You just can’t beat the sheer magnificence of this choral performance. My  father loved opera, so he had  Handel’s The Messiah on the stereo a lot, and I grew up singing it.   It’s still one of my favorites.

Nancy:  Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra~~Christmas at the Pops.   I mean, come on. It’s Arthur Fiedler. It doesn’t get better than that.  (Cassondra admits that she has to agree, and likes this album too.)


Okay, okay…we can’t do this without some honorable mentions: 

Jeanne’s new current favorite is Blake Shelton’s brand new Chrismas CD.  In particular Oklahoma Christmas.  (Cassondra:  Just the name makes me want to buy it.)  A second honorable mention goes to BoyzIIMen’s Christmas Interpretations, and in particular, their version of Mary Did You Know.    The bass on that song is so deep and resonant. You just wouldn’t know they were that good until you hear this song. Third is Take Six’s He Is Christmas–I love this a capella group and their incredible sound.

 For Cassondra:  Anything from the Rankin Bass Claymation Christmas shows like Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer, Silver and Gold–anything by Burl Ives. The soundtrack from The Muppet Christmas Carol.   Martha Stewart’s Christmas collection.  This is a compilation, of course, but it’s an easygoing grouping of jazzy favorites, and is perfect for fixing dinner with a glass of wine, or eating dinner with friends and wine, or relaxing by the fire with wine…ahem… 

Nancy: There’s this album my parents got as a gas station giveaway, back when gas stations had to care whether you bought your gas from them or someone else, but it’s on vinyl, so I never get to play it anymore.  :-/   It’s called This is Chrismas.  I really like the various artists and styles.

Cassondra:  OH…A favorite song I MUST mention is Trisha Yearwood’s version of Mary Did You Know.  It’s haunting, and like Amy Grant’s Breath of Heaven, makes you think about what that time must have been like for Mary and Joseph, outside of the idealized manger scene.  A pregnant young virgin, trekking cross-country and  the man who was taking care of her, who must have had some serious “are you freaking kidding me?” moments when he was taking the whole thing on faith, based on the word of some shimmery dude who poofed into his room out of thin air.  Bandits and buddies, now that’s a romance novel, complete with conflict, and if we tried to sell that story to editors, they’d say, “No way. That would never happen.”


So, Bandits and Buddies,

Tell us YOUR favorites.

Do you have a favorite Christmas Album? 

A favorite Christmas song?

Do you like traditional carols, or the newer, jazzier, FUN Christmas songs?

Or do you put on the dark shades and stick in the earplugs and listen to classic rock for six weeks, waiting for the whole thing to be over and done with? 

Do you celebrate Christmas at all? Or do you celebrate Hanukkah?  Or perhaps another holiday? If so, is there special music attached to the midwinter celebration or holy day that you love?

And as long as we’re mentioning the movie Elf, what’s your favorite Christmas movie?


Be sure to come back to the Lair on December 13 when we kick off the annual 12 BANDITA DAYS OF CHRISTMAS! Prizes and recipes every day!! Roosters. Starbucks goodies. Books. Dragons. Books. Cookies. Godiva. Books!! (By Banditas and friends like Dianne Love, Sabrina Jeffries, Marquita Valentine, Liz Carlyle, JD Tyler, Lydia Dare, Deb Marlowe, Addison Fox and many more!) You know you want the cookies, for sure, so come home to the Lair for the Holidays! Who knows, you might win something, and you’ll be guaranteed to have fun!!

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  • Barb says:

    well he has just been having a cuppa with Helen and me so he is staying lol

  • Jane says:

    Hi Cassondra,
    My favorite Christmas album is Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. I really the Peanuts version of Hark, the Herald Angels Sing and how can you not love Christmas Time is Here. I like both the traditional and modern songs like Vanessa Williams Silver and Gold. Elf is my favorite, too. Bad Santa is pretty good, too.

  • Barb says:

    Hi Cassondra

    I really like any Christmas songs especially carols… Michael Buble has a nice Christmas Album…. I like the Irish version of 12 days of Christmas

    • Barb, an Irish version of 12 Days of Christmas sounds intriguing. What’s it like?

