Appearing just eight years after In the Spirit: A Christmas Album
, This Christmas
recycles a heavy chunk of that 2001 holiday affair, repeating "White Christmas/Winter Wonderland," "Peace," "On This Night," and "Children Go Where We Send Thee" -- about a third of both this record and its predecessor. The rest of This Christmas
is filled out with new recordings, including McDonald
's quite good original "Every Time Christmas Comes Around," all tending to be a little looser, a little less stuffy, a little more soulful than the rest of In the Spirit
, reaching a peak on the wonderfully woozy New Orleans-styled march through "I'll Be Home for Christmas." These newer cuts help push This Christmas
in a different direction than the very good In the Spirit
, making it slightly warmer and cheerier than its predecessor and, in many ways, better and more fun.