The list author says: "Christmas is a unique and wonderful time of year, but it can also be a very hectic and stressful season. One excellent way to help yourself slow down and enjoy the holidays is with the right music---and I DON'T mean "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," or any of those other pop monstrosities they play endlessly at the shopping malls to stimulate us to buy, buy, buy...!
No, I mean some nice, peaceful, mostly instrumental music (at least, with no Luciano Pavarottis or Mariah Careys "belting out" the songs) that can maybe help us relax and get into the "Christmas Spirit" of things.
Most of this music is characterized by record companies as "New Age," but rest assured that there are no chakras and crystals---much less sandals and candles, or Patchouli oil---mentioned anywhere on these albums. Enjoy the holidays!
(I've also done a "MORE Relaxing Christmas Music to Ease the Seasonal Stress" list, and a "Windham Hill Christmas/Seasonal CDs" list.)"
"For background music with mostly traditional carols, and beautiful instrumentation, you can't beat Narada's three "Christmas Collection" albums (see my description below of their "Best of Narada Christmas" compilation); there's also a (vocal) "Narada Presents: The Best of Celtic Christmas" album, as well as a "Narada Nutcracker" album."
"Windham Hill produced two of these albums, and then many overlapping compilation albums ("Pure Holiday," "A Windham Hill Christmas," "A Windham Hill Christmas II," "Holiday Guitar Collection," "I’ll Be Home for Christmas," "The Night Before Christmas," “Tis the Season,” Sounds of the Season,” “Winter’s Songs,” etc.) with versions of mostly traditional Christmas songs in the famous "WH style.”"
"There were six original albums, and then a "Reunion" album, a (somewhat strange) "On Ice" album, and the Silver Anniversary edition (see below). "Essential" is an excellent compilation of previous WH tracks, emphasizing the "Christmas carol" songs rather than the purely "seasonal" pieces."
"Less "traditional" than his other Christmas albums, this really IS excellent, downtempo music (I cringe in avoiding the term "smooth jazz") that would be an appropriate "holiday" background in a relaxed lounge atmosphere."
"Not as soothing as "Solstice," David's treatments of traditional carols and some originals are always welcome. There is also a "David Lanz: The Christmas Album" available, with pieces (not all "Christmas" music, however) from several of his albums."
"Jim Brickman usually includes several songs with a pop vocalist on all of his Christmas/holiday albums (see also "Peace," "Homecoming," "Joy," "Christmas Romance," "Hymns & Carols of Christmas"), but his solo piano stylings are usually excellent."
"Don't look for familiar carols in this Windham Hill series, but there's a lot of beautiful Celtic-inspired music (e.g., "Cornphíopa Ciorcalach" by Maire Breatnach on the "Very Best of Celtic Christmas" and "Silver Anniversary" albums) in this series (which includes a II, III, IV, and "Peace on Earth" album, before they start the "recyclings" (e.g., "Celtic Christmas: A Windham Hill Collection”)."
"You can't expect family/friends to just listen to "soft" music when they visit, right? Mannheim Steamroller did some of the best pop/rock Christmas carols. (See "A Fresh Aire Christmas," "Christmas In the Aire," "Christmas Extraordinaire," "Christmas Live," "Christmas Angel," "Christmas Song," and the "Christmas Celebration," "25th Anniversary," and "A Candle Light Christmas" compilations.)"