CLEVELAND - It's likely that many of your favorite performers have already released an album full of classic Christmas songs. Even Twisted Sister and Judas Priest's Rob Halford have joined the Christmas club in recent years.
Some releases are welcome and put a great spin on some old Christmas classics. But other releases are best left alone.
Here is a small sampling of 2012 Christmas releases from a wide variety performers. Be forewarned: You may want to sing along. You may also want to run the other way.
Rocker Rod Stewart released "Merry Christmas Baby," his first Christmas album ever. The album is full of classics like "Silent Night" and "We Three Kings." There are even versions of "White Christmas" and "Blue Christmas." Fellow crooners Michael Buble, Mary J. Blige, and Cee Lo join in to help Rod along. There's even a duet with Ella Fitzgerald. The songs are nice, but somewhat unadventurous.
Blake Shelton wasted no time releasing "Cheers, It's Christmas." His popularity is at an all-time high, and this release will likely keep him there. His first Christmas release includes the usual standards like "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Let It Snow." But it's songs like "Santa's Got A Choo Choo Train" and "Time For Me To Come Home" that keep things fresh. Kelly Clarkson, Pistol Annie's, and Miranda Lambert are a few of Blake's guests.
The more adventurous may want to check out "Holidays Rule." Various artists such as The Shins, Holly Golightly and The Fruit Bats make this anything but a typical Christmas release. Paul McCartney even contributes his version of "The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire).
Lady Antebellum releases "On This Winter's Night," an album full of Christmas standards like "Let It Snow" and "Silver Bells." Fans may want to take note that many of the songs on this CD were also released on their previous holiday CD, "A Merry Little Christmas." There are plenty of Christmas songs out there and I'm not sure why they would use the same songs on what is supposed to be a new release.
"This Christmas" is the latest holiday release by Olivia Newton John and John Travolta. Yep - John Travolta. "You're The One That I Want" was a huge hit for the duo 35 years ago. I'm not sure that's reason enough to tamper with "Baby It's Cold Outside" and "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree." Thankfully Barbara Streisand, Tony Bennett, and James Taylor lend a hand. The other good news is that all proceeds from this recording will benefit both the Jett Travolta Foundation and Olivia Newton John Cancer and Wellness Center in Australia.
A bit of a surprise was Tracey Thorns "Tinsel And Lights." The Everything But The Girl vocalist picks out a unique selection of songs like "Maybe This Christmas," "In The Cold, Cold Night," and "Snow In Sun." "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" was the only standard included in this interesting holiday release.
"Christmas With Scotty McCreery" gives fans of the deep-voiced singer exactly what they want. The American Idol star keeps it safe for the most part, but gives us some new songs too. "Christmas Comin' Round Again" and Christmas In Heaven" are welcome additions to the country singers Christmas repertoire.