At the risk of sounding like ol’ Ebenezer, I will confess openly that I can’t really stand much Christmas music — it just doesn’t fill me with a whole lot of Yuletide glee. I mean, have ya heard “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer?” Truly dreadful. And honestly, nothing makes me wanna zing right through to January more quickly than enduring Elvis bluh-bluh-bluh-blubbering through “Blue Christmas.”

But I’m certainly no “Grinch.” And a couple of years ago, I spotted the Gwen Stefani album, You Make it Feel Like Christmas, at my local Barnes & Noble store. It looked like a Christmas sugar cookie perched prominently atop the music department holiday display. I couldn’t resist, and I snatched up a copy for the GF on double white vinyl. When I got home and placed it on her Victrola, I discovered in short order that it sounded like a sugar cookie too. YUM!

Produced to pop perfection by Stefani, Michael James Ryan Busbee and Eric Valentine, the record was originally released in 2017. It has since been reissued in a couple of different configurations.

Stefani’s renditions of the included classics feel more fun, more fabulous, more genuine and more exciting to me than most (perhaps better-known) versions — a warm and cozy feel-good, to be sure. But what makes the album particularly appealing are Stefani’s original compositions. “My Gift is You” is a wonderful, old-school, R&B-flavored Snickerdoodle. while “Never Kissed Anyone with Blue Eyes” embraces ya with a Squeeze-style hug, and the seemingly “You Can’t Hurry Love”-inspired title track duet with Blake Shelton makes for a Buick-sized highlight. But, for my money, “When I was a Little Girl” ranks as one of the record’s most moving and magical moments — second only to Stefani’s version of “Silent Night.”

In sum, kudos to Gwen Stefani. With You Make it Feel Like Christmas, she crafted a Christmas cookie that I can actually choke down. In fact, it’s become my all-time holiday fave.

You Make It Feel Like Christmas (Deluxe Edition – 2020) Track Listing:

1. Jingle Bells (2:58)
2. Let It Snow (2:15)
3. My Gift Is You (2:51)
4. Silent Night (3:15)
5. When I Was a Little Girl (3:29)
6. Last Christmas (4:39)
7. You Make It Feel Like Christmas *featuring Blake Shelton (2:37)
8. Under the Christmas Light (2:50)
9. Santa Baby (2:54)
10. White Christmas (3:08)
11. Never Kissed Anyone with Blue Eyes Before You (3:03)
12. Christmas Eve (3:19)
13. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (2:58)
14. Cheer for the Elves ( 3:06)
15. Secret Santa (3:26)
16. Winter Wonderland (2:37)
17. Feliz Navidad *featuring Mon Laferte (2:43)
18. Sleigh Ride (2:33)
19. Here This Christmas (2:58)

Run Time: 57:39
Release Date: October 23, 2020
Record Label: Interscope

Author

Christopher Long is a celebrated author, entertainment writer, TV / radio contributor, award-winning musician, popular speaker and international missionary. Referred to once as "the rock and roll Erma Bombeck," Long is known for his conversational, common sense writing style and possessing a passion for sharing his unique perspectives on pop culture, faith and politics. Raised in Missouri's rugged Ozark Mountains and on Florida's sunny Space Coast, Long currently lives near Cocoa Beach. (AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com)