Music Lists Are Us: Favorite Christmas Albums


Favorite Christmas Albums

Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey from 1994 (Yes, that one song--you know the one, is played a little too much, but there are several other tracks that are as good or better)

This is Christmas by Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler from 2011 (mostly original and several songs are worthy of being added to any holiday playlist)

A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio from 1965 (one of the few older yuletide classics still as good as ever)

Snow Angels by Over the Rhine, 2006/2007 (their second of three yuletide collections)

Someday at Christmas by Stevie Wonder 1967 (Eight originals and a few covers, too.)

Twelve Tales of Christmas by Tom Chaplin 2017 (the lead singer of UK band Keane with 8 originals)

My Holiday by Mindy Smith, 2007 (only 5 or 6 originals, but they're very strong)

It's Christmas, of Course by Darlene Love, 2007 (not originals, but a well-curated selection absent of treacly moldy oldies)

Christmas by Bruce Cockburn, 1993 (only one original, but it's a really good one.  And the covers include a few that need to be heard a lot more often and some really nice arrangements that freshen up the old familiars.

Llego Navidad by Los Lobos, 2019 (although mostly covers, they are less familiar ones, to me at least)

One Christmas at a Time by Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick, 2012 (all original and mostly humorous; it probably doesn't have many songs worthy of classic status, but one track made it on to the O.C.'s Chrismukkah playlist/soundtrack which is worth noting; it almost makes this list on it's own)

Blood Oranges in the Snow by Over the Rhine 2015 (their 3rd of 3 Christmas albums; their first Christmas album is alright too, but has a slightly higher percentage of covers)

Christmas With the Smithereens by The Smithereens, 2007 (only three original songs but the covers were chosen with the idea of reintroducing some under-heard gems)

Socks by JD McPherson, 2018 (11 originals with a mostly rockabilly feel--every one is better than 98% of the seasonal songs they play on the radio)

The Promise: A Celebration of Christ's Birth by Michael Card 1991 (For believers who want reverent, non-secular Christmas songs, this is for you.  No Santa songs here; if you are a concerned about the "real meaning of Christmas", you can't do much better than this)

A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All by various artists (Stephen Colbert, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Jon Stewart, and Feist) 2008 (okay this one is a less serious suggestion. It's the soundtrack to Stephen Colbert 's 2008 TV Christmas special, and it's irreverent and comedic; if that sounds like your style, check it out, but I don't expect to hear these on the radio)

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