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Christmas Memories

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Christmas Memories
The singer's upper body appears on the inside of a red ornament hanging from the branch of a tree.
Studio album by Barbra Streisand
Released October 30, 2001 (2001-10-30)
Recorded July 19 – September 7, 2001
Genre Christmas
Length 47:13
Label Columbia
Barbra Streisand chronology
Timeless: Live in Concert
(2000)Timeless: Live in Concert2000
Christmas Memories
The Essential Barbra Streisand
(2002)The Essential Barbra Streisand2002

Christmas Memories is the second Christmas album and twenty-ninth studio release by American singer Barbra Streisand. It was released on October 30, 2001 by Columbia. Streisand recorded the album during July, August, and September 2001 in various recording studios throughout California and in North Vancouver. It was executively produced by Streisand and Jay Landers, while William Ross and David Foster served as additional producers. The album contains several cover versions of various holiday songs. To promote Christmas Memories, Columbia Records released an advanced sampler version of the album titled A Voice for All Seasons.

The record's mood was described as melancholic, which music critics found fitting due to the album's release occurring soon after the September 11 attacks. Other reviewers called the album "beautifully rendered" and "excellent".[1][2] Christmas Memories received a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album in 2003. Commercially, it entered the charts in Canada and the United Kingdom. It also charted in the United States, where it peaked at number 15 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of 1,000,000 copies. Streisand's cover of "It Must Have Been the Mistletoe" charted on the Adult Contemporary chart in the United States, peaking at number 28.


Christmas Memories is Barbra Streisand's second Christmas album, following 1967's A Christmas Album.[2] Streisand began taking part in recording sessions for the album on July 19, 2001; on this day, she recorded both "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "I Remember". Sessions took place throughout California and in North Vancouver. Streisand and Jay Landers are credited as the executive producers of Christmas Memories, with musicians David Foster and William Ross also receiving additional production credits. According to the liner notes, Streisand dedicated the album to the late artist Stephan Weiss, husband of fashion designer Donna Karan, who was close friends with Streisand before his death in June 2001.[3]

Christmas Memories was released on October 30, 2001 by Columbia.[4] To promote the album, Columbia Records issued advertisements in several American magazines, including in InStyle, People, Talk, and Vanity Fair.[5] An sampler album/extended play featuring five tracks from Christmas Memories was also released in 2001 and includes "Grown-Up Christmas List", "It Must Have Been the Mistletoe", "I'll Be Home for Christmas", "Closer", and "One God".[6]

Music and songs[edit]

The album opens with a cover of "I'll Be Home for Christmas", a war song written by Kim Gannon, Walter Kent, and Buck Ram; William Ruhlmann from AllMusic considered the inclusion of this track on Christmas Memories to reflect Streisand's "mature perspective that very much takes loss into consideration".[4] "A Christmas Love Song" is the second track and was written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and Johnny Mandel.[4] Author Tom Santopietro described the song's message as "an embrace of the holidays filled with honest sentiment".[2] A "jazzy" rendition of Frank Loesser's "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" is the third song, followed by a reworked cover of "I Remember" by Stephen Sondheim.[7] Streisand's cover of the latter song was described as "[still] an extremely sad song" by Ruhlmann.[4] "Snowbound" was written by Russell Faith and Clarence Kehner, is set in a "moderately slow" tempo, and features the use of a piano.[8] "It Must Have Been the Mistletoe" was considered by the staff at Show Music to be one of the many songs on the album to "focus on love".[9]

"Christmas Lullaby" was written by Ann Hampton Callaway, who had previously collaborated with Streisand on Higher Ground (1997) and A Love Like Ours (1999).[10] The Bergmans reworked Don Costa's "Christmas Mem'ries", which is included as the album's eighth track. Costa is credited as the song's original arranger whereas Eddie Karam is credited for the extra arranging.[3] "Grown-Up Christmas List" was written and produced by Foster and co-written by Linda Thompson. It contains a live orchestra that was arranged and conducted by Ross.[3] Santopietro considered Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria" to be a nice "companion" to Charles Gounod's "Ave Maria", which she first included on A Christmas Album in 1967.[2] "Closer" is dedicated to the singer's friend Stephan Weiss, who died before the album's recording sessions began. In the liner notes, Streisand wrote, "I'm singing 'Closer' about Stephan, but I was hoping it could relate to anyone who's [sic] lost someone".[3] The album closes with "One God", which was written by Ervin Drake and Jimmy Shirl; Drake learned that Streisand had recorded the track after they had previously collaborated on Higher Ground, when she covered a track of his called "I Believe".[11] On the Target and iTunes editions of the album, bonus track cover of "God Bless America" is included and produced by Streisand and Landers.[3][12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[4]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[7]

Billboard's Melinda Newman described the record as "a fine collection" and "beautifully rendered"; she also found Streisand's heavy amount of detail able to "elevate [...] the quality of this project far above the usual Christmas fare".[1] Tom Santopietro, author of The Importance of Being Barbra, considered it to be Streisand's "most consistently successful CD" since The Broadway Album (1985). He called her "song choices [...] uniformly excellent" and stated that "I'll Be Home for Christmas", "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?", and "One God" were the album's three best tracks.[2] William Ruhlmann, of AllMusic, opined that the album "may come to seem like a remarkably dour holiday collection" due to its release taking place after the September 11 attacks, but overall found that its mood "could hardly be improved upon" given the situation. He felt that this exemplified the ability of "great artists", such as Streisand, to create and release music that "take[s] the temperature of the times with their work".[4] Alexa Camp from Slant Magazine claimed that Christmas Memories contains "timeless holiday ambience courtesy of a consummate pro"; however, she considered the songs between "Snowbound" and "Grown-Up Christmas List" to be boring.[7]


