An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: Christmas Sing-Along Car-i-oke

AIMED AT: Restless travelers facing long drives over rivers and through hills to grandmother's house this holiday season.

HOW MUCH: $15.95

BUT DOES IT WORK? This 22-track CD featuring standard holiday hits and a few original compositions -- and packaged with four lyric books -- is designed to ease the pain of traffic by encouraging caroling in the car. Most of the tunes are generic, synthesized renditions of yule basics like "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" that make it simple for listeners to sing along. A few unlikely versions, however, may perplex some, including a hard-rock version of "Jingle Bells." Some major guitar riffs confounded and frightened my Christmas-loving 3-year-old son, who's been singing that ditty since October. The same goes for a frantic version of "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and a " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" rap. Aside from some of the peculiar musical selections, "Christmas Sing-Along" is an easy-to-use and appealing caroling aid -- and one that just as easily plays in the comfort of your living room.

-- John Maynard

Available at bookstores and