Those of you who knew me before I had an iPod, or have heard me talk about my childhood musical experiences, already know this, but for the record: my sister and I basically grew up aware of fewer than half a dozen musical artists. If it wasn’t Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Pete Seeger or Peter, Paul & Mary, we didn’t hear it. Except maybe at the dentist’s office. Once my dad made a game of racing home from a restaurant against “Desolation Row.”

The one real exception to this was Christmas music. My mom has amassed a pretty good collection of holiday music, ranging from the orchestral to the sing-along. We used to ritualistically play the CDs in a certain order while we put up and decorated the family’s Christmas tree, or while we drove around town looking at Christmas decorations and sipping hot chocolate. My parents were usually heartily sick of the music by the end of the season, but I still remember a lot of it fondly, and love revisiting it every year.

Two of my favorites from this collection include:

Mitch Miller singing “Must Be Santa”, from the Christmas Sing-Along With Mitch cassette.

London Symphony Orchestra’s “Carol of the Bells”, from their Orchestral Christmas album.

Enjoy! Happy holidays!