Whether you’re trying to get a head-start on Christmas preparations, or you just love Christmas music at any time of year, we’ve created a list of the 10+ best Christmas albums.
How We Chose Our Ratings
We’ve rated the albums according to reviews and ratings from customers and music fans around the world. Though we have our own musical preferences, we reviewed these albums without bias to give you the most honest and accurate ratings possible.
18 Best Christmas Albums
Whitney Houston—One Wish: The Holiday Album
The late, great Whitney Houston had a legendary voice. While some people claim that her vocal range ranged up to five octaves—one of the largest vocal ranges of all-time—experts agree that her usual range was around three octaves.
Whitney’s rich voice transformed these Christmas classics into something amazing. In addition to her pure skill, the emotion she put into each song will leave you breathless. Both fans and the music industry miss her dearly.
Mariah Carey—Merry Christmas
Mariah Carey was Whitney’s biggest contemporary vocal rival, so it’s no surprise they ended up right next to each other on our list of the best Christmas albums. Mariah’s angelic voice has been captivating audiences for almost 30 years.
In 1994, Mariah Carey released one of the best-selling Christmas albums of all time. Listeners were stunned by her renditions of traditional Christmas songs like “O Holy Night” and “Joy to the World,” and her poppy version of “All I Want for Christmas is You” became an instant hit. The album is still widely available in record stores around Christmas, 14 years after its release, proving how timeless it is.
Christmas At Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey was a massively popular PBS series that takes place in the early 20th century, around the time of World War I. Christmas at Downton Abbey seeks to recreate the feeling of the holidays during this period in Great Britain.
With a selection of classic hymns, along with original songs by the series' composer John Lunn, you'll feel transported back in time. There are performances of traditional hymns by some of the cast, along with a spoken-word Christmas story by Jim Carter (who played Mr. Carson on the show). You'll want to snuggle up by the fire with a warm cup of cocoa while listening to this album.
The Carpenters—Christmas Portrait
The Carpenters were the pop/rock duo of Karen and Richard Carpenter, siblings from California, who saw critical and popular success in the 1970s and early 1980s, before Karen’s tragic death in 1983. They’re one of the best-selling musical acts of all time, even though they haven’t released any albums in almost 35 years.
Released in 1978, Christmas Portrait is the first (but not the last) Christmas album recorded by the Carpenters. Shortly after its release, the Carpenters performed in a televised Christmas special of the same name on ABC. Their single "Merry Christmas, Darling" became an instant classic and reached #1 on Billboard's list of best-selling Christmas songs.
Enya—And Winter Came
Enya is Ireland’s second-best-selling musical artist of all time—behind U2—and she’s one of the most successful female musicians in the world. Her haunting, ethereal voice and Celtic-inspired music brought her massive success in the 1980s and 90s.
And Winter Came was released in 2008, and contains mostly original compositions, though there are two traditional Christmas songs as well. Many customers consider it the most haunting and spiritual Christmas-themed album of all time.
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton—Once Upon a Christmas
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton are two of the most popular country music artists of all time. They’ve both been performing since the 1950s, and they still actively record and perform, even though they’re both in their 70s now.
Once Upon a Christmas was the album that accompanied a television special called A Christmas to Remember, which aired in 1984. Though the special hasn't seen release on VHS or DVD, the album has sold more than a million copies and topped both the country and Christmas Billboard charts.
New age, neoclassical music group Mannheim Steamroller was originally the solo project of Chip Davis but expanded over the years with the addition of other musicians and vocalists. They’re known for blending classical music with pop, rock, and new age elements.
Mannheim Steamroller originally recorded their first of many holiday albums, Christmas, in 1984. This is the album that put them on the map, and they re-released the remastered version of the album in 2012. It features modern versions of traditional Christmas classics like “We Three Kings” and “Good King Wenceslas.”
The Carpenters—Christmas Collection
A&M Records released this collection in 1998, 15 years after the death of Karen Carpenter.
“Little Altar Boy,” from An Old-Fashioned Christmas, was touted by Richard Carpenter as one of his sister Karen’s best vocal performances of all time. Every song on the album proves just how talented this brother-sister duo was, and how tragic it was that Karen was taken so young when she had so much music left to make.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra—Christmas Eve and Other Stories
Trans-Siberian Orchestra is band from Tampa, Florida, known for their unique mix of rock, metal, and classical music. They put on huge, theatrical shows features lasers, pyrotechnics, and a full string section. They’ve been selling out arenas since the very beginning, and though their lead composer Paul O’Neill passed away in 2017, they’re still one of the most successful rock bands in the world.
Christmas Eve and Other Stories was their debut album, a rock opera released in 1996. It soon became one of the best-selling Christmas albums of all time and has been certified 3x platinum. The songs feature heavy, driving rhythms inspired by prog-rock and heavy metal, along with stunning orchestral arrangements that will give you goosebumps.
