Christmas Present: Straight No Chaser teams up with Kristen Bell


It’s been said here before: Kristen Bell can do no wrong. This time out, she pops up on a quirky holiday track with the a capella group Straight No Chaser, who has been featured previously on the Christmas Present playlist. Continue reading

Christmas Present: Swedish Chef’s ‘Christmas Smorgasbord’


This year we kick off Christmas Present with a character near and dear to my heart: The Swedish Chef. While most people are familiar with the John Denver/Muppets Christmas album, a more recent one came out in the mid-2000s that expanded the holiday ouerve from the Muppets. Continue reading

Christmas Present: 2 years in review (and Spotify playlist!)


The second Christmas Present season comes to a close today, given today is Christmas day. To give you something to enjoy the holiday, this year I’ve compiled 20 posts of Christmas Present selections (at least what’s available anyway) into a Spotify playlist. Continue reading

Christmas Present: Straight No Chaser’s ‘Wonderful Christmastime’


I began this cycle of Christmas Present with a selection of “Wonderful Christmastime” by The Shins.  Let’s end the cycle with another take.  This time, the artist is Straight No Chaser, which brings Paul McCartney into the mix, giving this edition a nod from the man who originally brought the song to life. Continue reading

Christmas Present: Brandon Heath’s ‘The Night Before Christmas’

Christmas Present

Today’s Christmas Present pick is by a Christian artist with a beautiful voice and a great musical aesthetic, Brandon Heath.  His 2009 original “The Night Before Christmas” has been on my playlist since its release, a song that, while slower on the spectrum, invokes a beautiful mood.

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Christmas Present: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s ‘Mr. Heatmiser’


Today’s Christmas Present entry reaches back almost a decade to 2004, to a fun, nutty and absolutely clever cover of a song featured in the Rankin/Bass classic “A Year Without a Santa Claus.” Continue reading

Christmas Present: Jack’s Mannequin’s “The Lights and Buzz”


For today’s entry, we wind the clock back a few years to a group that, at the time, was billed as a solo side project for an artist from a band (who this year broke up from said “side project,” which had ultimately become a band itself, to record solo). Continue reading

Christmas Present: Leona Lewis’ ‘Christmas with Love’


Leona Lewis, who made waves with “Bleeding Love” a few years back after winning the third season of the U.K. version of “The X Factor,” is back with a new Christmas album thanks to Simon Cowell’s label.  “Christmas With Love” is a serious throwback album, but that’s part of what makes it fun. Continue reading

Christmas Present: Cascada’s ‘Last Christmas’

Christmas Present

Today’s Christmas Present looks at a group that had some success breaking through with dance music in the U.S., Cascada. The group released a Christmas album in 2012 called “It’s Christmas Time” that largely eschews the rhythmic music they’re known for, to mediocre results, but it’s their rendition of “Last Christmas,” recorded during their hey day, that prompts this entry. Continue reading

Christmas Present: Faith Evans’ ‘Christmas Wish’


While reviewing last year’s Christmas Present entries so I could see in which directions to expand the Christmas Present selections, I was surprised to discover I didn’t feature Faith Evans last year. Her Christmas album “A Faithful Christmas” has been on the playlist for a number of years now (the album was released in 2005), and particularly an original track, “Christmas Wish.” Continue reading