Holiday Music from Around the World


December 10, 2020

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i'm cassandra marcella

So, this is the week of Christmas. And well, it’s 2020, so I bet your holidays look a little different than they normally do. I moved last week, so my holidays are completely reinvented this year.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A. H. H. (1850) Section 106

One way to evoke times of Christmas past is to play the soundtracks of your Christmas past. Music evokes memories. And that can be comforting. And so here I offer 4 soundtracks for you – including one that features fabulous carols and holiday music from around the world.

If you’re grieving, as so many of us are, memories can be painful. My mom died at the end of November fourteen years ago, and for many years, I just buried my head as best I could from Halloween until New Years Day. I hated the soundtracks of the holidays because it made me miss her more. I couldn’t walk into a drug store in November or December without bursting into tears. Ironically, she wanted to die before Christmas because she didn’t want to “ruin” Christmas for us.

And my dad died this past March just as the pandemic was shutting everything down in mid-March – on my 54th birthday, in fact. I think of him every day.

So yes, this time can magnify feelings of loss. The start of a new year can also bring a time of reckoning of all that did not get done, of all the hopes dashed, of all the life events cancelled or curtailed.

For me, Christmas and my birthday are two days that will always bring my mother and father to mind; they are both days of birth and hope. My parents waited and wanted me for six years before I arrived – unable to get pregnant until I “broke the dam.” (Three sisters followed in quick succession). While packing I found a letter my mom wrote me where she shared how much my arrival meant to my parents, which was lovely to encounter again.

I try to focus on the message of renewal. I offer you these soundtracks to soothe your soul. They are each very different. And if music is too painful, then here’s a poem from Alfred, Lord Tennyson, which I found comforting too.

Merry Christmas to you!

World Christmas

With songs from France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, the Cape Verde Islands and more, let this soundtrack transport you around the world to celebrate the newness and hope of this holiday season! Also featuring some great tracks from the marvel that is Pink Martini!


Cozy, Jazzy, Sexy Holidays

A playlist to uplift and inspire a jazzy, sexy holiday spirit! This assembly features classic jazz artists such as Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker as well as contemporary jazz artists like Diana Krall, Jane Monheit and Harry Connick Jr. Fire this playlist up, pour your festive cosmo and relax into the season!


Christmas Hymns

This soundtrack of traditional Christmas hymns features contemporary pop artists including Mariah Carey, Sting and Michael Bublé as well as many popular singers of the 20th century such as Andy Williams, Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole. And Dolly Parton!


Classical Christmas

A collection of classical Christmas melodies and songs to uplift your spirit. These stunning, soothing carols will provide solace for your soul during this Christmas. So many are grieving losses, and these sounds will speak right to your heart.


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