Christmas Portrait

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Christmas Portrait
Studio album by The Carpenters
Released October 13, 1978
Recorded 1978
Genre Holiday
Length 49:08
Label A&M
Producer Richard Carpenter/Associate Producer - Karen Carpenter
The Carpenters chronology
Christmas Portrait
Made in America
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2/5 stars[2]

Christmas Portrait is the first Christmas album recorded by The Carpenters (and the only one issued during Karen Carpenter's lifetime), originally released on October 13, 1978 (A&M 4726).

The album includes a revised version of the group'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).

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 version of Christmas Portrait, issued in 1984, is a compendium of selected tracks from the Carpenters' two Christmas albums into one 74-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 (1998 in the US), a two-CD set titled Christmas Collection was issued internationally, containing Christmas Portrait and An Old-Fashioned Christmas together in their original respective tracklists. Richard Carpenter remixed most of the album tracks for Christmas Portrait due to deteriorated masters.

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, and then of No. 113.

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.[4]

Track listing (Original 1978 LP)[edit]

Side one
  1. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" (Traditional, John Mason Neale)
  2. Overture:
  3. "Christmas Waltz" (Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne)
  4. "Sleigh Ride" (Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish)
  5. Medley:
  6. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (Blane, Martin)
  7. "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" (John Frederick Coots, Haven Gillespie)
  8. "Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" (Mel Tormé, Robert Wells)
  9. "Silent Night" (Franz Xaver Gruber, Joseph Mohr, John Freeman Young)
Side two
  1. "Jingle Bells" (James Pierpont)
  2. Medley:
  3. "Carol of the Bells" (Leontovych, Wilhousky)
  4. "Merry Christmas Darling" (Frank Pooler, Richard Carpenter)
  5. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (Kim Gannon, Walter Kent, Buck Ram)
  6. "Christ is Born" (Ray Charles, Dominico Bartolucci)
  7. Medley:
  8. "Ave Maria" (Johann Sebastian Bach, Charles Gounod)

Track listing (1984 CD reissue)[edit]

  1. "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" (Edmund Sears, Richard Storrs Willis) – 0:41
  2. Overture: – 8:16
  3. "An Old-Fashioned Christmas" (Carpenter, John Bettis) – 2:11
  4. "The Christmas Waltz" (Cahn, Styne) – 2:12
  5. "Sleigh Ride" (Anderson, Parish) – 2:39
  6. "It's Christmas Time"/"Sleep Well, Little Children" (Stillman, Young, Bergman, Klatzkin) – 2:53
  7. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (Blane, Martin) – 3:54
  8. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" (Coots, Gillespie) – 1:05
  9. "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" (Tormé, Wells) – 3:39
  10. "Carol of the Bells" (Leontovych, Wilhousky) – 1:39
  11. "Merry Christmas Darling" (Pooler, Carpenter) – 3:07
  12. "Christ Is Born" (Charles, Bartolucci) – 3:13
  13. "O Holy Night" (Adolphe Adam) – 3:10
  14. "Home for the Holidays" (Stillman, Robert Allen) – 2:36
  15. Medley: – 3:42
  16. Medley: – 5:28
    • "Winter Wonderland" (Bernard, Smith)
    • "Silver Bells" (Livingston, Evans)
    • "White Christmas" (Berlin)
  17. "Ave Maria" (Bach, Gounod) – 2:34
  18. Selections from Nutcracker: (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) – 5:27
    • "Overture Miniature"
    • "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies"
    • "Waltz of the Flowers"
  19. "Little Altar Boy" (Howlett Smith) – 3:43
  20. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (Gannon, Kent, Ram) – 3:49
  21. "Silent Night" (Gruber, Mohr, Young) – 3:20


"Merry Christmas Darling"
  • 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"
  • 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"
  • JP 7" single (1978) – AMP 1012
  1. "Silent Night"
  2. "Jingle Bells"
  3. "Ave Maria"
"Ave Maria"
  • 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. ^ Staff, Billboard (2014-12-01). "The Gifts That Keep on Giving: Biggest Radio and Album Hits of the Holidays". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2014-12-02. 

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