Every year when I put together these lists of Christmas and holiday-related kids music, I walk the fine line between trying get this up early enough to be of use and late enough to be of use. What I mean by that is, if I publish on, say, November 28th, people complain it's too early and I'll have about 3 songs or albums from some very planning-oriented musicians. And if I wait for December 23rd to make sure I get all the music included, everybody's just about sick of Christmas music and Hanukkah might already be done for.
So I'm trying to hit a sweet spot here. I'll update it as necessary, but hopefully too many musicians aren't thinking, less than 2 weeks before Christmas, that maybe they should try to record something.
Let's start with the most vigorous holiday supporter of 2017, Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could, who released not only Revvin' Up the Reindeer, but also videos for most of the songs on the album. I already showed you the bright, energetic video for "New Accordions," but there are many more. The album itself finds the band successfully translating its good-natured roots-rock into a celebration of holidays and families -- Revvin' Up the Reindeer is not an album with which the family snuggles into a cozy, quiet night by the fire. It's a solid album of Christmas originals (with some Hanukkah and general holiday originals) that I think will hold up for many winter seasons to come.
Anyway, go to Rymer's YouTube channel for the full video playlist. I'm partial to "It's Christmastime," but it's more than 20 minutes (and counting) of good stuff.
Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could - "It's Christmastime" [YouTube]
In addition to Brady, Charlie Hope has also just released a holiday album, Sing a Festive Song!, inspired by Hope's various international excursions over the past year so. It was released less than a week ago, so it's still making its way to the standard digital outlets (with physical versions to come, I think). Hope's album is in many ways the opposite of Rymer's in approach, if not quality -- it's almost entirely composed of traditional Christmas and holiday tunes, is a little more simply arranged, and is much more snuggly than Rymer's eggnog-party album. Not better (or worse), just a different mood.
Charlie Hope - "Sing a Festive Song" playlist [YouTube]
David Brodie - December 24th (One Night) [YouTube]
Lard Dog and the Band of Shy - "Christmas Time Is a Wonderful Time" [Lard Dog website] -- free download through the end of the month!
Moving on then to Hanukkah -- we're only 25% through as I type this, here are a couple newly-released tracks/videos (in addition to the Hanukkah tracks on both Brady Rymer's and Charlie Hope's albums).
Rocknoceros - "Hanukkah" [YouTube] [Warning: involves Hebrew calendar math.]
Finally, there are three kid-friendly podcasts featuring holiday audio. There's "Christmas Is Coming," from Pinna. Much of Pinna's content is behind a paywall (it's Panoply's attempt at creating a walled-garden environment for kids' podcasting), but this podcast is free, and features a new episode every day through December 24th. It's a serial adventure featuring everyone's favorite delivery guy, Santa Claus.
And for those of you looking for more variety in your Christmas/holiday listening rather than a single serial, I'd highly recommend Sparkle Stories this month. Normally they release just one story a week for free (the subscription service features hundreds of wonderful stories), but they're doing one a day through Christmas, and so this is a great opportunity to hear both some original stories as well as some traditional (public domain) stories that we don't often hear from Sparkle Stories. Well worth your time if you're a fan, or intrigued about the podcast.
Links to prior-year compilations: