Christmas Portrait

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Christmas Portrait
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 13, 1978
Recorded1977 - 1978
ProducerRichard Carpenter/Associate Producer – Karen Carpenter
Carpenters chronology
Christmas Portrait
Made in America
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[1]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[2]

Christmas Portrait is the first Christmas album and ninth studio album by the American popular music duo Carpenters, released on October 13, 1978.


The album includes a revised version of the duo's signature Christmas song, "Merry Christmas Darling". It also includes one of two versions of "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" (a slower version, recorded in 1974, as well as other unused songs recorded during this album's sessions, were issued on the Carpenters' later Christmas album, An Old-Fashioned Christmas).

Album artwork[edit]

The original album cover by Robert Tanenbaum is modeled on Norman Rockwell's 1960 painting, "Triple Self-Portrait", done as a cover for The Saturday Evening Post.


The CD edition of Christmas Portrait, issued in 1984, is a compendium of selected tracks from the Carpenters' two Christmas albums into one 70-minute program, with tracks from each interspersed in the running order; "Ave Maria" was remixed at this time in order to include a choral track that went missing in 1978 and was later found. (A CD of the original LP content was briefly issued exclusively in West Germany around the same time.)

In 1996, a two-CD set titled Christmas Collection was issued internationally, containing Christmas Portrait and An Old-Fashioned Christmas together in their original respective track lists. Richard Carpenter remixed most of the Christmas Portrait tracks for this release due to the original master tapes having deteriorated.

Commercial performance[edit]

On April 16, 1998, Christmas Portrait was certified Platinum by the RIAA for shipment of one million copies in the United States since its 1978 release.[3]

In December 2011, Christmas Portrait re-entered the Billboard 200 album sales chart at No. 150 and eventually achieved a new chart peak position of No. 126. In December 2012 and then in December 2013, the album again re-entered the Billboard 200 album sales chart and attained a new chart peak position of No. 114. In January 2019, it reached a new peak position of No. 67 on the Billboard 200.[4]

By the end of November 2014, Christmas Portrait was the twenty-third best-selling Christmas/holiday album in the United States during the SoundScan era of music sales tracking (March 1991 – present), having sold 1,950,000 copies according to SoundScan.[5]

Track listing[edit]

All lead vocals by Karen Carpenter, except where noted.

Side one
1."O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" (lead vocals: Richard Carpenter)
  • Traditional
  • R. Carpenter[a]
2."Deck the Halls (With Boughs of Holly)"/"I Saw Three Ships"/"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"/"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"/"Away in a Manger (Luther's Cradle Hymn)"/"What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)"/"Carol of the Bells"/"O Come All Ye Faithful" (overture)
3."Christmas Waltz"2:15
4."Sleigh Ride"2:39
5."It's Christmas Time"/"Sleep Well, Little Children"2:53
6."Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
  • Blane
  • Martin
7."Santa Claus is Comin' to Town"1:05
8."Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)"3:39
9."Silent Night"3:19
Side two
10."Jingle Bells"1:10
11."First Snowfall"/"Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"3:35
12."Carol of the Bells"
  • Leontovych
  • Wilhousky
  • Perito[a]
  • Knight[a]
13."Merry Christmas Darling"
14."I'll Be Home for Christmas"3:48
15."Christ is Born"
16."Winter Wonderland"/"Silver Bells"/"White Christmas"5:31
17."Ave Maria"2:35


  • ^a signifies adapted by


"Merry Christmas Darling"[edit]

  • US 7" single (1970) – A&M 1236
  1. "Merry Christmas Darling"
  2. "Mr. Guder"
  • UK 7" single (1971) – AME601
  1. "Merry Christmas Darling"
  2. "Ticket to Ride"
  3. "Saturday"
  • UK 7" single (1990) – AM716
  1. "Merry Christmas Darling"
  2. "(They Long to Be) Close to You"
  • UK 7" single (1990) – AMS716
  1. "Merry Christmas Darling"
  2. "(They Long to Be) Close to You"
  • UK 12" single (1990) – AMY716
  1. "Merry Christmas Darling"
  2. "You're the One"
  3. "(They Long to Be) Close to You"
  • UK CD single (1990) – AMCD716
  1. "Merry Christmas Darling"
  2. "(They Long to Be) Close to You"
  3. "You're the One"

"Christmas Song"[edit]

  • US 7" single (1977) – A&M 1991
  1. "Christmas Song"
  2. "Merry Christmas Darling"
  • JP 7" single (1977) – CM-2083
  1. "Christmas Song"
  2. "Merry Christmas Darling"
  • JP CD single (1996) – PODM-1059
  1. "Christmas Song"
  2. "Winter Wonderland/Silver Bells/White Christmas"

"Silent Night"[edit]

  • JP 7" single (1978) – AMP 1012
  1. "Silent Night"
  2. "Jingle Bells"
  3. "Ave Maria"

"Ave Maria"[edit]

  • JP CD single (1996) – PODM-1065
  1. "Ave Maria"
  2. "Merry Christmas Darling"


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 140. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  3. ^ "RIAA Searchable Database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  4. ^ "Carpenters Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  5. ^ "The Gifts That Keep on Giving: Biggest Radio and Album Hits of the Holidays". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2014-12-01. Retrieved 2014-12-02.

External links[edit]