From pop to punk rock and everything in between, this year’s holiday CDs provide the kind of variety that should please all kinds of music fans (even the office Grinch or that especially difficult person in your family). Now grab a mug of hot chocolate and read along for CCM Magazine’s take on great Christmas listening from the past and present.

What’s New:

1. John Tesh
"Christmas Worship" (Garden City Music)

Holiday Vibe:  When you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of shopping, this praiseworthy CD will once again remind you what the season is really all about.

Tracks to “Fa La La La La” About: The reflective strains of “It Wouldn’t Be Christmas,” the joyous “Coventry Carol” and Tesh’s buoyant vocals on “Carol of the Bells”

Stocking Stuffers:  Included with the CD is last year’s “Christmas Worship” television special filmed in Positano, Italy. Now why weren’t we invited along?


2. Michael English
"A Michael English Christmas" (Curb)
Holiday Vibe:  This album makes you want to sit by the fire and enjoy the company of good friends. Michael English’s voice on these songs is a holiday delight.

Tracks to “Fa La La La La” About:  His spirited take on “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” smooth vocal stylings on “Silent Night” and new songs such as “When the Baby Grew Up” and “That Spirit of Christmas” are highlights.

Stocking Stuffers:  A new rendition of his signature hit, “Mary, Did You Know?”


3. The Blind Boys of Alabama
"Go Tell It on the Mountain" (Real World)

Holiday Vibe:  Oozing with soul. You’d have to be thoroughly exhausted not to be re-energized and moved by the band’s legendary sound on these yuletide favorites.

Tracks to “Fa La La La La” About:  The Boys’ version of Harry Connick Jr.’s original “I Pray on Christmas,” the sweet lullaby feel of “Away in a Manger” and the classic approach to “The Christmas Song.”

Stocking Stuffers:  There are plenty of them with a slew of guest appearances, including Aaron Neville, Robert Randolph, The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde and rocker Tom Waits.


4. Various
"Integrity’s iWorship: A Total Christmas Worship Experience" (Integrity)

Holiday Vibe:  Some of Christian music’s biggest acts collaborate for a project that celebrates Christ’s birth with style and substance.

Tracks to “Fa La La La La” About:  Anything with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is a joy, and Sara Groves’ singing “Breath of Heaven” is nothing short of heavenly indeed.

Stocking Stuffers:  This collection is a two-disc set with plenty of instrumental interludes throughout to keep things interesting.


5. Relient K
"Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Hand" (Gotee)

Holiday Vibe:  For listeners who like their Christmas songs with a tongue-in-cheek lyrical flair and plenty of loud guitars, this CD is a must-have.