Ahhh, Christmas is here yet again, and if you are a Celtic music lover, chances are you’ll want to have some good tunes on in the background as you decorate your tree, bake your cookies and open your presents (or whatever it is that you do to celebrate!).
There are so many Celtic Christmas albums out there that I can’t name even a fraction of them, but what I can do is share some that I’ve enjoyed throughout the years. For more information, be sure to tune in to the Celtic Christmas Podcast Marc Gunn offers–you'll hear about many more.
Here are ten CDs to consider giving (or buying for yourself!) for the holidays:
- Christmas in Brobdingnag, Vol 1 by the Brobdingnagian Bards. Five super songs, including classics such as “Little Drummer Boy” and “Carol of the Bells” and a fun one—“Christmas Time in Texas”.
- Shake off the chill and warm up by the fire with Loreena McKennitt’s To Drive the Cold Winter Away. This CD is magical and dreamy in the way that she always makes seem effortless. Lovely.
- If you can’t get enough of the pipes, you’ll love Bradley's Bagpipe Christmas. John Bradley shares renditions of classics such as “Oh Holy Night” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” that make those highland bagpipes sing.
- Prefer the harp? Then Celtic Christmas by Kim Robertson may be your best bet for the season. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” sounds lovely on this instrument, as do the other 16 tracks that were chosen for the CD.
- Sacred by Gypsy Soul is a nice pick for those who long to hear more of a folk/Celtic fusion vibe around the holidays. Experience a different take on tunes like “We Three Kings” and “Silent Night”. You’ve never heard them this way before.
- Want to hear “What Child is This” alongside an Irish reel set? Interested in an interpretation of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” that will stretch your imagination? Celtic Christmas by the Blair Band is for you. With a world music flavor and a long list of holiday songs, this makes for an intriguing addition to the Christmas music lineup.
- Medieval Christmas songs will fill the air with a delightful melody if you give This Endris Night by Heather Dale a listen. Perfect for those who are bored with the traditional holiday songs.
- Holiday piano music by Michael Silverman is the centerpiece of this Best of Celtic Christmas CD, featuring songs such as “Auld Lang Syne,” “Joy to the World” and “Away in a Manger”. There are quite a number of tracks here to enjoy.
- Katie McMahon may sound familiar to some ears—she was the original lead vocalist from Riverdance. Her Celtic Christmas CD offers stunning interpretations of carols and other tunes.
- A classy sounding compilation of Christmas music is found on the Celtic Christmas CD by Rose and Thistle Band. You’ll hear Celtic harp, Scottish smallpipes, violin and viola and other instruments on songs that have a world music appeal.
No matter what style of Christmas music you prefer, you can find something from this list to join you as you celebrate the season. After all, there’s nothing quite like music to make the holidays bright and happy!
Catherine L. Tully specializes in writing about the arts, lifestyle and travel. She is the Owner of 4dancers, a blog for those who love dance, and Editor for Freelance-Zone, an award-winning site for freelance writers. Catherine also reviews music for Celtic MP3s Music Magazine. Find more about Celtic Christmas Music here.