Originally released in 1971, this was Elvis' second album of Christmas songs. After fourteen seasons of peddling Elvis' 1957 Christmas album, the folks at RCA convinced the King to record a new holiday set.
This has to be the most depressing album ever to be released with the word "Christmas" on its cover. For all those who have ever endured a holiday season marked with loneliness, regret or self-pity, this is the record for you. Songs such as "It Won't Seem Like Christmas (Without You)," "I'll Be Home on Christmas Day" and "Holly Leaves and Christmas Trees" are painful ballads reeking with sadness, grief and sorrow, and effectively project the grey mood which overshadows the rest of this album. A vocally strained Elvis sounds very tired and/or bored, and this adds to the aura of gloom. Even normally happy tunes like "Winter Wonderland" and "Silver Bells" sound depressing. Like on the first album, Elvis includes hymns, in this case "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "The First Noel," but here their solemn tone only serves to compound the negative feeling.
In stark contrast to the first album, which, despite the controversy it stirred, was a brilliant and uplifting (and at the same time serious) celebration of Christmas, this set is a miserably bleak presentation by someone who seemingly has nothing left to celebrate.