It’s under three weeks until Christmas.

Yes, I checked it twice.

The dry and warm November has lulled us into a false sense of security, but the big day will soon be upon us.

So, have you started shopping? Hats off to you if you are already done.

I have been dipping into my stash of holiday music to get into the spirit of the season.

I know there are streaming music services that have special holiday channels, radio stations that switch to all Christmas music, but I have my own favorites.

There is no arguing that Christmas has a universal appeal. Nearly every recording artist has done at least one Christmas song, if not a complete album. It makes sense that if you are a fan of an artist, you probably like their Christmas song or album.

The Omaha Neb. based Mannheim Steamroller produced several Christmas themed collections, starting with the 1984 album “Christmas.” Their fusion of classical instruments with electronics continues to be a favorite. I own several of these albums, but I feel the original is still the best. My children, forced to listen to these collections over and over, today threaten me with physical violence if I play them in their presence.

In 1993, producer David Foster gathered a diverse set of artists and produced “The Christmas Album.” From Wynonna Judd singing “Blue Christmas” to Tom Jones’ recording of “Mary’s Boy Child,” this album is a favorite with many eclectic artists and styles of music. Natalie Cole, Michael Crawford, Tammy Wynette, Celine Dion and the duet of Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson make up what I feel is a wonderful collection. I purchased it on cassette and then struggled to find it on compact disc.

Another of my favorite Christmas recording artists is Amy Grant. Grant, who began her career as a Christian music artist, released her first of nine Christmas albums in 1983. The albums have nice mix of original songs, holiday standards and carols.

1992’s “Home for Christmas” is one of my favorites. The original song “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)” is a wonderful ballad sung from the perspective of an unsure Virgin Mary. From Handel’s “The Messiah” the song “For Unto Us a Child is Born” is blended with “Joy to the World,” making a beautiful song. Carly Simon’s “The Night Before Christmas” and a toe tapping instrumental of Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” make this album a perennial favorite of mine.

I don’t think you can go wrong with any of her albums.

Bing Crosby’s dulcet tones on the songs “It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas” and Irving Berlin’s 1942 classic “White Christmas” are among my favorites. Crosby’s version is the best-selling single in the world with sales estimated in excess of 100 million copies worldwide.

A fun Christmas song

 is “Run Run Rudolph,” first recorded by Chuck Berry in 1958. I think Kelly Clarkson’s cover gives the original a run for its money. (Pun intended)

Another classic, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” is among my favorites. I’m not sure if Andy Williams or Johnny Mathis has the best version.

So if you are having trouble getting in the Christmas spirit, I highly recommend turning to music. It works every time for me.

Thanks for reading; I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same. 

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