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One of the things I love about Christmas is the music. I never hear those holy sounds throughout the year – but during the Holiday season, it’s in full rotation like a personal soundtrack to that special day – when we celebrate the birth of Christ and x mas sales that fill store windows. While I’m in those stores – eagerly shopping – those classic Christmas hits – massage my ears with feel-good hymns. These are my top five!

1. Vince Guaraldi Trio– A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas is an annual TV classic. It has not diminished over time and the power of its soundtrack is still very relevant. Jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi captures almost every emotion Christmas will inspire, from childhood wonders on skating ice to the sadness that weaves into its seasonal theme song. Usually, people’s preferences for Christmas music tends to be more deeply personal bound memories and family traditions, but the tunes on A Charlie Brown Christmas places everyone beneath its tree skirt with the gift – cause the music is a gift for you and me. It is sophisticated and raw as a grammar school nativity play, but even more captivating.

2.The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album

The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album was recorded as Brian Wilson got hot – he taped around the same time as the groups awesome album The Beach Boys Today! On side one Wilson’s originals stand the test of time and is definitely star studded with diamond cuts: Merry Christmas, Baby and Christmas Day exhibit how great a song writer he was, bringing Christmas to the beach. Even Santa needs a tan!

3. Rotary Connection – Peace

This Christmas album could be listened to throughout the year. Psychedelic soul probably had all the elves tripping on LSD. But the Holiday season and narcotics don’t mix – do they? This collection of songs is packed with adventurous orchestrations; given to us by producer Charles Stepney which includes Hendrix guitar riffs and Minnie Riperton’s classic voice. It’s a 60’s Christmas – yeah baby!

4. Elvis Presley – Elvis’ Christmas Album

The first, and best, of Elvis’s holiday attempts, recorded during Presley’s early, rockabilly years. You must hear the intense, opener, Santa Claus Is Back in Town as evidence of the songs staying power. Surprise, there’s a gospel tune along with a playlist of masterful ballads. His version of I’ll Be Home for Christmas is genuinely heartbreaking. Elvis probably never got coal in his stocking!

5. A LaFace Family Christmas

Baby Face’ s masterful compilation took its place in history by featuring Outkast’s first ever track ever released by the hip hop duo – Player’s Ball. A song about a Christmas day of a harassed drug dealer. It is an undisputable classic hit, Followed by TLC’s All I Want for Christmas and of course Toni Braxton’s diva-ish take on The Christmas Song. A LaFace holiday album? How could you go wrong? Christmas in the A! A – Town where Santa wears those 22s.

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