Just because it’s Christmas, doesn’t mean you have to listen to age-old traditional tunes from yuletide by-gone eras. From compilation albums to 21st-century bestsellers, here’s our compilation of the best Christmas albums of all time, looking to knock some of those seasonal classics off your festive playlist.
1. Bing Crosby – White Christmas
Originally an Irving Berlin song, White Christmas isn’t just a holiday favourite, it’s a cultural phenomenon. Most famously sung by Bing Crosby, the track is the world’s best-selling single, with estimated sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide. Add in the wealth of other versions and sales of the track go past 100 million. Safe to say, White Christmas is a sure hit for the best Christmas album of all time.
Artist: Bing Crosby
Release date: 1942
Recorded: 29 May 1942
Songwriter: Irving Berlin
2. Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas
Released in 1994, this banger of a Christmas album from American Pop goddess Mariah Carey contains a mixture of jingly up-tempo numbers and has a couple of Christmas ballads thrown in for good measure. The album is a mixture of originals and fun festive covers. Stand out tracks are the best selling, sing-a-long classics such as “All I Want For Christmas Is You”.
Artist: Mariah Carey
Release date: 28 October 1994
Recorded: December 1993 – August 1994
Producer: Mariah Carey; Walter Afanasieff; Loris Holland
3. Elvis Presley – Elvis’ Christmas Album
Spending four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, Elvis Presley has no doubt released one of the best Christmas albums of all time. The album went on to sell nearly 20 million copies in various editions and consists of a multitude of popular Christmas songs, including a few traditional Christmas carols. It truly is a wonderful mix of rock and roll classics, guaranteed to get you swinging this Christmas!
Artist: Elvis Presley
Release date: 15 October 1957
Recorded: January 12-13 and 19, September 5-7, 1957
Studio: RCA Victor
4. Michael Buble – Christmas
Michael Bublé is undoubtedly one of our generation’s most popular holiday crooners. And for good reason; his multi-platinum 2011 ‘Christmas’ album was his best-selling release in the U.S. The album features a selection of old and new festive tunes, including a stripped back cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and a light-hearted rendition of “Jingle Bells”.
Artist: Michael Bublé
Release date: 21 October 2011
Recorded: January–February, Late June-Early August 2011
Studio: Capitol Studios
5. Kelly Clarkson – Wrapped in Red
Wrapped in Red consists of sixteen lively Christmas tracks, featuring five original songs from the well-loved American country-pop icon. While the original songs breathe a certain freshness into this Christmas album, that’s hard to find in compilations of covers, It’s hard to beat her cover of the classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” featuring the outstanding, Ronnie Dunn.
Artist: Kelly Clarkson
Release date: 25 October 2013
Recorded: May–September 2013
Length: 46:49 (Standard); 51:43 (Deluxe)
6. John Legend – A Legendary Christmas
John Legend’s first holiday album features a wealth of age-old Christmas treasures (including the toe-tapping “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”) His soulful tones bring a new life to, what some would consider, a pick of dusty Christmas carols. Not your traditional take on a Christmas album, but nonetheless extremely refreshing.
Artist: John Legend
Release date: 26 October 2018
Label: Columbia Records
Producers: John Legend, Raphael Saadiq (exec.)
7. James Brown – James Brown’s Funky Christmas
A spectacular compilation of the best songs from James Brown’s three earlier Christmas albums, guaranteed to have you dancing this Christmas season. Like no Christmas party would be complete without Eggnog, no Christmas party should be without this funky Christmas corker either.
Artist: James Brown
Release date: 3 October 1995
Producer: James Brown
Label: PolyGram Records
8. Charlie Brown Christmas
Back in the 1960s when Charles M. Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts had become a sensation worldwide, everyone wanted a piece of the Charlie Brown phenomenon. Soundtrack to the Christmas television special, Charlie Brown Christmas, this unique album was brought into our homes by legendary American jazz pianist, Vince Guaraldi and is now considered one of the most beloved Christmas albums worldwide.
Release date: December 1965
Recorded: : October 1964 (“Linus and Lucy”); September–October 1965;
Movie: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Studio: Fantasy Recording Studios, San Francisco, California
Genres: Christmas music, Jazz, Smooth jazz, Cool jazz, West Coast jazz
9. A Motown Christmas
A Motown Christmas is a compilation album, originally released by Motown Records featuring festive singles and album tracks recorded by a select few of the record label’s artists from the 1960s and 70s. This is an essential seasonal playlist, best played on Vinyl for the real old school vibes and perfect sounds and definitely up there with the best Christmas albums of all time.
Release date: 25 September 1973
Genres: Christmas music, Soul music, Bubblegum music
10. Frank Sinatra – A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra
Our favourite smooth-voiced crooner, and arguably the most important musical figure of the 20th century, brings us some festive cheer with his unique classic covers of all our favourite Chistmas songs. Stand-out tracks include the deep, soulful sounds of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “The Christmas Song”. A very jolly Christmas guaranteed.
Artist: Frank Sinatra
Release date: 21 September 1957
Recorded: May 1 – July 10, 1957
Genre: Christmas music
11. Louis Armstrong and Friends – The Best of Christmas Songs
The instrumental rendition of “Jingle Bells” and the playful “Zat You, Santa Claus?” give this album an outstanding amount of Christmas punch. Far from your usual Christmas Album, Louis Armstrong gathers some of his most talented musical friends (we are talking legends such as Peggy Lee and Lena Horne!) to produce one of the best Christmas albums of all time. A total classic.
