Laurie Z.'s long-awaited new album is a delightful mixed bag of holiday goodies. The collection includes Jack Palance singing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and reading "The Night Before Christmas", two Laurie Z. originals, two Chanukah songs, and warmly upbeat arrangements of familiar Christmas tunes. Palance's vocals on "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" make it the Christmas novelty hit of the year. If this track doesn't bring a grin to your face, you are definitely in the "Scrooge" category! Palance hasn't sung for a recording in thirty years, so this is a sweet treat. Laurie's husband, Michael Carter, also returned to the microphone after thirty years to lend his wonderful voice to "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and an incredible medley of John Lennon's "Imagine" and "Happy Christmas", which includes a children's choir. This track was recorded only a few days before the 9/11 attack, and the words, "a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, let's hope it's a good one, without any fear" take on such poignancy. "What Child is This?" is given a Latin rhythm that really works to modernize this ancient melody. "Carol of the Bells" is one of my favorite holiday songs, and I love Laurie's upbeat arrangement. "Sivivon" is the only really dark piece, but it is gorgeous and deeply felt. Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne Medley" is just as touching as an instrumental as it was as a vocal. There isn't a weak track on this CD, and the sense of fun and joy is a breath of fresh air. I start teaching Christmas music to my piano students in late October, and have reviewed a large number of Christmas CDs this year, and by early December, I'm usually sick to death of Christmas music. Here it is only a week before Christmas, and I'm still thoroughly enjoying "Heart of the Holidays". I give it a wholehearted recommendation! Laurie Z. is donating 10% of all proceeds from this CD to the Center for Cancer and Blood Disease Research at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles.