Really, I hate almost all Christmas music. Go ahead and call me Scrooge (I'm not offended) because I'm generally a grump about holiday things. After working in retail for 5 years (various coffee establishments) Christmas music (and Bob Marley) looses all appeal and excitement after working two 7 hour shifts, the week of Thanksgiving, your first year in retail. If I never hear a "Little Drummer Boy" cover for the rest of my life I'd feel content. Theoretically I like Christmas, the idea of Christmas, and actually, I like winter which I think of as a separate entity from Christmas, from "The Holidays". In practice, I tend to think that the holidays bring out the worst in people (I'm sorry, but sometimes my glass is half empty).
Where is all this going you ask? My remedies to make the best of things include: hand-making gifts, ornaments, food, etc. (crafty/creative outlet), avoiding malls at all possible costs, (this year) sight seeing in New York City (because not even a scrooge like me can deny the magic of the burrows at holiday time), and listening to good tunes (because there is much music at home).
Here are my picks for holiday (but mostly winter) music that you can actually stand (and may even like):
Songs For Christmas--Sufjan Stevens. Songs so traditional they're new, favorites, originals + the soft goodness of Mr. Stevens' vocal abilities.
One More Drifter In The Snow--Aimee Mann. So sultry, smokey, and understated you'll forget to hate it + the best cover of "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch" you'll ever hear.
The Very Best of Nat King Cole--Nat King Cole. He doesn't need to sing of chestnuts roasting for the velvety, crisp tenor of Mr. Cole to make staying warm inside (playing chess and drinking mint tea) *that* much cozier.
"A Charlie Brown Christmas"--The Vince Guaraldi Trio. It's jazzy goodness is so good it's good out of context (that is, away from Christmas) like when 2 of the tracks including "Christmastime is Here" are featured in Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums.
"Criss-Cross"--Thelonious Monk. Or any of Mr. Monk's albums actually... and you should keep this one going year round, and you should probably take me seriously this time.
(Sorry for the excessive amount of parenthetical statements.)