The Top 10 Christmas Albums Of All Time

The title of this post is a large pill to swallow, I know – especially considering the number of Christmas albums out there, and the number of new ones released every year. Still, of the scores of albums of Christmas music out there new and old, these ten are the absolute tops as far as I’m concerned.

So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the Top 10 Best Christmas Albums Of All Time (note: I didn’t include compilation albums – those seem to me to have an unfair advantage in that they can pick the best songs from a wide variety of albums, and I thought a level playing field best):

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  • A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector (Various Artists) 1 of 10
    A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector (Various Artists)
    Believe it or not, Spector's "wall of sound" production translates well to holiday tunes, and the do-wop girl group harmonies are naturally bright and cheery, if not "warm." Must hear track: Darlene Love's plaintive version of "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)."
  • A Christmas Together – John Denver & The Muppets 2 of 10
    A Christmas Together - John Denver & The Muppets
    One of the best things the Muppets have ever done was team up with John Denver for this mellow, light-hearted Christmas album. Must hear track: "The Twelve Days of Christmas" wherein each Muppet takes turns belting out one of the days.
  • A Very She & Him Christmas – She & Him 3 of 10
    A Very She & Him Christmas - She & Him
    The newest album on this list has a very old, standards feeling, perfect for snuggling up by the tree with some hot cocoa and a loved one. Must hear track: their jazzy, languid rendition of "The Christmas Waltz" is an instant classic.
  • Charlie Brown Christmas - Vince Guaraldi Trio 4 of 10
    Charlie Brown Christmas - Vince Guaraldi Trio
    What would Christmas be without this album? A sparkling, rich, jazz piano based collection that IS the holidays to many of us. Must hear track: a tie between two of the album's fantastic original compositions: "Skating" and "Linus and Lucy".
  • Christmas Collection – Carpenters 5 of 10
    Christmas Collection - Carpenters
    That voice, that voice. Karen Carpenter's voice was made to sing the holiday classics. And though some may feel that these songs at times veer toward overly-sweet corniness, listening to this album is like taking a Christmas Happy Pill, and there's nothing corny about that. Must hear track: their buoyant rendition of "Sleigh Ride" will get your feet tappin' and put a smile on the most dour face.
  • Ella Wishes You A Swingin’ Christmas – Ella Fitzgerald 6 of 10
    Ella Wishes You A Swingin' Christmas - Ella Fitzgerald
    Ella brings sexy back to Christmas with languid, swinging renditions of some holiday greats. Must hear track: perhaps the most velvety and sensuous version of "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" you've ever heard. Jackpot.
  • Have a Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives 7 of 10
    Have a Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives
    Nostalgiafest, ahoy! Burl Ives, Mister Christmas himself, brings back all your childhood Christmas TV Special memories in just 12 little songs. Must hear track: try to get through the title track, "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" without bursting into song. I dare you.
  • Merry Christmas – Johnny Mathis 8 of 10
    Merry Christmas - Johnny Mathis
    My favorite Christmas album, bar none, and the one that most evokes my own Christmas memories. Johnny Mathis's voice is like buttah, and everything about this album makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Must hear track: a sparkling gem filled with Mathis's trade mark warble and drone, "Winter Wonderland" is pure magic.
  • Songs for Christmas – Sufjan Stevens 9 of 10
    Songs for Christmas - Sufjan Stevens
    A little bit emo, a little bit Jesus-y, but all heart, this is a must-have (and an incredible bargain - a 5 box set for under $16!). Must hear track: the mournful-to-majestic transformation in the song "Sister Winter" will make your heart leap and your spirit soar.
  • White Christmas – Bing Crosby 10 of 10
    White Christmas - Bing Crosby
    Oh, Bing. A classic without parallel, this album showcases Crosby's rich, one-of-kind voice and interpretive style. No one's collection could be complete without Bing. Must hear track: it goes without saying, "White Christmas" - one of the all-time greats sung by an all-time great.

So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? What would you have on your list that I don’t? Speak your mind in comments!

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Read more from Tracey Gaughran-Perez at her personal blog Sweetney.com

 

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