My soundtrack for the Christmas season

We are music people.

Ryan, especially, but me and the kids, too. If we’re home, its very likely that there will be music on in the house.

sonos When we moved in to our new house, there were a few weeks where we had no idea where anything was. Our speakers were buried in the mess and it was a happy day when they came out! Adding music made it feel more like home.

We use Sonos throughout the house and couldn’t be happier.

In our old house we had two in the living room and one in the kitchen.

You can just barely see the white speakers on the bookshelves, which is pleasing to my design eye.

In the new house we’re still figuring out where the speakers should go so they are randomly scattered throughout the family room and kitchen. Sonos was having a black friday sale and my darling husband just couldn’t resist getting two more. I didn’t complain :)

Music playing in the house just does something to the mood. Lately, it’s been non-stop Christmas music.

I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite Christmas albums that have been playing on repeat since Thanksgiving.

First up, Christy Nockels’ new Christmas album called The Thrill of Hope.


I listen to her podcast and in the more recent episodes, she has told the story of different songs and it makes listening even more meaningful.

Next is my kids’ favorite: Pentatonix. We have their older Christmas album and bought their new one this year.

pentatonix pentatonixnew

If you are not familiar, Pentatonix is an accapella group that does covers of songs and sound amazing. I especially love their version of Hallelujah and this video is so gorgeous:

I just bought Matt Redman’s new Christmas album, These Christmas Lights


It has a very worshippy feel, which I love.

You all know my love of Lauren Daigle. When I heard she released a new christmas album this fall, I was first in line.


It is moody and jazzy and the perfect music to play in the background at your Christmas parties this year. Have a listen to my favorite song:

And then of course there is the classic of all classics (at least for this child of the 80’s), Amy Grant. All of her records (because they were called records back then). Every single song. I love them all, but especially her first one, A Christmas Album.


Although, this one is a very close second.

Those are my favorites this year. I was surprised at how many new albums came out this fall and I fell hard for each one.

Do you have any favorite songs/artists/albums that play on repeat in your household?

64 Responses to My soundtrack for the Christmas season

  1. Melissa December 11, 2017 at 9:05 pm #

    Check out Newsong “The Song of Christmas” and “Christmas Carol”
    Older songs but love listening to them every year.

  2. Chelsea December 26, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    We are loving our new Sonos speaker! What is your favorite music service to use for it? We have a bunch of music on i-Tunes we’ve purchased over the years and we also have Amazon Music. I’d love to get all my music organized and in one place if you have any suggestions! ;)

    • emily December 27, 2016 at 6:48 pm #

      We use a combination of Spotify, pandora and music i’ve purchased on itunes from my phone. It works great for all of it!

  3. Chelsea December 26, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

    Loving our new Sonos speaker we got for Christmas! What’s your favorite music service to use for it? We have a bunch of music on i-Tunes that we’ve bought over the years and we also have Amazon Music. I’d love to get all my music organized and in one place if you have any suggestions! ;)

  4. Iris December 20, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Hi Emily!
    I will definitely check out your music recommendations!
    My favorite Christmas CDs are:
    – Jon McLaughlin – The Christmas EP
    – Diana Krall – Christmas Songs (my all time favorite!)
    – Martin Moro – Joy (he´s one of the best blues and folk guitarists, check him out, he´s awesome!)
    – James Taylor – J.T. at Christmas
    – Sarah McLachlan – Wintersong and Wonderland

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  5. Susan Lindeman December 13, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

    My new favorite Christmas CD is Francesca Battistelli’s Christmas – love every song!

  6. Tonia December 13, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    The Amy Grant Christmas albums are my absolute favorite (albums to this 80s girl too!). I also love Alabama Christmas, which I seem to play non-stop. Pentatonix is great too! Now I have to go check out those speakers and Lauren Daigle.