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Barb, I just saw that Buble Christmas CD at the Starbucks this morning. Looked good, so I may buy it on your recomendation! Grins. I’m a sucker for a good Christmas CD!!

      I’m with Nancy, though…tell us more about the Irish version…

    • Cassondra says:

      Michael Buble is one of my favorites, but I don’t have his Christmas album. I’ll have to look for it!

      Buble has a duet with Rod Stewart on Stewart’s cd. They do Winter Wonderland together.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Cassondra, Jeanne and Nancy

    I love Christmas Carols any of them and have lots of Christmas CDs I have just bought the new Rod Stewart one and love it (I suppose you all knew that LOL) and my daughter picked me one up this week called I’ll Be Home For Christmas it has 36 songs on it by Bing Crosby Frank Sinartra Dean Martin Rosemary Clooney just to name a few and I am really enjoying it.

    My favourite carol would be White Christmas by Bing Crosby and my Mum always loved The Little Drummer boy I also have Mariah Carey’s one and lots more there is a good Aussie one as well Aussie Christmas With Bucko And Champs and I love Neil Dimonds Christmas Carol CD.

    Yep I love them

    Have Fun

    • Helen, the I’ll be Home for Christmas album sounds beautiful. Is it a collection of classics?

      I like The Little Drummer Boy, too, maybe because it kind of has a story in it.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      hey Helen! Are you watching out for Barb with that chookie? I swear, he’s UP to something!! Grins.

      I love the Dean Martin/Bing Crosby Christmas songs. So smooth and delish. Grins.

      Oh, and I love the Bing Crosby David Bowie song which is a mash up of Little Drummer Boy. Forget the name of it.

    • Cassondra says:

      Helen said:

      I’ll Be Home For Christmas it has 36 songs on it by Bing Crosby Frank Sinartra Dean Martin Rosemary Clooney just to name a few and I am really enjoying it

      Helen, that sounds like a GREAT CD! I love Rosemary Clooney.

  • Great post, ladies! Love Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Cassondra, like you, I heard it far too late, and the first time I heard it was the Tom Jones version, which is a lot of fun if derided by the purists. My favourite Christmas Carols are a mixed CD with Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra singing. Louis A’s ‘Zat You, Santa Claus? is fun, and Neil Diamond’s IyIyIyI’m Dreamin of a White Christmas is so cheesey it’s a family classic.

    One family tradition that has gone on far too long is my sister-in-law playing Elvis’s Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me at 6am on Christmas day. If she’s not staying with us, she’ll call and play it down the phone. But that’s what Christmas is all about isn’t it?

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      oH, MY…6 am? My SIL might have to die for that. SNORK!!! Or the CD might have to convieniently self-destruct…or break…or….yeah. I don’t do 6 a.m.


      LOVE that Louis Armstrong song! Love that! Must go to iTunes right now and get it…BRB…

    • Christina, what a sweet tradition you and your sister have! I’m not as fond, in general, of jazzy Christmas songs as I am of more traditional ones. But I cannot stand Christmas songs played like funeral marches.

    • Cassondra says:

      Christina, I don’t know that I’ve heard the Tom Jones Version. What doesn’t everybody like?

      And the Louis A song is great. I don’t have it, and I’ve only heard it maybe once. They just don’t play ANYTHING by him on the radio around here (where I hear the music when I’m out and about), not even his Christmas stuff. I cannot say why. I love it.

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    I like a mix of the classic and the jazzier versions. I love Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Elvis, Sinatra, I also like choirs singing the standard Carols, We Three Kings, Noel, etc. My favorite song is Do You Hear What I Hear?

    Favorite Christmas movie is a Christmas Carol with George C Scott.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Dianna! I ADORE the George C Scott version of the Christmas Carol!!! LOVE it!! I have been trying to find it on DVD. I have a VHS of it, but it’s wearing out. Grins.

      And I love Do You Hear What I Hear as well.

