Saturday, December 22, 2012

Advent Calendar: Christmas Music

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  For this post only, I'm going to re-post from 2010 - because I forgot to do so in 2011, and this was a good post!  I've edited it a little bit.

Still running a little behind - the prompt for yesterday was:
December 21 – Christmas Music What songs did your family listen to during Christmas? Did you ever go caroling? Did you have a favorite song?

Although I had a record player, I can't recall if my parents had one - probably not with five boisterous kids around to bump it and scratch the records. We probably listened mostly to the radio, and mostly to vocals by popular singers of the day. When I got a CD player sometime in the 1980s, some of my first Christmas CDs were collections of these performances.

When I was six, the Catholic Mass was still said in Latin, and I still love to hear "Adeste Fideles" and my favorite, "Veni, Veni Emmanuel".

I don't remember going caroling as a child, but when my son was little, I went with a church group to various nursing homes in the area. My church choir did a performance of Messiah, and somewhere along the line I attended The Nutcracker ballet.

I don't think I could name just one favorite Christmas song. Rather, I have favorite Christmas albums. Most of them are instrumentals, and the 20 I like best are pictured at the top of this post. I like Narada and Windham Hill collections, Tingstad and Rumbel, Mannheim Steamroller, acoustic guitars, saxophones, dulcimers and harps, and old-fashioned music boxes.

The good thing about instrumentals is that I can stand hearing them a lot over the longer-and-longer Christmas season. Not so with the vocalists. I pretty much limit listening to them to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I only have six favorite albums, pictured below. In some cases I bought the album primarily for one particular song on it (Kathy Mattea's "Emmanuel" and the King's Singers "Gaudete," for example). The Carpenters and The Moody Blues are among my favorite groups (and if Gordon Lightfoot had ever done a Christmas album, I would have bought it). As for Bing Crosby - well, that reminds me of what my family listened to when I was growing up. I especially love his duets with the Andrews Sisters.

(This was originally published December 21, 2009; repeated December 21, 2010; and revised slightly this year.)

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at

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