The Magical Spell of Christmas Music

It’s funny how your music tells the story of your life, isn’t it? I blew the dust off of my CD cases this season when I realized there were some pretty serious holes in my Christmas iTunes library. As I paged through my CDs, the memories took me off-guard. Seeing the Point of Grace Christmas CD took me back to sophomore year and the feeling of being one of the last people on campus. All of us Christmas orphans gathered in one room, listened to this CD, and basked in the warmth of the string of Christmas lights in a too-small space.

My ‘NSYNC Christmas CD (don’t judge!) transported me right back to high school when I would play this CD at full volume, sing at the top of my lungs and pretend like Justin was singing to me directly. Sigh.

The Amy Grant Christmas CD was the very first CD I ever purchased. I actually bought it before Christmas one year when I was expecting my first CD player. I remember trying to get information out of my parents before I laid down my hard-earned cash to make sure that there would, indeed, be a CD player under the tree validating this purchase. I couldn’t get anything, but I bought it anyway. I know. I’m such a risk-taker, right??

And thus started my Christmas CD collection.

Every year, I make a new Christmas mix. I’m pretty much pulling from the same pool as the year before (I don’t add to my Christmas music collection that much), but I seem to go through phases so every year’s list is a little different from the previous one. Anyhow. Here are my carefully honed tips and tricks for creating the PERFECT Christmas mix.

Step 1: Go to iTunes and create a “Master Christmas List” playlist.

Step 2: Load all your Christmas CDs into iTunes and download any new Christmas music that you want.

Step 3: Sort your music library by Artist. Pull all Christmas music into the “Master Christmas List” playlist.

Step 4: Create a new playlist called “2011 Christmas Mix”. Highlight all music from your Master Christmas playlist and drag to your new playlist. This will keep your original list and create a new list that you can modify.

Step 5: Sort the “2011 Christmas Mix” playlist by song title. This will help you get a variety of songs and artists. 🙂

Step 6: Listen through and/or eliminate songs based on the artists or style you want of that particular song. For instance, maybe you have 5 versions of “Angels We Have Heard On High”, but one is traditional, one is pop, one is an artist that has weird vibrato (ahem Sixpence None the Richer ahem), one is folksy. In my case, I’d probably keep the pop version. But to each their own! I also tend to delete instrumental versions of songs or anything with a looooong lead in. Let’s get to the point, people! I also like to get a good blend of traditional songs, new songs, nostalgic versions of songs, styles, etc. You get the picture. Not sure which version to choose? Wait until you’ve gone down the whole list and then decide. OR include both! It’s YOUR mix, after all. You’ve got the powa’. 🙂

Step 7: Um, ENJOY! 🙂

My current Christmas playlist has over 50 songs, so here are some of the highlights, mkay?

1. All I Want for Christmas Is You (Mariah Carey) – Raise your hand if you’re surprised. Hello, hello? Anyone?

2.The Angels Medley (Avalon)

3. Auld Lang Syne (Relient K)

4. Ave Maria (Josh Groban)

5. Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart)

6. Carol of the Bells (Emily Rossum)

7. The Christmas Waltz (She & Him)

8. Deck the Rooftop (Glee Cast)

9. Gloria (Michael W. Smith)

10. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (MercyMe)

11. I’ll Be Home for Christmas (Josh Groban) – I’ve got to build up an immunity, folks…

12. The Little Drummer Boy (Jessica and Ashley Simpson)

13. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays (‘NSync)

14. O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Bethany Dillon)

15. We Three Kings (Pentatonix) – Team Pentatonix!

16. Welcome to Our World (Chris Rice)

17. When Love Came Down (Point of Grace)

What are your favorite songs to listen to at Christmastime? Are there any that you can’t stand?

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2 thoughts on “The Magical Spell of Christmas Music

  1. aaron devandry says:

    Good list, Amy!

    In no particular order, some of my favorites:

    Gloria (Angels We Have Heard on High) – MercyMe
    God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan
    O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Aaron Shust
    O Come, O Come Emmanuel – High Street Hymns
    Blue Sky Christmas Eve – Andrew Ripp
    How Many Kings – Downhere
    Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano
    Things We Don’t Need Anymore – Jenny Owen Youngs
    Go Tell It on the Mountain – Oh Susanna
    Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus – Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken
    Do You Hear What I Hear? – Destiny’s Child
    White Christmas – Bing Crosby
    Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
    Where Are You Christmas? – Faith Hill
    Last Christmas – Jimmy Eat World
    Zat You, Santa Claus? – Louis Armstrong
    Mary, Did You Know? – Jubilant Sykes
    What Child Is This? – Third Day
    Hazy Shade of Winter – Simon and Garfunkle
    The 12 Days of Christmas – Bob and Doug MacKenzie (This is a comedy bit, not quite a song, but still worth listening to each year for the Canadian humor)

    And lots of Elvis (Here Comes Santa Claus, Blue Christmas, Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me, etc)

    Sorry for the long list. I really had to narrow it down.

  2. Veronica @ A Quiet Heart says:

    Love your list! 🙂 Least favorite Christmas song, no question – “Santa Baby.” Cannot stand it. My favorite seems to change from year to year…I think this year it is a tie between Steven Curtis Chapman’s “This Baby” and Point of Grace’s “Not that Far From Bethlehem.” 🙂

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