I gave most of my holiday recordings to my parents. And the list you’ll find here features Christian and pagan music. I have not received any holiday recordings from other spiritual and religious traditions, but I'm open to recordings featuring music for Kwanza and other religious traditions.
But on this list, I’ve included Corsican polyphony, Nicoise and Provencal polyphony, early music, early colonial music from Latin America, polyphony and carols from the United States (early music), choral music from Eastern Europe, and some unique small ensemble music. Of course you’ll also find a recording of Handel Messiah, which is also featured during Easter season.
I realize that these recordings don’t comprise a comprehensive collection, (Tchaikovsky’s incidental music for the ballet The Nutcracker is missing from this list). However, the loving spirit of all the recordings comes through loud and clear, especially on a good stereo system.
1. Stile Antico, Puer natus est (Tudor Music for Advent and Christmas), Harmonia Mundi
2. Corou De Berra, Christmas Carols from Southern France, Buda Musique
3. Jean-Paul Poletti & The Men’s Choir of Sartene, Messa Sulenna (Corsican chants), Universal France
4. San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble, La Noche Buena (Christmas Music of Colonial Latin America), World Library Publications
5. Polyphony/Britten Sinfonia/Stephen Layton, Handel Messiah, Hyperion (UK)
6. Anonymous 4, The Cherry Tree (Songs, Carols & Ballads for Christmas), Harmonia Mundi
7. The Terra Nova Consort, Renaissance in Provence (folkloric Christmas songs), Dorian Recordings
8. Kitka, Winter Songs, Diaphonica (Holiday Songs from Eastern Europe)
Small Ensembles (mostly instrumental)
1. Rolf Lislevand, Jul I gammel tid (Norwegian), Kirkelig Kulturverksted (KKV)
2. Mathias Eick, Pasha Hanjani & Ertan Tekin, Three Wise Men, KKV
3. Loreena McKennitt, A Midwinter Night’s Dream, Verve
4. Solveig Slettahjell, Little Town of Bethlehem, KKV