For obvious reasons, Christian artists take the Christmas season more seriously than their mainstream counterparts, which is why you'll find a relatively higher percentage of new Christian holiday albums year after year. Christmas music this year has been somewhat downplayed in the industry, many of the albums releasing a little later than typical, and few of them recorded by a single big name. Nevertheless, we've uncovered 12 new recordings to celebrate Christ's birth with—one for each day of the Christmas season.

Carolyn Arends | Denver & The Mile High Orchestra
Peder Eide | Kim Hill | George Huff | The Katinas
Russ Lee | Erin O'Donnell | Andrew Peterson
Trans-Siberian Orchestra | Absolute Favorite Christmas | Gloria

Carolyn Arends

Christmas: An Irrational Season (2B Records)
Acoustic pop and folk

Since the mid-1990s, Carolyn Arends' pastor has asked her to write a new Christmas song for their church every year, and her annual Christmas concerts have become increasingly popular with audiences. So it was only inevitable that the singer/songwriter released a full-length album, which takes its name from a Madeline L'Engle poem. Seasonal gems include "The Lord's Servant," offering depth while looking at the role of faith during the first Christmas night and present day. Similarly, "Do Not Be Afraid" (from 2001's Travelers) beautifully depicts the Annunciation from Mary's perspective. Still, the songs don't offer much insight into the "irrational season" notion—that the Christmas story flies in the face of reason. Nor does the style vary enough, and the few carol covers aren't unique. But Arends' warm and pleasant acoustic pop sound is a good match for Christmas—especially for fans of Amy Grant's holiday albums. Not ...

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