You’ve been waiting for oh-so-long, and the snowy season is finally here. But what would Christmas be without the music we love? Join us as we deck the halls with CCM’s 10 merriest albums of the season – with a jolly twist: You’ll experience these magical offerings through the eyes of the artists themselves!


STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN
"All I Really Want for Christmas" (INO)

1.  When you recorded the album, how did you capture the Christmas spirit?

I listened to a lot of Christmas music, and we put some lights up in the studio ... and I gave myself a present every day [laughs]! I did break family tradition to listen to Nat King Cole’s "The Christmas Song," which I don’t listen to until at least the day after Thanksgiving. 

2.  What are you hoping is under your tree this year?

I need absolutely nothing … but recently at the airport, my wife sat in one of those massage chairs that you can find at the mall, so we may get each other a his/hers massage chair – from Mary Beth to Steven, from Steven to Mary Beth!

3.  What five words would you use to describe this record?

Friendly, inviting, familiar, sentimental, vintage.

4.  What are your two favorite songs on the record?

It’s so hard to just pick two! I like all of them.  If I pick two, then I feel guilty because the other songs are yelling, “Pick me! Pick me!”  But I do love “The Night Before Christmas” and the diversion in “Angels From the Realms of Glory” and “All I Really Want for Christmas.” OK, so I picked three!


SANDI PATTY
"Yuletide Joy" (INO
)

1.  When you recorded the album, how did you capture the Christmas spirit?

I turned the thermostat down really low in the studio so it felt like winter!

2.  What are you hoping is under your tree this year?

[I’d like to] share Christmas with one of the evacuee families that have come to our town since the hurricane.

3.  What five words would you use to describe this record?

Joyful, celebration, holiday spirit, thoughtful, thankful.

4.  What are your two favorite songs on the record? 

I love this crazy version of “Jingle Bells,” “Star of Bethlehem” with [my son] Sam singing with me, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”


CAROLYN ARENDS
"Christmas:  An Irrational Season" (Reunion)

1.  When you recorded the album, how did you capture the Christmas spirit?

We had elaborate plans to put up Christmas lights and dust off some fruitcake.  But we … never got around to the décor. Honestly, though, it’s such a gift to get to work with fabulously talented musicians and watch the music come to life; it made every day feel like Christmas to me! 

2.  What are you hoping is under your tree this year?

When my son Ben was four, he made this very cool coaster/pot-warmer thing at preschool featuring his handprint.  It’s still on display in our living room. This year, my daughter Bethany is four, and she’s attending the same preschool. ... I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but a matching set of coaster/pot-warmer things would be awfully nice.

3.  What five words would you use to describe this record?