Christmas With the Rat Pack
The Rat Pack was an informal music act featuring artists like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Dean Martin. In addition to performing onstage together, they also made appearances in movies like the original Oceans 11.
Christmas With the Rat Pack features Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr., who were widely considered the leading members of the Rat Pack. The album came out in 2002 and contains a compilation of recordings from various sources, such as B-sides and television performances. The album makes a great gift for diehard Rat Pack fans.
Andy Williams—The Andy Williams Christmas Album
Andy Williams was a prolific singer who recorded 43 albums over the course of his career. He also hosted a popular television variety show called The Andy Williams Show for nine years. He’s sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the most successful musicians of all time.
The Andy Williams Christmas Album is the first of eight Christmas albums Andy recorded during his long career. Its hit single “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is a classic that is still played consistently during the Christmas season. The album was the number one best-selling Christmas album for five consecutive years, according to Billboard.
Straight No Chaser—Christmas Cheers
Straight No Chaser is a musical group consisting of former Indiana University a Capella group members. They were propelled to stardom due to a video from 1998, called “The 12 Days of Christmas,” going viral on Youtube in 2008. Soon after, they signed a five-album deal with Atlantic Records.
Christmas Cheers is the group's second Christmas album and features new and classic Christmas songs with a comedic twist. It reached number 38 on the American Billboard music charts, and fans love their playful renditions of traditional songs like Jingle Bells and 12 Days of Christmas.
Kem—What Christmas Means
Kem is a popular R&B singer and songwriter from Detroit, who used spirituality and music to escape a life of homelessness and drug addiction. He has since recorded five studio albums with Motown Records, two of which have topped the Billboard R&B charts.
What Christmas Means was released in 2012, and features a mix of traditional and original songs. Kem collaborated with R&B and jazz singer Ledisi, as well as the Detroit Gospel Choir. It peaked at number nine on the Billboard R&B charts and is a favorite of R&B fans.
The Robertsons—Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas
The Robertson family is best known for their reality show Duck Dynasty, which is one of A&E’s most popular shows of all time. What some people don’t know, however, is that the Robertsons are also a talented musical family that grew up singing in church.
Duck the Halls contains traditional Christmas songs like “Away in a Manger,” contemporary classics like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and humorous originals like “Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas” Fans compare the album to the Christmas variety show specials from the 1970s, a mix of great music and southern humor.
The Piano Guys—Christmas Together
The Piano Guys are a musical group that gained popularity through their YouTube channel, where they feature orchestral mashups of pop and rock songs, along with high-quality music videos. Their Youtube channel has over one billion views, and their first six albums all reached number one on Billboard's classical music chart.
Christmas Together features mashups of classic Christmas songs like “Ave Maria/O Holy Night,” and “Little Drummer Boy/Do You Hear What I Hear,” as well as an original song dedicated to the pianist’s daughter. The Piano Guys also perform with special guests like David Archuleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Vince Guaraldi Trio—A Charlie Brown Christmas
Jazz musician Vince Guaraldi is best known for his work composing for 17 Peanuts television specials in the 1960s and 70s. His life was tragically cut short by heart trouble at the age of 47, but his legacy lives on through A Charlie Brown Christmas, which still airs every Christmas season.
For A Charlie Brown Christmas, Vince teamed up with a drummer and bassist to form the Vince Guaraldi Trio. Their jazz renditions of Christmas classics and original compositions for the television special are some of the most popular Christmas songs of all time.
Pop crooner Michael Bublé has been captivating audiences with his smooth voice for over two decades. Four consecutive albums have reached number one on America’s Billboard chart, and he’s been number one on Canada’s Billboard five times.
Christmas was released in 2011 and subsequently hit number one in every country with a Billboard chart except Switzerland. It features many traditional and contemporary Christmas classics, with duets featuring Shania Twain and The Puppini Sisters. There’s also an original song called “Cold December Night,” and the album ends with a personal Christmas greeting from Bublé to his fans.
Pentatonix—That’s Christmas to Me
A Capella pop group Pentatonix was originally formed by two high schoolers for a competition to meet the Glee cast in 2010. With the success of shows like Glee and movies like Pitch Perfect, the popularity of A Capella arrangements of popular songs has grown and launched Pentatonix into stardom. Their Youtube channel is one of the most subscribed-to channels of all time.
That’s Christmas to Me is Pentatonix’s second and most popular Christmas album. With an assortment of classics, contemporary hits, and original songs, Pentatonix proves you don’t need musical instruments to produce a great album. It’s currently one of the top-rated Christmas albums on Amazon.
As with anything Christmas-related, it’s always best to buy your music early! Prices will continue to rise as we get closer to the Christmas season. Amazon offers most of these albums in digital and CD form, and some of them are available on vinyl as well. Choose whichever option is most convenient for you.
We hope our guide to the 10+ best Christmas albums helps you find the perfect music to get you into the holiday spirit!
Last update on 2021-01-24 at 13:06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API