    • Dianna, Do You Hear What I Hear is a beautiful song. When I think of it, I also think of O Holy Night.

      George C. Scott was great as Scrooge!

    • Cassondra says:

      Dianna, I LOVE Do You Hear What I Hear? And yes, choral music at Christmas is just the thing, isn’t it?

  • Mozette says:

    Do you have a favorite Christmas Album?

    I love all kinds of Christmas music; and seeing I used to sing in a choir, I must say, I know how hard it is to get the sound right, the words right and to entertain the audience…
    But my all-time favourite crooner for Christmas music – even though he was an absolute Scrooge in real life himself – has got to be Bing Crosby.

    A favorite Christmas song?

    O, Come All Ye Faithful – all of the verses – especially the ones in Latin. 🙂

    Do you like traditional carols, or the newer, jazzier, FUN Christmas songs?

    Like I said, I love all kinds of Christmas music. 😀

    Or do you put on the dark shades and stick in the earplugs and listen to classic rock for six weeks, waiting for the whole thing to be over and done with?

    Sometimes… but not all the time.

    Do you celebrate Christmas at all? Or do you celebrate Hanukkah? Or perhaps another holiday? If so, is there special music attached to the midwinter celebration or holy day that you love?

    I’m a Pagan, so I celebrate the Summer Solstice. This year is going to be very special and I’ve been preparing for it for about 5 years now. 🙂

    And as long as we’re mentioning the movie Elf, what’s your favorite Christmas movie?

    Love Actually… it’s funny, mushy, crazy, weird and nuts all at the same time :D…. Just like Christmas is supposed to be.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Mozette! my Sistah! I adore O Come All Ye Faithful, especially in Latin. Grins. And I too like Love Actually, although there are some very sad parts in that. I still snork about the Hugh Grant bits w/ the woman cursing then cursing b/c she cursed in front of the PM, and so on. Snork!!

      • Mozette says:

        Oh! That is my favourite part in the movie… watching her stuff it up and stuff it up even more and then watching him laugh at her as she stuffs it up even more right in front of him… 😛

        Then, he finds her kinda kinky and feels ashamed of himself because he actually likes her the way she is… and the best part of all? When he feels insulted and as though somebody has violated her when the US President took advantage of her… now, what he did at the press conference was just fantastic. 😀

    • Mozette, my high school Latin teacher gave us the words to O, Come, All Ye Faithful in Latin. I think it sounds cool that way.

    • Cassondra says:

      Mozette, we celebrate the winter solstice here, actually more than Christmas Day. It is the return of the light that is what I’m waiting for right now. I had been going to blog about that, and even took pictures of the Christmas lights last night, but then wasn’t feeling well enough to emote much, so Jeanne and Nancy came to my rescue to help with this fun blog.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Great post, Boom Gals! Like you, I love Baby, it’s Cold Outside – the Dean Martin version is my fave, but I also love the Rod and Dolly version.

    I like a mix of modern and classics – Doris Day, Bing, Frankie, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Ella and Louis etc. But also The Now That’s What I Call Christmas album that has lots of great songs. I love Chris de Burgh’s A Spaceman Came Travelling, Wizzard’s I Wish it Coudl Be Christmas Everyday, Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas and Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas. For instrumentals – love the Trans-Siberian Orchestra!

    For us, there is a view that Christmas isn’t Christmas until you’ve heard the song “Merry Christmas, Everybody” and Noddy Holder grating out ‘It’s Christmas” – Google it to see what I mean.

    I also love carols – we love to listen to Carols from King’s, being we’re in Cambridge. There is nothing so moving as hearing the beginning of the Nine Lessons and Carols with the solo chorister singing Once in Royal David’s City unaccompanied by anything! Again, if you Google the carol – you’ll see what I mean.

    OK – gotta get the Christmas music on!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Oh, Anna…the Carols from Kings…that’s just an evocative phrase right there. One of these years, I’m comign over to visit and going and sitting in the chapel and just absorbing that. :>

      I’m off to Google Mr. Noddy

    • Anna, I love carols that are like stories. Once in Royal David’s City definitely qualifies. I’ll bet Cambridge is beautiful at Christmas.

