The Christmas entry in Time-Life's The Elvis Presley Collection mail-order series differs from the others in that it is not a 31-track double-CD/cassette featuring one previously unreleased track, but rather a 21-track single-CD/cassette on which the final track, a version of "Blue Christmas" from Presley's 1968 comeback TV special, is billed as a bonus track. The album also contains the eight Christmas songs that were combined with four sacred songs to make up the 1957 LP Elvis' Christmas Album, the 1966 single "If Every Day Was Like Christmas," and all 11 tracks from the 1971 album Elvis Sings "The Wonderful World of Christmas." It would have been a better idea to sequence this material in chronological order rather than mixing it up, as the compilers have done here, since Presley sounds noticeably different, and, for the most part, noticeably less engaged, on the 1971 tracks. The 1957 material has the edge not only in terms of performance, but also in song quality, with a number of newly written and distinctly inferior songs making up the 1971 recordings. The raucous version of "Merry Christmas Baby" and a lively reading of "I'll Be Home on Christmas Day" are the exceptions. If you are buying the entire Elvis Presley Collection series, Christmas is a worthy inclusion, but it's not worth purchasing separately, since RCA's 1994 set If Every Day Was Like Christmas presents the same material in a more complete and better organized manner at retail.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann