Tag Archives: Christmas music

Creative Juice #222

Creative Juice #222

Merry Christmas! May God’s Love indwell you today and always.

  1. Beautiful (and humorous) embroideries.
  2. Zentangle + pottery.
  3. A quilter grows through the years.
  4. An Andy Warhol exhibit from two years ago. I missed this article when it was first posted, but I was happy to come across it now.
  5. The story behind Handel’s Messiah.
  6. I love libraries. Here are how some decorated for Christmas.
  7. The story behind “Silent Night.”
  8. A quilter photographs her many quilts.
  9. The prettiest Christmas cookies I’ve ever seen.
  10. Verdigogh always looks so Christmasy to me. Here’s how several artists interpreted it.
  11. This blog definitely gets the best reader comments. You guys are all going to have to step it up on ARHtistic License. (Let that be one of your New Year resolutions.)
  12. This might be too late for you, so you might want to bookmark it for next year: how to sew gift bags.

Creative Juice #221

Creative Juice #221

Only one more week till Christmas.

Hallelujah, Handbells!


One of the things I miss most during this pandemic is the opportunity to play in my church’s handbell choir, Ringing Praise. I love the camaraderie with my fellow ringers (they are the nicest people). The sound of bells lifts my heart, especially at Christmastime. I’ve put together a little virtual concert of Christmas music. (And if this is not enough for you, you can listen to the handbell post I put together last December.)

Joy to the World:

Solo: Angels We Have Heard on High:

Coventry Carol:

All I Want For Christmas Is You:

Sing We Now of Christmas:

Christmas Fanfare:

Fum, Fum, Fum:

A Midnight Clear: A Christmas Nocturne:

We Three Kings:

The Bell Daze of Christmas:

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer:

Silent Night:

Iconic Christmas Music


For your listening pleasure during this holiday season, here are some of the best ever performances of some of the best ever Christmas music. I hope you will bookmark this article and listen to a little bit every day this month.

I was introduced to Handel’s Messiah when I was in high school. It was a tradition for our premier chorus, the Tower Singers, to sing the Hallelujah Chorus, along with all chorus alumnae, at the annual winter holiday concert. I go to live performances of Messiah whenever I can. (Not this year, of course.)

Another favorite for Christmas is The Nutcracker Ballet. We went as a family several times when our children were young.

When I attended Duquesne University, our Music School Chorus performed Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata. I still get chills when I hear it.

Benjamin Britten wrote this lovely Ceremony of Carols:

J.S. Bach Christmas Oratorio:

Here is just one small portion of Hector Berlioz’ L’Enfance du Christ:

British composer John Rutter has written many carols. You may want to visit this playlist from his Christmas Album.

Edward Elgar, best known for “Pomp and Circumstance,”played at graduations, also wrote this beautiful “A Christmas Greeting”:

Camille Saint-Saëns wrote this Oratorio de Noël:

Creative Juice #214

Creative Juice #214

Interesting ideas.

Video of the Week #179: Love Has Come


I never heard this lovely carol to the tune of “Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella” before last year.

Favorite Songs of the Season

Favorite Songs of the Season

You know those $5 bins of CDs they have at Walmart? I always take a peek in the Christmas bin in case there’s a gem in there I don’t have yet.

This year I treated myself to Sarah McLachlin’s The Classic Christmas Album, and I am obsessed with it. I’ve listened to it every day since mid-November. It is so good, and it is not your typical Christmas album, though there are many classics on it. It’s her more unusual choices that blow me away. Her version of Prayer of St. Francis moves me to tears, as does her rendition of River, Joni Mitchell’s haunting and depressing winter song (can’t really call it a Christmas song).


I’ve written about my favorite Christmas CDs before, and I don’t want to repeat, but there are a couple I could add to the list, as well as the Sarah McLachlan one.

About 20 years ago I was wandering around the mall at Christmas time (Remember malls? That same mall is dead now. Sigh.) and a gift store was beautifully decorated for the holidays, and the most beautiful music was playing—hammered dulcimer, mandolin, fiddle, recorder, harp. I commented on it, and the salesperson showed me the CD they were playing, which I promptly bought: Colonial Holiday. My husband spins wool into yarn on a spinning wheel, and he likes to spin with this CD playing.


Speaking of instruments you don’t hear every day, how about handbells? The Magic of the Bells was recorded in 1996 by the French ringers known as Les Sonneurs. It contains some carols and other stuff, like a couple of Lennon/McCartney songs.


And, yes, this is repeating, but I absolutely love Mary, Did You Know from Pentatonix’s That’s Christmas to Me:

I used to be an elementary general music teacher, and every year we would have a winter concert, and I would cram in as many Kwanzaa, Channukah, winter and generic holiday songs, and Christmas carols as I could. My ten most favorite carols (most going back to my own childhood) are:

  1. O Holy Night (I had a Jewish principal who requested it every year. “Can we do the one that goes, ‘Fall on your knees…?’”)
  2. Breath of Heaven
  3. I Saw Three Ships
  4. O Come, O Come Emmanuel (technically an Advent song)
  5. Carol of the Bells
  6. Coventry Carol
  7. We Three Kings
  8. Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
  9. Joy to the World (technically a Second Coming song)
  10. Silent Night

What about you? Is there special music you like to listen to (or sing) during the holidays? What are your favorite carols? Share in the comments below.

Caroling, Caroling

Caroling, Caroling

The first time I ever went caroling was as a Brownie Scout in 1960. Armed with our carol booklets, provided by the John Hancock Life Insurance Company, we went to the homes of people in the community who had chronic illnesses. We sang Here We Come A-Wassailing and O Come, All Ye Faithful and finished up with Silent Night, our shivering bodies crowded together on the front porches of each house along our route. After serenading half a dozen families, we returned to our Scout meeting room for hot cocoa (spiked with candy canes) and home-baked cookies.

Photo by The Wu's Photo Land

Photo by The Wu’s Photo Land

For the rest of my childhood and high school and college years, going caroling was, if not annual, at least often a part of my Christmas season. And groups of carolers occasionally came to sing on our front porch.

Alas, not all of my contemporaries partook of this tradition.

When Greg and I had been married for a year or two, he bought me a Wurlitzer electronic piano that fit in our tiny living room and could be easily transported. Planning to spend Christmas Day with my in-laws, I insisted we bring the piano along, so we could all sing carols together.

What a bomb. My husband’s family would rather stick needles in their eyes than sing around the piano. They were quite content to let me play while they conversed. I felt like a lounge musician.

Many years later, our doorbell rang one December afternoon, and when Greg answered the door, carolers burst into song. Greg shut the door on them, causing me to feel mortified. “Hey, they were trying to walk into the house,” he said. (It turned out they were my neighbor’s out-of-town relatives, who thought it would be fun to serenade the cul-de-sac.)


Photo by Mike Renlund.

These days, my caroling cravings are satisfied at Christmas carol services at church, but I long for the olden days when going door-to-door was common.

Do you go caroling? Do you have any caroling memories? What are your favorite carols? Share in the comments below.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Merry Christmas!

I’m sure you have a busy day today, celebrating the Lord’s birth with family and friends (or maybe not).

So, rather than burden you with a lengthy article about the season, I’d like to just share some music. Sit back, relax, enjoy.

My favorite acapella group:

My favorite scene from my favorite Christmas movie:

I dare you to watch this without your eyes tearing up:


Old favorite in a new way:

Everybody’s favorite singing chickens:

No collection of Christmas music would be complete without:


And for your New Year’s Eve pleasure, another Zooey Deschanel duet:

Breath of Heaven


Thank you, Donna, for this guest post. Donna shares something beautiful every day on her blog. Check it out!


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