  7. Claudia December 13, 2016 at 5:35 am #

    I love Christmas music! We just bought two Sonos speakers this year and we’re absolutely thrilled with them. My husband and I are huge music lovers and almost always have music on in our house, so to have these speakers deliver great sound throughout the house is wonderful. I like how they can be operated individually too. I would like one more in our kitchen since I enjoy listening to French Cafe music while cooking.

    My favorite Pandora Christmas stations are Jazz Holidays Radio, Smooth Jazz Christmas Radio and The Christmas Song Radio.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Emily!

  8. Anna December 12, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

    I love the classics, and my sister and I were for sure running Amy Grant’s first Christmas album on repeat. We’re both still nostalgic for John Denver and the Muppet’s “Christmas Together” record and Burl Ives too! Andy Williams is a huge favorite–so soulful and IMHO the most underrated singer from the 20th century. So much better than Sinatra that everyone seems to default to!

  9. Carol Moon December 12, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

    Thank you so much for this! My family and I have been enjoying a great playlist created on Spotify thanks to you!

  10. Alissa @ the denim door blog December 12, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    Oh my goodness. Another Amy Grant Christmas album-lover. (i feel like there are so few of us!) Tennessee Christmas … Emmanuel, God With Us. LOVE every single song from those two albums.

  11. joey December 11, 2016 at 10:19 pm #

    Love the Christy Nockels (A big Watermark fan from way back), Gungor’s Christmas Album is very good, as is Josh Garrells. Over The Rhine have a couple Christmas albums that have fun originals. My favorite from years past: David Crowder Band, Leigh Nash, Relient K, and of course Mr. Christmas – Harry Connick Jr.,

  12. candy December 11, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

    I also love Harry Connick Jr’s holiday albums. And I’m a little embarrassed to admit that Justin Biebers christmas music gets played around here too :)

    • emily December 12, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

      Do Not be embarrassed about Justin Bieber. I adore him. Especially his Drummer Boy rendition :)

  13. RubberChickenGirl December 11, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

    Must have Jewel’s Joy: A Holiday Collection. So so so good.


  14. Holly December 10, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    The Popcast recommended Penny & Sparrow’s Christmas album and that’s ALL I’ve been listening to this year!

  15. Laura December 10, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    This TN girl was dumbfounded when she moved to NC for seminary and learned that her roommate didn’t know Amy Grant’s Tennessee Christmas song. I mean, who doesn’t know and love that song? Apparently it isn’t played in repeat outside of TN. :-)

    I also enjoy…
    “Behold the Lamb” by Andrew Peterson
    THIS IS A MUST HAVE! It’s designed to listen from start to finish, but is also great when you listen to it shuffles. Once I got to attend His Behold the Lamb Tour and it was so incredible. Genuine worship. Please, PLEASE get this.

    “Oh for Joy” by David Crowder Band
    Crowder has been a longtime favorite of mine so it was a dream come true when they released this.

    “The Living Room Sessions – Christmas” by Chris Rcei
    The original “The Living Room Sessions” is also a fabulous find. Both are without lyrics and great background music.
    He has another album “Merry Chris Rice,” but so don’t have it…yet.

    (Those are probably to 3, plus Amy Grant)

    “A Very She & Him Christmas” by She & Him
    The have a new Christmas album out I don’t have…yet. She in “She & Him” is Zoey Deschenal from the show “New Girl” and “Elf.”

    “Deck the Halls Bruise Your Hand” by Relient K

    “Campfire Christmas” by Rend Collective

    “Ella Wishes You A Rockin’ Christmas” by Ella Fitzgerald

    “Christmas…from the realms of glory” by Bebo Norman

    “Christmas Songs” by Diana Krall

    “A Very Merry Christmas” by Dave Barnes

    “Christmas is Here” by Brandon Heath

    “Over the Hills and Everywhere” by Seabird

    Some individual favorite songs:
    “Hope is Alive” single by Elli Holcomb
    “Adore” by Chris Tomlin
    “How Many King” by Downhere
    “A Hallelujah Christmas” by Cloverton

    And to wrap up my “I got carried away/out of control” list:
    I LOVE on Pandora the Folk Angel Holiday channel. I don’t have any of their albums…yet. My favorite local home interiors store played this channel last year and introduced me to it that way.

