Michael Stripe, Missy Elliott, Patti Smith, and more share their favorite Christmas albums

SARAH McLACHLAN: ”My favorite Christmas album? Harry Belafonte. I can’t remember the name of the record [editor’s note: To Wish You a Merry Christmas]. It’s got beautiful gospel Christmas songs, gorgeous.”

CLAIRE DANES: ”I don’t have one. I remember ‘White Christmas’ was sung a lot in school because it didn’t refer to religion. I know it by heart. It was kind of groovy.”

PATTI SMITH: ”I like Fred Waring’s Christmas Time. Waring was my brother’s favorite. [Before] my brother passed away, he’d call me every Christmas Eve from wherever he was and put it on over the phone.”

JOHN POPPER: ”A Very Special Christmas 3, on A&M — ’cause we’re on it. Joan Baez’s Noel bothered the hell out of me, but we always played it. I wish that thing that’s vibrating in her throat would stop. It drives me nuts. But Harry Belafonte has the consummate Christmas album. I wound up ripping off ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ [on Very Special Christmas 3].”

JAMES IHA: ”I don’t have a favorite whole record, but I love that Brian Wilson song. I can sing it for you but I don’t know the name of the song. [Sings] ‘Christmas comes each time this year. Da da da…’ I can’t remember. [EDITOR’S NOTE: ”Little St. Nick”] It’s really pretty and magical.”

MISSY ELLIOTT: ”I don’t have a whole album, but my favorite Christmas song is ‘This Christmas,’ by Donny Hathaway. It’s the only song that makes me feel like it’s really Christmas.”

MICHAEL STIPE: ”The record that my parents had when I was a kid with Marlene Dietrich singing ‘Little Drummer Boy.’ She had terrible diction. There’s a picture of her that looked like she had Saran Wrap on her forehead, and I really liked that.”

: ”Jimmy Smith’s Christmas Cookin’. ‘Cause I like it.”
MIKE SIMPSON: ”The Moishe Oysher Chanukah Party. Phat beats, funky-ass grooves. Really puts you in the spirit.”