The plugins from BigCat, in wav, sfz, or Kontakt format, and generally embedded in a VST if you don't use Kontakt. Those (all is freeware):
- Karoryfer Collection
- All Keyboard Instruments
- VSCO2 Rompler
- Mihai Sorohan Choir
- Nouveau Sound Tracker Samples
All the sample-based freeware VSTs from Versilian Studio may fit also:
- VSCO 2 Community Edition
- VS Upright No. 1
- Etherealwinds Harp II Community Edition
- Versilian Community Sample Library (VCSL)
- Fretless Zither HD Remastered
- Miscellania II with ringing, rattling, or metallic shaking sound, etc. (Note : don't take Miscellania I for Christmas, this other one is more specifically for Halloween)
You can also take all the free percussion VSTs from Alan Vista. Some of them are wonderful for Christmas musics, as the crotales, the claves, the vibraphones, the xylophones, for example.
For Christmas musics I strongly advise you to also take some free string-synths which are famous for mood music. Examples:
- 2getheraudio - Cheeze Machine 2 (don't forget to take also its free additional preset bank Atmosphere Machine)
- Full Bucket Music - the deputy Mark II (one of the best string-synths ever)
- Full Bucket Music - Mono/Fury (a perfect emulation of the Korg Mono/Poly, excellent for warm pads)
- Full Bucket Music - Nabla (Nabla is a perfect emulation of the Korg Delta, "God's synth"). And you can get some more pads presets here.
You can also take all the freeware VSTs made by Quilcom (by the way you will find one named Christmas Belly in the mid-height of the page).
You can also take this sampleset focused at Christmas from Orange Free Sounds:
Some of these old traditional instruments sampled by Soni Musicae can also perfectly fit for your purpose (they all are free):
A good old organ or harmonium will also be probably very useful. Here are freeware examples:
- Rumpelrausch ZR-3 and AZR3 download
- SourceForge.net (it is 32-bit but opensource then our French friend Wavosaur made 64-bit here and someone else made also a OSX version here)
- Nubi Plus
- AM Music Technology VL-122 (the zip file also contains the awesome RMI-EP electric piano and the famous Pro SoloVST). I really love this emulation, because it is not an emulation of the Hammond B3 but of the Hammond L-122, an organ which was excellent for quiet music (even enjoyed) because it had a much less aggressive and much warmer sound than the B3. The L-122 was also the Tony Banks' preferred organ. He used it in all the first Genesis albums before acquiring his ARP Pro Soloist (also emulated in this zip file). And the RMI-EP is the emulation of the RMI Electra, the piano of this famous Genesis intro. A famous piano... which was actually not a piano but an organ ! (listen). And this instrument is excellent also... for Christmas musics !
All these things above are free. Some are only 32-bit, but a good number of them are also 64-bit, and without counting the samples which are for any 32/64/128-bit you want.
If you want to add very good nice and warm voice pads (Enya style) in your musics I strongly invite you to purchase some of these angelic vocal pads at PrecisionSound (there are 6 sets, from 1 to 6, the first sets are not expensive at all, these are the only non-free things in my preset suggestions):
- Angelic Vocal Pads 1
- Angelic Vocal Pads 2
- Angelic Vocal Pads 3
- Angelic Vocal Pads 4
- Angelic Vocal Pads 5
- Angelic Vocal Pads 6
If you're after more traditional church choirs and instruments you won't do any error by taking all those (and they all are free):
Bow beware also: the instrument itself is not enough, the way you play is very important to give the Christmas mood (and also the scores you choose if you don't compose yourself).