We all know Elvis loved Christmas. And I bet he would've been happy had he known what his own Christmas music means to a lot of people this time of year. This is how he helps me get in the merry mood:
On December 1 each year, I start listening to my favorite Elvis Christmas album If Every Day Was Like Christmas. Many Christmas compilations with Elvis have come and gone during the years, but this one remains the best. Released in 1994 it includes all the songs from his two original Christmas albums plus a couple of alternate takes.
Speaking of alternate Christmas takes, six more of them were released on the excellent FTD album I Sing All Kinds from 2007. Obviously not being overdubbed in any way, they offer a more intimate Christmas feeling than the masters. This is especially true when it comes to "If I Get Home On Christmas Day" that lacks the bombastic arrangement of the original release. I also have to mention the two outtakes of "I'll Be Home On Christmas Day," the best Elvis Christmas song in my opinion. Essential Christmas listening.
Not so essential, but controversial, is Elvis Presley Christmas Duets released last year. This Christmas I decided to give it a chance (having only heard audio samples of it on the Internet earlier) and actually bought it yesterday, on Christmas Eve. I have to say that Tygrrius over at The Film Frontier expressed it well when he called Christmas Duets "a bit of a jumbled mess" in his review of the CD.
Better then to stick to the original songs. Every Christmas I always play my very first Elvis record. Fittingly enough, it's titled Blue Christmas, and is a RCA LP manufactured in Sweden in 1976. It sports the same cover as Elvis' Christmas Album from 1957 which I admit is both confusing and unimaginative. But it has a pretty good mix of songs taken from Elvis' two oroginal Christmas albums and will always have a special place in my collection.
I guess every fan has his or her way of spending Christmas, Elvis style. How do you spend yours? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!