Release date: 7 December 2011
Label: Christmas History
Genres: Jazz, Pop
12. Beach Boys – Beach Boys’ Christmas Album
Split between rock-styled recordings and more traditional performances featuring some outstanding orchestration, this is a must-have for all fans of an upbeat singalong Christmas. Combining two of our favorite things, The Beach Boys and Christmas, with this album on your festive playlist you won’t go too far wrong.
Artist: The Beach Boys
Release date: 9 November 1964
Producer: Brian Wilson
Genre: Christmas music
13. Very Special Christmas
The single most successful benefit recording in musical history, A Very Special Christmas brings together the biggest and brightest voices in the recording industry to create a holiday album, raising funds for The Special Olympics. Top tunes include “Run Rudolph Run” a fun, upbeat festive cracker by Johnny Marks, and with all proceeds going to a worthwhile cause, this is definitely one for your Christmas list this year.
Artist: Jimmy Iovine
Release date: 12 October 1987
Producer: Jimmy Iovine
Label: A&M Records
Genre: Christmas music
14. Johnny Cash – Christmas With Johnny Cash
In 2003, the year Johnny Cash sadly passed away, Sony released this incredible collection of Christmas songs initially released between 1962 and 1980. “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” are stand-out tracks due to the power and depth of his voice. And there’s even an autobiographical number thrown in there “Christmas as We Knew It,” which he wrote about his poor family in rural Arkansas. If you like your Christmas albums raw and poignant this is the one for you!
Artist: Johnny Cash
Release date: 4 December 1972
Producer: Larry Butler
Label: CBS Records International
Genre: Christmas music
15. Kylie Minogue – Kylie Christmas
Kylie Christmas is the first Christmas album, by Australian pop goddess Kylie Minogue. This tiny fan favourite has stuffed this album to the brim with 13 songs plus 3 bonus tracks, each one as good as the next. “Santa Baby” which appeared on her early 2000 single “Please Stay” has finally come into its own right on this album and is, without a doubt, the Christmas track you’ll be singing all summer long!
Artist: Kylie Minogue
Release date: 13 November 2015
Recorded: 2000, 2015
16. Justin Bieber – Under the Mistletoe
Many pop singers throughout the years have tried to put a contemporary twist on our traditional Christmas faves. Justin Bieber, of course, has completely nailed it with his upbeat pop stonkers and understated midtempo ballads like “Mistletoe”, which hit No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. One of the best new Christmas albums of all time.
Artist: Justin Bieber
Release date: 1 November 2011
17. Taylor Swift – The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection
Our favourite American sweetheart has curated a spectacular collection of country versions of pop classics and traditional carols. Swift throws in some melancholy heartfelt originals like “Christmases When You Were Mine,” with relatable lyrics and her sweet pop tones. This 21st Century seasonal album will be sure to be on Christmas playlists for centuries to come.
Artist: Taylor Swift
Release date: 14 October 2007
Recorded: May–August 2007
Label: Big Machine Records
18. Destiny’s Child – 8 Days of Christmas
Three Christmas originals, including the moving a cappella “Opera of the Bells”, bring a brand new take to the traditional Christmas albums of eras gone by. Some fun renditions of Xmas classics, re-arranged with up-tempo beats in their well known contemporary R&B vibes complete this Destiny’s Child album in style. I mean, who doesn’t love a bit of Beyonce at Christmas?
Artist: Destiny’s Child
Release date: 30 October 2001
Recorded: July 2000; July–September 2001
Producers: Damon Elliott, Focus…, Rob Fusari, Beyoncé, Willie Morris, Ric Wake, Erron Williams
Genres: Pop music, Christmas music, Contemporary R&B
19. August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin’ Hill
One for the head-bangers, metalcore legends August Burns Red’s instrumental Christmas album Sleddin’ Hill is absolutely brutal. Produced by Carson Slovak, the album takes the classic holiday songs we’ve come to love and reimagines them in a completely new way. Circle pits on Christmas anyone?
Artist: August Burns Red
Release date: 9 October 2012
Producer: Carson Slovak
Recorded: March 12 – March 30, 2012
20. A Christmas Gift For You – Phil Spektor
On oldie but a goodie, Phil Spektor treats our ears by adding his famous “Wall of Sound” treatment to some of our favourite Christmas classics, such as “Frosty The Snowman” and “Silent Night”. His selections feature vocal performances from regular artists that he worked with at the time, including the incredible vocals of Darlene Love and the gritty sounds of The Ronettes.
Release date: 22 November 1963
Producer: Phil Spector
Recorded: September–October 1963
Label: Philles Records
Studio: Gold Star Studios, Hollywood
What are the most popular christmas carols?
Jingle Bells and Silent Night are two of the most popular Christmas carols, often covered by popular artists for seasonal Christmas albums.
Who sings White Christmas?
White Christmas is an Irving Berlin song, recorded in 1942. The most famous version by Bing Crosby is now the worlds best selling single of all time.
What’s the best Christmas Album ever?
From Bing Crosby to Elvis Presley, some of our greats have brought out award-winning Christmas albums filled with original songs and covers of Christmas classics.