Growing up in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Johnny Irizarry remembers there was always music playing in the background during the Christmas season. “We listened to salsa the most and some merengue,” he says. “But, at some point in the night, Asalto Navideño—the Christmas album by Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe—would come on.” This two-part album series—released in 1970 and 1973, respectively—are at the core of many Puerto Rican Christmas celebrations. It combines trova and salsa traditions in songs that evoke both the joy and patriotic sentiment of the season. In “Canto a Borinquen,” Lavoe professes his love for Puerto Rico, saying, “Borinquen, soy tu hijo y no voy a olvidarte.” Today, much like Lavoe in the ‘70s, Irizarry lives in Florida. But he still turns to trova and Christmas classics to engulf his nostalgic feelings for home with songs like “Defensa al Jíbaro,” written by Quique Domenech and performed by Tony Croatto, “El arbolito” by El Gran Combo, and “Aires de Navidad” by Héctor Lavoe and Willie Colón. “I think it influences that love and pride toward la patria, toward the people that build it every day,” he says.