Dylan's decision to release a disc of his favorite festive hits - called Christmas in the Heart -- left some commentators bemused, and speculating the project is a gimmick.
Their suspicions were further heightened with the unveiling of Dylan's promo for the disc's first single, Must Be Santa, in which he ditches his super-serious, grumpy image and dons a Santa hat to host a raucous house party.
But the music icon insists real fans understand he's pushing boundaries by trying his hand at a different musical genre.
Dylan says, "Critics like that are on the outside looking in. They are definitely not fans or the audience that I play to. They would have no gut level understanding of me and my work, what I can and can't do -- the scope of it all. Even at this point in time they don't know what to make of me. These songs are part of my life, just like folk songs. You have to play them straight, too... The songs don't require much acting. They kind of play themselves."