Ives had performed previously with Muffley and the Navy Band: at a Christmas concert in Washington D.C. in 1974 and at the Boy Scout Jamboree in 1977. On the basis of these encounters, Muffley invited Ives to participate in a 1977 Christmas Concert at the DAR Constitution Hall: "The weeks that followed were busy indeed as a special production, the brainchild of Master Chief Jere Wallace, entitled For the Love of Christmas, was scripted, focusing around a musical adaptation of Burl telling the story of Christmas to a group of children ... the personification of Santa Claus himself." The concert was broadcast on national television.
The album represents a different product of their collaboration that year. The genres of the songs range from folk ("The Friendly Beasts") to pop ("A Holly, Jolly Christmas"). Classic Ives songs are given a new feel by the involvement of the Sea Chanters, the official chorus of the U.S. Navy.