Christmas Wonderland (1963)
Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra

  1. The Little Drummer Boy (Katherine Kennicott Davis/Harry Simeone/Henry V. Onorati)
  2. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (J. Fred Coots/Haven Gillespie)
  3. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day (John David Marks/Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
  4. Holiday For Bells (Bert Kaempfert)
  5. Winter Wonderland (Felix Bernard/Richard Bernhard Smith)
  6. Children’s Christmas Dream (Bert Kaempfert)
  7. Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson)
  8. White Christmas (Irving Berlin)
  9. Toy Parade (Bert Kaempfert/Heinz Mihm)
  10. Christmas Wonderland (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)
  11. Jingo Jango (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)
  12. Jumpin’ Jiminy Christmas (Jack Carroll/Stanley Cowan)

1 – 12 issued as Decca DL 4441 (mono) and Decca DL 74441 (stereo)
1 – 12 issued in Europe as CHRISTMASTIDE WITH KAEMPFERT, Polydor 46 408 (mono) and Polydor 237 608 (stereo)
1 and 11 issued as single Decca 31560
4 and 12 issued as single Decca 31873

At Christmas time we hang up our stockings (even if just in our mind’s eye) and hope something special will be gift-wrapped with our name on it. This album is that kind of thrilling experience. It’s your engraved invitation to spend a particularly joyous holiday in the Christmas Wonderland of Bert Kaempfert. May he make it your merriest ever.

Among novelty records, none are more popular – or profitable – than the inevitable Christmas record. Everybody makes them and everyone has their favorites. For many, our parents’ seasonal record choices tend to inform many of our own Christmas favorites.

Christmas records have a universal appeal, often transcending genre, fashion, fanbases, generations, religion and more than a few other restrictions that often “label” or restrict music in some sort of way. They also possess a tremendous air of timelessness that so few other records can mimic or maintain.

This is all to say that Bert Kaempfert’s charming and timeless Christmas Wonderland is all this and more. It is one of the all-time great Christmas records and a true holiday perennial. The traditional program is as cheery and reverential as it swings with the singular flair and folly of Bert Kaempfert.

In addition to seven holiday evergreens, Kaempfert provides such originals as “Holiday for Bells” (a possible reflection on David Rose’s classic “Holiday for Strings”), and the sensitive and lovely “Children’s Christmas Dream,” while the Kaempfert-Rehbein team provides “Christmas Wonderland” and the festive “Jingo Jango”

An interesting inclusion here is “Jumpin’ Jiminy Christmas,” a forgotten 1949 Bob Eberly swinger that was likely placed here at the behest of producer Milt Gabler.  It is a perfect piece for Kaempfert – and, like “Wonderland by Night,” one of the bandleader’s non-originals that became ideally associated with him. This recording scored a 1965 single release that, unfortunately, never got the airplay it so richly deserved.

“Here’s a delightful album from Kaempfert that should be a seasonal powerhouse,” enthused Billboard. “The set is as light and bright as frost and as shimmering as tinsel. Happy sounds abound with chimes, bells, voices and trumpets…”

Significantly, both Christmas Wonderland and “Jingo Jango” charted on Billboard’s Christmas Records listings in 1963 – as well as on each of those charts over the next five years. Christmas Wonderland was also issued and reissued for years afterward and while “Jingo Jango” never made it out of the Kaempfert orbit it shines like a star from within.