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Rounding up listeners' favorite holiday songs and albums


(Singing) Have yourself a merry - oh, sorry. I begin to play holiday music at the crack of dawn Thanksgiving Day - classics - Nat King Cole, Der Bingle, Ella, "Little Drummer Boy," Mariah Carey, BJ Leiderman, who writes our theme music. But this year, we also asked some of our listeners on Twitter to tell us about some of their favorite holiday tunes. First up, Joy West, Charlotte, N.C., with an album that many of us parents have played for our children and then play again mostly for ourselves.


JOY WEST: So my favorite Christmas album is Vince Guaraldi Trio's "Charlie Brown Christmas." It's just classic and timeless and cozy and just transports me back to my childhood living room every time I hear it.


SIMON: Marquis Wideman, Charleston, S.C., says he appreciates hearing the gift of some of his favorite artists who bring out a holiday-themed album. He chose "Merry Christmas Lil' Mama: The Gift That Keeps On Giving" by Chance the Rapper and Jeremih.

MARQUIS WIDEMAN: They just did, like, a bunch of remakes of the classic Christmas songs that I grew up listening to and were very fond of. So I think they executed it pretty well, also. So, I mean, it just put a good spin on, you know, some holiday traditions that I was used to, but also, you know, put in some of my favorite genre into it, which is hip-hop, rap and, you know, a little bit R&B as well.


CHANCE THE RAPPER: (Rapping) The slow tires, the coat buyer, the oh, you shouldn't haver, the Birkin bagger, the gifted rapper. They told me it's the thought that...

CELISA CALACAL: My favorite Christmas album, hands down, is the "Jackson 5 Christmas Album."

SIMON: That's Celisa Calacal from Kansas City, who says she finds a soulful holiday sound to offer the warmth of familiarity and memories.

CALACAL: When I was growing up, this was my dad's favorite Christmas album, and I remember he would play it when we were decorating the tree after Thanksgiving, and he would play it, like, on Christmas Day.


JACKSON 5: (Singing) Santa Claus is coming to town. Santa Claus is coming to town. You better watch out, but you better not cry. You better not pout I'm telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town. Santa Claus is coming to town.

CALACAL: And so on Christmas Day, we all get together at someone's house. And we're Filipino, so we do Christmas, like, the Filipino way, so a lot of Filipino food. We're together pretty much all day. There's games. There's line dancing, which is my favorite.

SIMON: And in Omaha, Neb., Jeff French's album of choice is...

JEFF FRENCH: The Roches, "We Three Kings." What really attracts me to this album is the history that it has with our family. My wife and my two children would pull the crystal case that had The Roches' Christmas album from the back of the shelf and put it in, and that really signaled the start of Christmas for us.

SIMON: Jeff's favorite is a tribute to a New Jersey Christmas.

FRENCH: They do a version of "Winter Wonderland," which has exaggerated New Jersey accents on it. So you might imagine (singing) gone away is the blue-boyd (ph). Here this day is the new boyd (ph).


THE ROCHES: (Singing) ...Is a new bird. He sings a love song as we go along walking in a winter wonderland.

SIMON: Hey, are you singing to me? Show me you guys' favorite Christmas music right here, huh? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.