Monday, December 19, 2011

Nurture Your Family - Holiday Playlist

I'm hosting Christmas Eve this year for the first time and instead of just playing KOST 103.5 in the background (if you live in L.A., you know what I'm talking about), I've been working on putting together a playlist of holiday music I actually WANT to listen to.  Like the mix tapes we used to make, its nice to intersperse the traditional with some instrumental numbers and some fresh takes on classic songs.  No matter what your musical tastes, I hope you can find something here to add to your holiday celebrations.

I'll probably be referencing our October trip to France several more times on this blog, but I couldn't get enough of French music while I was there.  We had dinner twice at the same tiny restaurant not only because of the great food, but the incredible live music.  A Christmas Night in Paris (available on itunes) was released this year and has wonderfully French instrumental versions of many traditional Christmas songs, along with a few French originals, including the crowd pleaser, la vie en rose.  Close your eyes and you'll feel as though you are walking along the Seine on a crisp December night. 

Frank, Dean, and Sammy all get together on Christmas With The Rat Pack, an album that never gets old. Songs like "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" and "Baby Its Cold Outside" transport you back to a Christmas season where men wore fedoras and ladies always had mink stoles and gloves.  This is a classic that everyone should have. I love playing it while I'm baking or wrapping gifts and it always puts us in a holiday state of mind. 

A friend who lives and breathes music recently told me that A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of his favorite holiday albums and I was initially surprised.  But after listening to all the tracks, I understand why.  Although almost all the songs are instrumental, they are upbeat and great background music for a holiday gathering.  And if you grew up watching Charlie Brown like I did, it will remind you of your childhood and add extra warmth and nostalgia to your Christmas. My favorite track is "Christmastime Is Here."

An all female, singer/songwriter album, Hotel Cafe's Winter Songs has both original songs and many holiday classics, all done superbly by people like Fiona Apple, Colbie Caillat, KT Tunstall, and Sara Bareilles.  Each song definitely reflects the artists style and sensibility so you may just want to buy a few tracks, but Fiona's rendition of Frosty the Snowman is a must!

I met Zooey Deschanel in my early 20's when I was working in PR and every time our paths crossed, she couldn't have been more down to earth, sweet, and friendly.  So when she hooked up with country-folk artist M.Ward to form the duo She and Him in 2007, I was excited get my copy of their 2008 debut album, Volume One (which I loved)!  This past October, they released their third album, A Very She and Him Christmas and I immediately scooped it up.  This simple album is joyous and guaranteed to make you smile.  My two favorite tracks are "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "The Christmas Waltz."  

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