Christmas Music to Write By

For the month of December, my posts will all be Christmas-themed, just to be festive (or annoying, depending on your point of view). You can love it or hate it, celebrate it with joy or celebrate a different winter-time festival—but either way, Christmas is here and so is its impact on our culture. So I figured it would be appropriate if my blog reflected that.

I did a post a few months ago about Music to Write By – music that inspires me and that is my choice listening material when I want to get into writing mode. At Christmas time it’s no different.

Usually, listening to Christmas music gets me into a mode to write something Christmas-y, which may or may not be appropriate to whatever I’m actually working on at that time. But I do have a few (or rather, a lot) of Christmas songs that inspire me to write in general. So here are a few tracks and the reasons that I use them as music to write by:

In the Bleak Midwinter – by Loreena McKennitt

Canadian musician Loreena McKennitt is one of my favorite singers to begin with, and I love her Christmas music as much as I love her non-seasonal stuff. This track in particular is good writing music mostly because it’s instrumental—I can’t actively write if there’s a song with words playing. But whether I’m listening and brainstorming or listening and writing, this elegant rendition of a classic Christmas carol is simple and beautiful.


Adam Lay Ibounden – by The Mediæval Bæbes

I don’t know if this technically a Christmas song, but I’ve heard it performed at Advent services leading up to Christmas. There’s nothing like a 15th century Middle English song with a hurdy gurdy whining in the background to get my creative juices going. In my current WIP, the fantasy world the characters travel to is very primitive, especially musically. Simple tunes sung with straight tones is very appropriate to get me into medieval-ish fantasy world mode.


Af álfum – by Frostrósir

I’ve got to put a non-English song in this list, of course (Old and Middle English don’t count). The Icelandic Christmas group/concert called Frostrósir (Frostroses) puts on a spectacular live show (in Iceland, of course), with a different cast and selection of songs every year. “Af álfum” (Of Elves) is a fun song that always makes me smile and perks up my mood if I’m down. I have trouble writing if I’m grumpy, so this song is a good pick-me-up.


The Lost Christmas Eve – by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian is Christmas music. Like a lot of their songs, it captures the magic and the mystery of Christmas, both in the music itself and in the lyrics. If I could write lyrics half this good, I could be a great poet or songwriter.


Does anyone out there have a playlist of Christmas songs for their writing?


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