Streisand was nominated at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards under the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category for Christmas Memories. However, she lost to Tony Bennett and his album Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues (2001).[13]

Commercial performance[edit]

Christmas Memories debuted on the Billboard 200 at number 32 on November 17, 2001.[14] During its best-selling week, it sold 136,000 copies and peaked at number 15.[15][16] In total, it spent nine weeks within the Billboard 200.[17] It also topped the Top Holidays Albums chart.[18] The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on December 3, 2001 for shipments of 1,000,000 copies.[19] As of June 2007, the album has sold 1,100,000 copies.[20] In Canada, it peaked at number 49 on the Canadian Albums Chart compiled by Nielsen.[21] It also entered the UK Albums chart where it spent one week at number 137.[22]

"It Must Have Been the Mistletoe" was distributed to United States radio stations during the Christmas season,[23] allowing it to debut and peak at number 28 on the Adult Contemporary chart for the week ending January 5, 2002.[24]

Track listing[edit]

Songwriting credits adapted from AllMusic.[4]

Christmas Memories – Standard edition[25]
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "I'll Be Home for Christmas"
2. "A Christmas Love Song" Streisand 3:57
3. "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" Frank Loesser
  • Streisand
  • Ross
4. "I Remember" Stephen Sondheim
  • Streisand
  • Ross
5. "Snowbound"
  • Russell Faith
  • Clarence Kehner
  • Streisand
  • Ross
6. "It Must Have Been the Mistletoe"
  • Douglas Konecky
  • Justin Wilde
  • Streisand
  • Ross
7. "Christmas Lullaby" Ann Hampton Callaway Streisand 3:30
8. "Christmas Mem'ries"
Streisand 4:45
9. "Grown-Up Christmas List" Foster 3:29
10. "Ave Maria" Franz Schubert
  • Streisand
  • Ross
11. "Closer"
  • Streisand
  • Ross
12. "One God"
  • Streisand
  • Ross
Total length: 47:13


Credits adapted from the liner notes of the deluxe edition of Christmas Memories.[3]



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[19] Platinum 1,100,000[20]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone



  1. ^ a b Newman, Melinda (December 15, 2001). "The Beat". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 113 (50): 12. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved August 10, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Santopietro 2007, p. 54
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Christmas Memories (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (Target deluxe ed.). Columbia. 2001. CK 54332. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Ruhlmann, William. "Barbra Streisand – Christmas Memories". AllMusic. Retrieved August 9, 2017. 
  5. ^ "A Voice For All Seasons: Barbra Streisand – Christmas Memories". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 113 (43): 2–3. October 27, 2001. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved August 10, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b A Voice for All Seasons (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (Promotional sampler ed.). Columbia. 2001. CSK 54903. 
  7. ^ a b c Camp, Alexa (November 10, 2001). "Barbra Streisand – Christmas Memories". Slant Magazine. Retrieved August 10, 2017. 
  8. ^ Faith, Russell; Kehner, Clarence (1955). "'Snow Bound' By Barbra Streisand Digital Sheet Music". Retrieved August 11, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Highlights". Show Music. M.O. Preeo. 18: 58. 2002. Retrieved August 11, 2017. 
  10. ^ Larkin 2004, p. 146
  11. ^ Bessman, Jim (October 13, 2001). "Words & Music". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 113 (41): 49. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved August 11, 2017. 
  12. ^ a b "Christmas Memories – Barbra Streisand". iTunes Store (US). October 30, 2001. Retrieved August 9, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Grammy Nominations: Complete List". Fox News Channel. January 3, 2003. Retrieved February 4, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week Of November 17, 2001". Billboard. November 17, 2001. Retrieved August 9, 2017. 
  15. ^ Mayfield, Geoff (November 1, 2003). "Over the Counter". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 115 (44): 87, 90. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved August 10, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week Of December 22, 2001". Billboard. December 22, 2001. Retrieved August 9, 2017. 
  17. ^ a b "Barbra Streisand Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Barbra Streisand Chart History (Holiday Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  19. ^ a b "American album certifications – Barbra Streisand – Christmas Memories". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 9, 2017.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  20. ^ a b Caulfield, Keith (June 22, 2007). "Ask Billboard". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 13, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b "Canadian Albums Chart: December 13, 2001". Jam!. Archived from the original on December 13, 2004. Retrieved August 9, 2017. 
  22. ^ a b "DJ S – The System Of Life". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 8, 2017. 
  23. ^ Billboard staff (September 25, 2004). "Elton's 'Sky' High". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 116 (39): 73. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved August 11, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Barbra Streisand – Chart history". Billboard Adult Contemporary for Barbra Streisand. Retrieved August 10, 2017. 
  25. ^ Christmas Memories (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (Standard ed.). Columbia. 2001. CK 85920. 
  26. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2002". Billboard. Retrieved September 27, 2017. 


  • Larkin, Colin (2004). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Jazz (second, revised ed.). Virgin Publishing. ISBN 1-8522-7183-3. 
  • Santopietro, Tom (April 1, 2007). The Importance of Being Barbra: The Brilliant, Tumultuous Career of Barbra Streisand. Macmillan. ISBN 1-4299-0853-X. 

External links[edit]