1) Sufjan Stevens Songs for Christmas and Silver & Gold – For me, the Christmas season doesn’t start until I break out my holiday playlist. I’ll probably end up listening to “All I Want for Christmas Is You” about 100 times between November and January. But always in my rotation are Sufjan Stevens’ Songs for Christmas and Silver & Gold. Between the two albums, Stevens recorded 100 tracks, some original, some traditional. He approaches the carols in a variety of way, covering classic Christmas songs that make them fresh and fun to listen to.
2) Kelly Clarkson Wrapped in Red – Normally when choosing a Christmas album to listen to, I prefer musicians perform covers of Christmas songs I already know. But Wrapped in Red is in a totally different league. Clarkson sings a bunch of really great, original Christmas songs that have the potential to become holiday staples for years to come.
3) Debbie Macomber Dashing Through the Snow – This book is bonkers. I don’t really know what more to say about that other than it involves a young woman trying to get home for the holidays, but also she’s being pursued by FBI agents who think she’s a terrorist. In 2015, the Hallmark Channel made this into a movie. Still kind of bonkers, but in a good way.
4) Truman Capote A Christmas Memory – A nostalgic short story about a man reminiscing about the last Christmas he spent with his cousin. Buddy bonds with his older cousin baking and delivering fruitcakes and they have a wonderful time – a short reprieve from his days spent with indifferent adults. Their story is continued in the sequel, The Thanksgiving Visitor.
5) Christmas in Boston – Honestly, is there anything better during the holidays than settling in for the night to watch a made-for-television Christmas movie? I’ve already covered my top ten Hallmark Christmas movies, so try this one. Aired in 2005 on formerly ABC Family (currently Freeform), Christmas in Boston stars Marla Sokoloff who is finally ready to meet her long time pen pal. Of course, everything goes awry, but things have a way of working out during the holidays.