    • Cassondra says:

      Anna, I totally forgot about TSO! They should have been on my list. I simply was not firing on all cylinders last night when I wrote the blog.

  • Janga says:

    I agree with James Taylor at Christmas and any by Mannheim Steamroller. But I’ll go with Amy Grant’s The Christmas Collection (2008) because in addition to her older songs it has “I Need a Silent Night” which I play more frequently as Christmas draws nearer and the pace gets more frantic. I’ll add Ella Fitzgerald’s Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas” and Casting Crowns’ Peace on Earth. My favorite 2012 Christmas album is Celtic Woman’s Home for Christmas. Beautiful!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Oh, Janga, that Casting Crowns version of I Heard the Bells is just divine, isn’t it?? LOVE it!!

      Did you know that I Heard the Bells is from a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow? I love the story it tells – the bells, the despair that there’s no peace, then renewed hope that the bells ring out, despite it all, in joyful defiance of hate, proclaiming love. :>

      All that in one song. Go ON with your bad self, Henry! Hahaha!

    • I don’t know Casting Crowns. I’ll have to check them out. I like Celtic music. We have a Celtic harp Christmas album but not the Celtic Woman one. I enjoy their PBS specials, so I might like the album.

    • Cassondra says:

      Janga said:

      Ella Fitzgerald’s Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas”

      Okay this is one I’m gonna have to go out and find. And I have not heard the Celtic Woman’s Christmas cd either! And I love that style of music.

  • Caren Crane says:

    Love Christmas and Christmas movies. Elf is my favorite! Love Mannheim Steamroller CDs and anything by Nat King Cole. I despise hearing the same songs over and over, as if all radio stations bought the same loop of Christmas music. There is so much out there to choose from, you’d think they could at least get someone to mix it up a bit!

    Oh and I saw Janga mentioned Casting Crowns’ album Peace On Earth. That is a great one. Love some Casting Crowns!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Caren! You probably read those bits about my love of Messiah, but did you know that when I lived near you, I used to sing it EVERY YEAR with the Cary Ecumenical Choir?

      Ya’ll would love this. ALL the churches in Cary, NC – Catholic, Protestent, Baptist, AME, Christian Science, Mormon, EVERYTHING – would put together this MASSIVE chior to do the Christmas sections of Messiah. Orchestra, massive organ, conductor, professional solists, volunteer everyone else.

      Heaven. On. Earth. to sing in that Chior. Usually 2-300 voices strong. OMG.

    • Caren, I cannot abide going into a store the week after Halloween and hearing Christmas music. Or having a radio station go all-Christmas Thanksgiving week. At least wait for 12/1, coulda?

    • Cassondra says:

      Caren, that’s because so many radio stations do EXACTLY that. They’re owned by conglomerates, and the music is usually piped in from somewhere else. When I worked in radio, I was the night “dj” in a small town in central Kentucky, and our music was piped in from Denver. That’s where the DJs were too…it was all trigged by a sophisticated signal system. The “dj” just sat in the chair and minded the radio board, did production (made the commercials) etc. At other stations I had to know..TALK, but only on certain shifts or if the system went down. Even in cities, other than the drive time shows by the local jocks, the music is usually piped in. And if not, it’s on an approved “play list” which is always stupidly short.

      I think this is why I’d never heard Baby It’s Cold Outside until Elf, and STILL have never heard Louis A’s Zat You Santa Clause, except maybe once.

  • Connie Fischer says:

    I have several favorite songs that may be considered “unusual” however, I like them! One is Elvis singing, “I’ll Have a Blue Christmas Without You” and the song “Santa Baby.”

    I can’t say that I have a favorite Christmas movie. I do know that if I have to watch a “Peanuts Christmas” or “Home Alone” or even (Heaven forbid) “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I would have to shoot the TV. Does that make me an old Scrooge or Grinch? 😉

    I do celebrate Christmas and enjoy being with family but I’m believe in everyone being themselves and not pretend sappy. Oh, Wow! Now I’m sounding like Maxine! 😉 I guess I’d better quit before you all delete my comment!