    • Julie Garst December 10, 2016 at 9:03 pm #

      I have to agree on Behold the Lamb of God. Absolutely my favorite Christmas album ever! And the concert is phenomenal. We were lucky enough to see it at the Roman a few years ago. So, so good!

  16. Bethany December 10, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    Lauren Daigle’s album is great and Amy Grant basically equals Christmas to me;) She released a new Christmas album this year…it’s nice but I’d rather stick to her older albums! You might enjoy JJ Heller’s new Christmas album, Unto Us. It is so so good and a great blend of traditional songs and more thoughtful, true meaning of Christmas songs!

  17. Donna December 10, 2016 at 8:09 am #

    I love Chris Young’s ‘It Must Be Christmas’–includes a cut with Boys2Men and one of my new favorites ‘Under The Weather’!

  18. Julie December 10, 2016 at 8:06 am #

    JJ Heller has a new Christmas album out…it feels a little like that Amy grant album…I bet you would like it!


  19. Julie Stuber December 10, 2016 at 8:05 am #

    JJ Heller has a new Christmas album out…it feels a little like that Amy grant album…I bet you would like it!

  20. Jennifer Bluhm December 10, 2016 at 6:17 am #

    For a jazzy spin on Christmas, I listen to I Heart Radio’s “Christmas Jazz” station. It’s sprinkled with classic versions of my favorite songs but has so many wonderful smooth jazz arrangements as well.

  21. Charmaine Ng December 10, 2016 at 2:35 am #

    I love Pentatonix too!

    – Charmaine

  22. Jocelyn December 10, 2016 at 2:21 am #

    Behold the Lamb by Andrew Peterson. It’s an album of original songs about Old Testament prophecy that ends up at the birth of Jesus. The theology is rich. Andrew Peterson is a storyteller and a brilliant one, at that.

  23. Kelly December 10, 2016 at 12:27 am #

    Crystal Lewis is my favorite to have on repeat. She has a great Christmas album, but my favorite album of hers is Fearless.

  24. Kimberly Oyler December 9, 2016 at 11:51 pm #

    tender tennessee christmas is where its at.

  25. Judi Johnson December 9, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

    Pentatonix is my favorite musical group also. I get goose bumps every time I watch this video. Good to know there are others who love them as much as I do. I even got to see them perform this year

  26. Cathy S December 9, 2016 at 9:49 pm #

    Mannheim steamroller any and all albums! Jose Feleciano Feliz Navidad! And love Amy Grant….love just about any and all Christmas ? music!

  27. Michelle December 9, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

    Michael Buble. I could listen to him on repeat all day long.

  28. joanne December 9, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

    Thank you for including Amy Grant! I love her first album and pretty much wore out my cassette tape.I am pretty sure my kids felt tortured growing up in the 90’s listening to Tennessee Christmas over and over again. I miss that cassette but I do love her Home for Christmas CD which I love!

  29. Lisa December 9, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

    Pentatonix is a favorite in our home as well. I also love NEEDTOBREATHE’s Go Tell it on the Mountain. Merry Christmas!

  30. Laine Alves December 9, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

    My kids love the new Bethel Kids Christmas EP- Drummer Boy is their favorite- they have an incredible kids video that goes with it too…and they (we- I just blame it on them) love the Justin Bieber album…your list is perfect…I’ve got a bunch of those on repeat for sure during this holiday season…

  31. Kathryn December 9, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

    Hi Emily!! Love your playlist for Christmas! Now we need a tutorial on how to use Sonos in the home please.

