(Yes, yes, the CBR now does music, too. I am a one-stop cranky person.)
Pet peeves: artists that release one or two really, really good, well-written or arranged Christmas songs and then decide to release a whole album, by filling the rest of it with trock.*
A prime example is the Barenaked Ladies' Barenaked for the Holidays. They have an absolutely gorgeous, unique mashup of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings", with Sarah McLachlan. And one or two cute original songs. And a few very low-effort carols with no fancy arrangements or anything even vaguely special about them. And -- the worst! -- a few fillers of someone playing carols on the old Casio, complete with auto-drums and everything. Terrible.
Enter the Best Holiday Album by One Artist in Recent Years and/or Possibly Ever: Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong. It's a beautiful, beautiful compilation of traditional carols re-mixed (for example, she gives "What Child is This?" a new melody) as well as some of my favourite "contemporary" winter songs, like Joni Mitchell's "River" and Gordon Lightfoot's "Song For a Winter's Night", which is the most haunting version I've ever heard. She gets an A+ for originality and all-around awesomeness.
And Merry Christmas, every one.
*Terrible, Rotten, Overly-Crappy Kitch.