Which Christmas albums did I miss?
Christmas with the Puppini Sisters
I downloaded this album three years ago and it makes me so happy to listen to it every year. A close harmony group from the UK, the Puppini Sisters add something fun and expected to holiday classics you thought would never be new again.
Favorite track: This incredible New Orleans jazz rendition of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas".
A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector
Phil Spector is a homicidal lunatic, but I still don't think that takes away from this amazing collection of talented singers and their renditions of classics.
Favorite track: It's not really Christmas until you've heard the Ronettes sing "Frosty the Snowman", is it?
Jackson 5 Christmas Album
Released in 1970, the Jackson 5 Christmas album is especially joyful and nostalgic because little Michael just melts your heart.
Favorite track: "Give Love on Christmas Day" makes you want to hug the very next person you see, even if he's a complete stranger.
Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas
Ella Fitzgerald blows me away every time with her talent. The great thing about this Christmas album is its range; Ella gives you unbridled cheer on "Jingle Bells" and later is appropriately sombre on "These Three Kings."
Favorite track: The Christmas following my breakup with a serious boyfriend, I would hear her sing "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" and my eyes would well up with tears. There's so much longing in her song, a longing that's a big part of the Christmas season, too.
The Nutcracker Suite
Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's jazz update to The Nutcracker is absolutely incredible, start to finish. I especially love "Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy)", a slow, sexy update to Tchaikovsky's iconic piece.
Christmas on Death Row
Bet you weren't expecting this one! But the hip hop lover in me gets a kick out of thugs showing their sensitive side to celebrate the season.
Favorite track: the Isaac Hayes sample on "Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto" is just perfect.
Christmas with the Rat Pack
Undoubtedly my most-played holiday album, "Christmas with the Rat Pack" is filled with gems from some of the smoothest voices to ever step to a microphone. What is more classic than these three?
Favorite track: Sammy Davis. Jr. swings the hell out of "Jingle Bells".