    • emily December 10, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

      Ha! They are pretty easy to set up – or at least that’s what Ryan says :)

  32. LauraC December 9, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

    LOVE that you love Amy Grant! Yes, grew up listening to her and MWS and Twila Paris . . . Love the oldies ;-)

  33. Mandy December 9, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

    Oh I love when I see other people love Lauren ☺️ She’s from my home church and we sang on the worship team together…she’s is so down to earth and the sweetest.

  34. Lindsey December 9, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

    Josh Groban’s I’ll be Home for Christmas (with deployed troops wishing their families Merry christmas) came out the year my husband was deployed… it is beautiful and was so areal to us! Bing Crosby – White Christmas…. and Harry Connick Jr – When My Heart Finds Christmas album… 3 of my favorites!!

  35. Megan Mattinson December 9, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    Yay!! Thanks for the recommendations! I love Christmas music that breaks out of the standard Santa Claus is Coming to Town rut but I don’t have much time to research music. Also, ever since you recommended that Bieber song I’ve been listening to it nonstop. ?

  36. Melissa December 9, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    My husband is a stanch, “not until after Thanksgiving Day” Christmas music listener. I, on the other hand, confess I’ve snuck it in more than a few times while he’s at work ;) My absolute favorite this year is JJ Heller’s UNTO US, her first Christmas album. I am completely smitten.

  37. Mary Borgsmiller December 9, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned Sarah MacLoachlin sp? Wintersong. I love that one but I put it on repeat so much my family groans when they come in the house. We love all the amy grant ones also. Glad to see some new ones I need to try. Also gotta have some James Taylor!

  38. Angela December 9, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    We also love Pentatonix and listening to Amy Grant at Christmastime is tradition {Her version of My Grownup Christmas List is still my favorite}. Check out Folk Angel. It’s one on my favorites. They come out with a Christmas album each year and Folk Angel and Friends is my favorite album.

  39. Jennifer December 9, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    One of my family’s favorites is Straight no Chaser Christmas album. SNC is a all mens accopella group. They might have a couple albums and they are all good. There are some cheeky songs on there too that the kids think are soooooo funny. Check them out !!!

  40. Karla December 9, 2016 at 11:21 am #

    Pentatonix has their own Christmas special airing on NBC next week!

  41. Tamara December 9, 2016 at 11:17 am #

    Folk angel is on repeat on our house!

  42. Deborah December 9, 2016 at 11:09 am #


    Thanks for all the great suggestions, I’ve put a couple of these on my shopping list.

    As a proud Canadian I would love it if you had a moment to listen to Sarah McLachlan’s Wonderland album.

    She has a beautiful voice and her rendition of “Let it Snow” is one of the nicest I’ve heard in a long time.

    Enjoy your holiday season and again thanks for the suggestions.


  43. Theresa December 9, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    Merry Christmas, Emily! My favorite for this year has been Brett Eldredge’s “Glow”. The whole album is incredible. Brett is a country artist, but the album is filled with Sinatra-esque classics that just say “classic Christmas” to me.

  44. Megan December 9, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    A also love Christy Nockels podcast and have been meaning to get her Christmas album. Thanks for the reminder! Michael Buble’s Christmas album is my favorite for the holidays. It’s on constantly in our home this time of year.


  45. Jess December 9, 2016 at 10:59 am #

    I’ve been looking for new Christmas music to listen to so I love this post! My favorite Christmas music is from Michael Buble and Bing Crosby. So classic. She And Him have a good Christmas album too.

  46. Tenda T December 9, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    We’ve added Jordan Smith (‘Tis the Season) to our collection this year. We discovered him at the Amy Grant/Michael W Smith concert–he won The Voice last year. He has a high tenor voice, very expressive.

    We also have all of the Straight No Chaser albums–you may have heard their fun 12 Days of Christmas version on the radio. It’s a male a cappella group, so Pentatonix fans should check them out.

