Working with arranger-conductor Peter Schickele (PDQ Bach), Baez, for the first time, recorded an album outside the standard guitar-based folk format. She worked with Schickele on her next two albums, both of which also featured classical orchestration.
Unlike holiday albums by many other popular artists, Baez included mostly traditional material, avoiding more lighthearted or commercial fare in favor of a somber, understated tone. She included both familiar ("The Little Drummer Boy") and more obscure ("Down in Yon Forest") material. The album also contains several brief instrumental selections arranged by Schickele.