The Christmas season is wrapping up, and thus another season of buying Christmas vinyl is nearly a wrap (unwrapped?) too. That said, given how long this year has already been, it’s never too late to start filling out your Christmas music section. What better way to keep the positive vibes going than with Santa, Frosty, and Rudolph? Like many of you probably do, I have a growing collection of Christmas music on vinyl. With that in mind, I figured what better time than now to look back on some of my favorite holiday records? If you don’t have these, now is the perfect time to do some shopping so that come next December your holiday collection will be jam-packed with Christmas glee. If you do have some of these, then sit back and bask in the nostalgia while I run through my Top-5 Christmas albums for vinyl lovers!
5) Lou Monte – Merry Christmas from Pepino the Italian Mouse (1978)
I’m from Long Island, New York. Born and raised, and still living here to this day. If any of you grew up on Long Island as well, then you may recall a local radio station called B-103. I can still hear their jingle in my head, “Beeeeeeeeee 1-0-3 LONG ISLAND.” Now, if you remember that, then you probably also recall that just after Thanksgiving, the station would change over from its regular schedule of oldies to nothing but Christmas music all the way through New Year’s Day. I still remember sitting in the back of my Dad’s Chevy Impala, listening to “Dominick The Donkey.” Lou Monte’s Merry Christmas from Pepino the Italian Mouse is essential Christmas listening, as it contains “Dominick the Donkey” and other fun Christmas tunes, all sung in a sort of tongue-in-cheek manner. It’s the kind of record you loved as a kid, then forgot about as an adult. Then one day comes along, and you remember it, and you sit back and wonder how you’ve lived without it for so long. Don’t torture yourself any longer. Get out and find Merry Christmas from Pepino the Italian Mouse today!
4) Soul Christmas (1968)
Do you like R&B and Soul music? If so, then Soul Christmas is most definitely for you. Over the last few years, I’ve started a nice tradition. I open a bottle of wine, drag out all the Christmas decorations from the depths of the closet, and then spend the next several hours unpacking, and slowly decorating my home for the Christmas season. Do any of you do this as well? If not, then give it a try! It’s a wonderful way to ring in the happiest of seasons. Part of my tradition is that I play one Christmas record after the other while I decorate. Over time, I have found that Soul Christmas soundtracks this process better than maybe any other Christmas record I have. The best Christmas albums stay true to tradition, while also at the same time taking things in a new direction. This album finds the perfect middle ground between old and new. Plus, any album that features the likes of Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, and Clarence Carter simply can’t be bad. If you haven’t heard this yet, check it out. You will not be disappointed.
3) Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas (1994)
If you were a kid in the 90s like myself, then you remembered being dragged around JC Penney and Macy’s by your parents, while hearing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” blaring on repeat from the overhead speakers. Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas is a modern-day staple of the holiday season, and a prime example of a seminal pop artist at the height of her powers. The album is laced with gospel and soul-inflected vocals and features a combination of classic Christmas covers, as well as several original compositions. Love it or hate it, this record is an undeniable holiday juggernaut, as it has sold 5.7 million copies in the United States alone, and has been certified platinum 6 times over by the Recording Industry Association of America. Worldwide, it has sold 15 million copies, which for those keeping score, makes it the best-selling Christmas album of all time! All that aside, for us 90’s kids it’s a trip down memory lane, and a way to nostalgically remember a time before Amazon, when we actually had to go out and buy our Christmas gifts in person, while gently being serenaded by Long Island’s very own pop diva, Mariah Carey. There is a super fun version of this album on red vinyl. I highly recommend it during the Christmas season!
2) Christmas with The Chipmunks (1962)
Christmas is a fun time of year. So, what better way to ring in the most wonderful time of year than with an album that’s as fun as it gets in Christmas with The Chipmunks? I didn’t grow up with Alvin and the Chipmunks in their original form, but I did grow up watching the re-runs. I suspect many of you did, too. This album showcases all that’s fun about Christmas. Everything about this record screams Christmas fun. With its vividly colored front cover, which shows Alvin, Simon, and Theodor opening presents too early, while a grouchy Dave watches on, to its cute and carefree versions of Christmas staples sung by our favorite cartoon critters. This is an album that you simply cannot go wrong with. Especially if you have kids, or if you’re just a big kid like myself. If you can’t get your hands on an original copy, recent represses of the album have awesome foil covers which shimmer and shine in the light of your Christmas tree. It’s truly a sight to see.
1) Vince Guaraldi – A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
No list of the best Christmas albums on vinyl would be complete without the absolutely classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. This timeless and jazzy soundtrack to the film of the same name has been at the forefront of nearly every boy and girl’s Christmas morning for the last 55 years. It simply doesn’t matter how old you are, no Christmas is complete without the lovable Peanuts gang singing “Christmas Time Is Here.” It’s incredible to think that just before the release of the original Christmas special, and its accompanying soundtrack, that executives at both CBS and Fantasy records expected to project to be an unmitigated disaster. Boy how wrong they were! The soundtrack was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007, and in 2012 it was added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry list of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” American sound recordings. Want to make Christmas Eve especially memorable this year? Try pairing this record with a delicious cup of warm eggnog, or hot chocolate, and some Christmas sugar cookies. Settle in with your loved ones, and enjoy the timeless and warm sounds of Vince Guaraldi’s indelible Christmas classic. What more is there to say? You need this record. Here’s to you, Charlie Brown!
So, that’s it. Top-5 Favorite Albums on Vinyl For the Christmas Season. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Now all that’s left for you to do is go hunting for all of these records, but don’t stop there! There are dozens upon dozens of fun and interesting Christmas records waiting to be discovered. I hope you all enjoy your post-Christmas vinyl hunting.
A different version of this article (written by myself) originally appeared here: https://enjoytheriderecords.com/blogs/collector-contributions/collector-contributions-christmas-in-july
Dig this article? Check out the full archives of Stories from the Stacks, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/stories-from-the-stacks-archives/