This is a wonderful album from Whitney Houston, better than I expected. She imparts most of the songs with soul and feeling; she sings Christmas as it should be sung. She's not just bleating the songs out, like Ashanti. Generally, the arrangements and production are also fresh and impeccable. The strongest tracks are the more gospel-influcend songs, like "O Come O Come Emanuel", "Joy to the World", and "I'll be Home For Christmas." The zippy medley "Deck the Halls/Silent Night" also works, surprisingly, as does the original ballad "One Wish." Her best offering, though is "O Holy Night", a song that needs a VOICE to do it justice, and I think Whitney fits the bill beautifully.
On the negative side, I didn't care for "Little Drummer Boy" (the cheesy addition of non-singing Bobbi Kristina is a mistake). "The Christmas Song" is also not so great. She adds nothing to a song that has been attempted by many and mastered by few. Throughout the album, too, excessive "riffs" which seem to include intolerable mangling of classic lyrics and proper grammer, only serve to irritate. There are too may examples to name.
Overall, I think this is one of the better Christmas albums out there, and one of the best this year, from what I've heard. I'll admit that it doesn't trump Mariah's classic, but it's still stirring and highly "listenable." Four stars. Nicely done.