    Happy Holidays!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Connie! I adore Santa Baby! “put a sable under the tree…for me…” Heehee. Such a saucy, fun song. I adore it.

      And Grinch away! “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch…You’re a nasty, wasty skunk!” Ha! One of my ALL TIME Christmas favorites. :>

      I get tired of all the same-old-same-old, but I’ll watch Grinch, Christmas in CT and White Christmas every year, even if, like you, I skip Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown (which depresses me), and so on.

    • Connie, I love Its a Wonderful life, but I think it gets overplayed. I can totally understand being tired of holiday specials. I also think there’s this idea everyone’s holiday gathering has to look like a Norman Rockwell painting. In reality, not everyone’s family fits that mold. The pressures and stresses of the rest of the year are still there, and sometimes, imho, the attempt to pretend they’re not makes them worse.

    • Cassondra says:

      Connie, nope I’m right there with you and Maxine on a lot of this.

      And I love Santa Baby too! Confession time…I’ve never seen It’s a Wonderful Life all the way through. *ducks the flying fruit from everyone in the lair*

  • Kaelee says:

    Well my favorite Christmas album is one that most of you will not have heard of. It’s by Rita MacNeil, a Canadian folk singer from Nova Scotia called Now the Bell Rings. I love her version of O Holy Night, which is my favorite Christmas song.

    The one thing that turns me off of any Christmas album is someone taking an old favorite song and jazzing it up.

    I love all types of Christmas songs as long as I don’t hear them over and over. The playlists on some radio stations need to be expanded. I’m sure you could start at the first of December and never have to play the same song by the same artist twice and make it through to Christmas.

    We are going to hear Handel’s Messiah on Saturday night, On Sunday we are driving for 3 hours to hear a great nephew sing in his Christmas concert. Long tiring but entertaining weekend.

  • Louisa says:

    Great post, ladies! I’ve heard Baby, It’s Cold Outside for years, even before Elf! Then again, I am a musician and older than dirt! LOL

    My Christmas music tastes tend to lean toward classical or classical with a twist.

    Some of my favorite Christmas music is by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Their Christmas albums each have a book with the story in it and the music tells the story. It is amazing!

    Their Christmas albums include :

    Christmas Eve and Other Stories

    The Christmas Attic

    and my favorite The Lost Christmas Eve (It is a story about a despondent Beethoven and Christmas Eve.

    This year’s albums is Dreams of Fireflies on a Christmas Night.

    If you get the chance give these a listen. A whole new twist on Christmas music!!

    • Cassondra says:

      Louisa, I absolutely LOVE TSO, and should have included it on my list. I’m a little under the weather and was not clear-headed at all last night. TSO would be on that top five, probably replacing the Amy Grant Home For Christmas cd, and maybe even bumping another one down.

      I don’t have all these albums though. I’m going to have to expand. I have a friend who went to their concert and said they do a rockin’ show, too!

    • Louisa, I never think about Trans Siberian Orchestra for some reason. But I do like orchestral renditions of Christmas carols (obviously). I’d probably like theirs.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Louisa! I too love TSO and love the story/song aspect of their work. They, Manheim Steamroller and Windham Hill just are WONDERFUL at Christmas.

      And Cassondra, they are the “behind the dinner party with wine” music for some and “crank it up and conduct” music in other aspects. Grins. Just one of the many things I love about them!!

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    You know, I now have to go play Blake Shelton again. Grins.

    Oh, and see if Harry Connick Jr. has a Christmas CD….

    • Cassondra says:

      He does have one, but I don’t like it much. I’ll send you mine if you want it. Or maybe this was an older one and he’s got a better one. I was disappointed. But I got it in a bargain bin for $5 so at least I didn’t spend $17.

