Given all the ground R. Kelly has covered, plus the self-proclaimed "infinite" amount of unreleased music he has recorded in a multitude of styles, it's surprising that it took the singer and songwriter roughly 25 years to get around to issuing a holiday album. Kelly evidently gave the concept more thought and effort than most other artists. He wrote 11 of its 12 songs alone and co-wrote one with established associate Dorrell Mays, and he covers a lot of ground, ranging from spiritual to romantic to cheerful, with a fair amount of emphasis on the latter. From the diligent arrangements, including some work from the great Larry Gold, to the use of that old droplet effect (mercifully heard only on "Letters"), it's evident that Kelly didn't knock it all out in a one-shot rush. Unsurprisingly, not all of this is wholesome family fun, given humorous lines like "Let me go first -- I wanna unwrap you" and "Lay you down and fill your stockings up." While there are no covers or new spins on traditional songs, "Christmas Lovin'" verges on a Bill Withers impersonation, and Kelly makes like Smokey Robinson on the following "Flyin' on My Sleigh." This undoubtedly has his devout fans, more than anyone else, in mind.
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman