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A Very Tolerable Christmas

Great holiday music comes in many genres, from the melancholy solo piano of Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas to the effervescent girl-group soul of A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. But these five soft selections hang together just right, making up a wintry mix of songs that, when heard collectively, simulate a soothing bath in a tub of warm cocoa.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)