  • catslady says:

    Garth Brooks has a Christmas album out that I love with my favorite song The Gift. My husband doesn’t care for Christmas music – maybe because he starts hearing it before Thanksgiving – so I play it mostly when he’s not around lol. Our family makes a point of watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation every year. It’s fun because we recite half the lines lol.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      That’s so funny, Catslady! We do Princess Bride every New Years – and the one liners…oh yeah, they’re flying!!

      “Quit rhyming and I mean it!”
      “Anybody want a peanut?”


    • Cassondra says:

      Catslady, I haven’t heard that Garth Brooks cd, but I’ll have to watch for it.

      And that sounds like such a fun tradition! We don’t have a Christmas film tradition, really, but I always say I want to develop one. I like to watch While You Were Sleeping every year though. I think it’s a good Christmas movie.

    • Catslady, the dh doesn’t love Christmas music with lyrics, so I play those albums when he isn’t around.

      We watch the original Grinch, Jingle All the Way, and, at some point during the holiday marathon, A Christmas Story. I like the original, not colorized Miracle on 34th St., but it’s rarely on TV anymore.

  • What a fun post. Loved reading all your selections. Cassondra, surprised you missed out on Baby, it’s Cold Outside. It’s such a sexy song – love the sly suggestiveness of it. Did you know it’s originally from Neptune’s Daughter, an old Esther Williams movie? Ricardo Montalban uses it to warm up an initially rather frosty Esther Williams. Hmm, it would sure warm me up – I always had a soft spot for RM. I’ve got a feeling it might have won the Oscar for best song that year. If it didn’t, it should have!

    • Cassondra says:

      Anna, I did know it was from Neptune’s Daughter, but only because I KNOW that, not because I’ve seen the movie. And a young RM…yum.

    • Anna, my parents loved Esther Williams, but I didn’t know that. Speaking of RM, do I correctly gather that Benedict “Sherlock”Cumberbatch is stepping into the role of Khan in the next Star Trek film?

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Oooh, Anna! I SO did not know that! guess I never saw that Esther Williams movie. Thought i’d seen most of them, but I’d’ve rememberd Ricardo. I too had a soft spot for him….rwor!!

      • Ricard is the perfect Latin lover character, isn’t he, Jeanne? Another movie that he’s absolutely lovely in is Three Weeks with Love with Jane Powell (who is also lovely in it and I’m not generally a fan). It’s a really funny take on a girl in that awkward age between childhood and womanhood and she develops this HUGE crush on Ricardo and her antics are hilarious. If you know the Debbie Reynolds duet with someone whose name escapes me about abba-dabba-dabba-dabba went the monkey to the chimp, that’s from that film. Charming throughout!

  • Beth Andrews says:

    Great choices, ladies! For us, it’s Bing Crosby and only Bing on Christmas morning *g*

    My favorite song, though, is God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Barenaked Ladies featuring Sarah McLachlan from Barenaked for the Holidays. And this year it’s finally available on iTunes!

  • Cassondra says:

    Just went to the store and picked up the Blake Shelton Christmas cd on Jeanne’s recommendation. They only had one TSO, so I got it too. It was one I didn’t have. Thanks Louisa for that rec.

  • Diane Sallans says:

    I enjoy everything about Christmas except the shopping!
    I love having all the Christmas movies on TV as I work around the house. Even the ones I’ve already seen – which is actually better, because if I haven’t seen it before I have to sit down & pay attention.

    • Diane, I hate the shopping, too. I know what you mean about the movies being background. I’m always on the lookout for a good holiday movie, but I have to focus on new ones.

    • Cassondra says:

      Diane, we have finally reached the point that we *don’t shop*..

      Now, that bears explaining. We buy for the kids in the family, but they’re all teenagers now, and only want itunes gift cards or a card to Tractor Supply Company (our niece is a horse enthusiast and always wants stuff for her horse).

      Beyond that, we buy for good friends who we love and know what they want and need, or we give them something fun that we like, and there’s absolutely no pressure at all to that.

      My husband and I don’t buy for each other, either. If we do anything, we decide what “large” purchase we need for the house and we get that. This year it will be a new tv, blu-ray player, and maybe a sound system to go with it.

