Putumayo Presents: A Family Christmas

Music review by
Jessica Dawson, Common Sense Media
Putumayo Presents: A Family Christmas Music Poster Image
World music flavor enhances beloved Christmas classics.

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The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Like all Putumayo recordings, this one encourages kids to learn about different cultures and styles of music.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that unlike other Putumayo albums, this one is mainly in English, and the songs are spins of traditional, secular Christmas tunes. That being said, there is still a "world flavor" to the music that gives this holiday disc the usual Putumayo zest, and is sure to be enjoyed by the whole family. There are liner notes in English, Spanish, and French.

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What's the story?

A holiday installment of the popular Putumayo World Music franchise, A FAMILY CHRISTMAS gets everyone in the yuletide spirit with 11 tracks that capture traditional Christmas songs with an array of musical styles. From New Orleans jazz to European polka, and English folk to Jamaican ska, the songs featured here could get even Ebenezer Scrooge himself in the mood for sleigh bells and Christmas cheer. A Family Christmas breathes new life into already beloved holiday tunes such as "Holly Jolly Christmas," "Sleigh Ride," and "Frosty the Snowman."

Is it any good?

If you get tired of the same ol' Bing Crosby-Andy Williams dose of Christmas tunes, then you'll love Putumayo's A Family Christmas. Although it's a product of the well-known world music machine, the mostly American traditional yuletide tracks keep true enough to their roots and please even the staunchest traditionalist. The acoustic renditions of favorites such as "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "Winter Wonderland" (Deana Carter), are fa-la-labulous. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy jazzes it up on "Is Zat You Santa Claus?" with quirky Dracula-style vocals kids will love, and English folk singer Kate Rusby's sweet singing on "Here We Come A-Wassailing" is as smooth as a hot cup of cider. Lars Edegran's "Frosty the Snowman" lives up to its always-high expectations from mittened, pink-nosed kiddos everywhere, with a delightful rendition of the Gene Autry classic. A Family Christmas is the perfect holiday soundtrack to enjoy with the whole family, and will leave you anxious and excited to get out the eggnog and the Christmas lights a little earlier each year.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about which holiday songs are their favorites and why.

  • This album celebrates Christmas songs that families can enjoy together. What are other ways to celebrate the holidays?

  • What are some of your family's favorite traditions?

Music details

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