    Mannheim Steamroller also is great, Josh Groban…so many wonderful choices out there!

  47. Liz December 9, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    If you’re in the mood for some swing, check out Denver and the Mile High orchestra. Their song Born Tonight is one of my Christmas faves. Also Audrey Assad’s Winter Snow. Stop what you’re doing right now and listen to that one!!

  48. Sarah December 9, 2016 at 10:49 am #

    Lauren Daigle and Chris Tomlin’s song “Noel” is absolutely amazing! And I LOVE Josh Groban’s “Little Drummer Boy”. The words to both these songs are so powerful. Best listened to LOUD! :)

  49. Tamie December 9, 2016 at 10:44 am #

    I love to throw some Motown Christmas in our mix!

  50. Bethany H December 9, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    I used to think I was one of few Amy Grant fans but you’re the second person this week who has told me you love her Christmas albums so I guess she is a favorite for lots of people! I got to see her in concert in Cincinnati when I was in high school, before she did her Christmas music so your post brought back good memories!

  51. Bev December 9, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    Love all your music picks! We are going to see Lauren Daigle tomorrow night!! (along with King & Country!) She is my daughter’s favorite.

  52. Kim December 9, 2016 at 10:36 am #

    I’m listening to A Thrill Of Hope everyday! And not tired of it. I smiled to see the classic Amy Grant in your collection, because that is our tree-decorating soundtrack every year. Tennessee Christmas comes on when the ornaments come out. It’s not new, but I also still love Avalon’s version on Jesus Born on this Day. I’m so glad to have these other suggestions.

  53. Polly December 9, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Our taste in Christmas music is identical. Amy Grant’s Christmas music is as sacred to me as the Christmas hymns we sung in church growing up. (I’m slightly more a child of the 70s, but Amy Grant became a permanent part of my life in college in the early 80s.) I love incorporating amazing new Christmas music, but it never replaces my favorites. My husband is also a Sonos junkie and we have speakers in every room! I’m happy to see you haven’t put Advent on hold in the midst of your move. It would be so easy to do!

  54. Jennifer December 9, 2016 at 10:24 am #

    Oh my goodness you just made my Christmas-music-loving-heart’s day with these suggestions.

    4 Things:
    1. Congrats on the new house!!! Very excited to see your style in a new space. :)
    2. Amy Grant, yes!
    3. I may have some explaining to do come January with my itunes bill ha!
    4. Now I need to amend my Christmas list to include speakers…oy

    Thanks for always having such great blog posts and Merry Christmas!!!

  55. Emily December 9, 2016 at 8:49 am #

    JJ Heller has a new album, “Unto Us,” out this year and it’s fabulous! http://jjheller.com/music/

  56. karen sunday December 9, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    I am so excited to see your new house watching the magic happen is just the best! My favorite part of Christmas is the music it makes the season so beautiful,1. Mary did you know(Kenny Rodgers and Wynonna) 2.Marshmallow world (dean martin)3.Frank Sinatra (jingle bells)4. Nat King Cole(happiest Christmas tree) 5. Louis Armstrong (cool yule)6.Whitney Houston (one wish). Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.

    • Noelle December 13, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

      I love the CeeLo(sp?) Green rendition of Mary Did you Know? That just breaks me down, it’s so gorgeous. I’m going to try this one though now. thanks N

  57. Callie December 9, 2016 at 7:25 am #

    Check out Folk Angel! Their version of Joy to the World is family favorite in our house!

  58. Jill T. December 9, 2016 at 7:16 am #

    We LOVE Pentatonix at my house too!!! And Amy Grant – such a true classic. You can never go wrong with that!

    Happiest of Holidays to you and your family!!!!!!

  59. Marie-Maguelone December 9, 2016 at 6:42 am #

    Hi Emily
    Thank you for this discovery!! I love Pentatonix !! It is very good!!
    Happy Christmas to you and your loved ones,
    Carole allias Marie-Maguelone

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