      Usually though, we don’t get each other anything. We have too much stuff already!

      Not needing to shop takes so much stress out of the holidays.

  • My favorite Christmas album is Nat King Cole’s Christmas Album.

    Favorite song — The Christmas Song

    I do prefer traditional carol.

    And my new favorite movie is Elf. I can’t believe I haven’t watch it yet!

  • Christie, if that’s the “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” one, I like it, too.

  • Melody May says:

    List of Christmas movies I like are:
    White Christmas
    Frosty the snowman
    Rudolph the Red nose reindeer
    The 1950s Christmas Carol
    Mickey’ Christmas Carol
    The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

    I love traditional Christmas carols

    I absolutely love Christmas.

    • Melody May, we love Christmas, too. That’s an impressive list of movies. I love the original Grinch.

      I’ve been enjoying your tweets about your reading.

    • Cassondra says:

      I love the Grinch movies…both the original AND the one with Jim Carey. He was perfect for the Grinch I think.

  • gamistress66 says:

    I’ve always loved the old time-life holiday collections (I’ve got a couple of them). They’ve got wonderful performances by a variety of fab performers singing a mix a great seasonal classics. They always help get me in the mood. As for movies, I like the old classics such as Miracle on 34th street (the original please), Christmas in Connecticut & White Christmas

    • Gamistress, prefer the original Miracle on 34th Street, too.

    • Cassondra says:

      Oh yeah. I hate colorized movies. Give me the original, ALWAYS.

      I saw White Christmas for the first time just a few years ago, and loved that film. We may have to watch it again this year.

      It’s on vhs though, so it becomes a technology issue to see it, unfortunately.

  • Pissenlit says:

    My favourite Christmas albums are Happy Christmas volumes 1-3(but not 4 or 5) and Barenaked Ladies’ Barenaked for the Holidays.

    No favourite song. There’s too many fantastic ones.

    I like both traditional and newer fun jazzier ones.

    Yep, I do Christmas.

    My favourite Christmas movie is A Charlie Brown Christmas…or The Muppet Christmas Carol…or maybe The Santa Clause…

    • Cassondra says:

      Pissenlit, a HUGE *HIGH FIVE* about the Muppet Christmas Carol! I can’t believe so many people haven’t seen it. It’s a fantastic movie. I mean Michael Caine, come on! He’s the best Scrooge EVER.

      The Santa Clause is another favorite of mine, but I’ve only seen the first one, not the second. I’m afraid it’ll ruin it.

      • Pissenlit says:

        Hee! He really is the best Scrooge, isn’t he?

        Don’t do it! Don’t watch the sequels!! They’re not anywhere near as nice and magical! *shudder*

        • Cassondra says:

          Okay I will take your word for it. I will not watch the sequel to The Santa Clause.

          I don’t even know what other Christmas movies have sequels, so there’s little chance of my watching those.

          Heck, I won’t even watch the sequels to Pirates of the Caribbean. I don’t want to ruin it, and I think the ending of the first film was perfect.

    • Pissenlit, you’re the second person to mention Barenaked for the Holidays. I must check this out.

      The dh loves the Charlie Brown Christmas music, and we like the program.

      • Pissenlit says:

        Indeed! You must! 🙂 I love that album. And every year, I keep a lookout on tv for a repeat of Barenaked for the Holidays: Live at the Rehearsal Hall ’cause it’s even better live, IMO. Also, I can pretend it’s still back in the good old days before the messiness with Page and him leaving the band. 😛

        The music from A Charlie Brown Christmas always makes me feel like dancing…the way they do it in the movie.

  • Mary Preston says:

    I absolutely love all the Christmas Carols. For the evening service at church they turn off the lights & just have candles lit for the carols. I always find my eyes streaming with tears it’s so incredibly beautiful. Good thing I know the words, because I couldn’t read for tears.

    My daughter is eagerly waiting to re-view Terry Pratchett’s THE HOGFATHER for Christmas. It’s surprisingly less disgusting than it sounds.