Holiday Albums To Get You Into the Christmas Spirit
From holiday ballads by Kristin Chenoweth and Josh Groban to pop hits by Mariah Carey and Taylor Swift
Usually by the third week of November, I’m already hip-deep in Christmas spirit. I exchange my Halloween playlist for my Christmas one, put up lights and décor, and sink under the covers marathoning Christmas movies. But this year is different—there’s a global pandemic, we’re all stuck in quarantine, and a lot of us are away from our families. Still, during times like these, I like to turn to the healing power of music, and what better way to usher in the Christmas spirit than by listening to classic, well-loved holiday albums?
Here, we round-up 12 albums to get you into the Christmas spirit.
A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas, Kristin Chenoweth
Kristin Chenoweth’s Christmas album features her own sweeping, lush rendition of Christmas classics like “Silver Bells,” “The Christmas Waltz,” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” It’s a well-produced, romantic album that doesn’t sound dated, even twelve years later. Play it in dim lighting over a glass of wine with your beloved.
Holiday Wishes, Idina Menzel
Idina Menzel’s first Christmas album also features well-known holiday classics, from “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “The Christmas Song,” and “Silent Night,” but she also sings other selections like Joni Mitchell’s “River” and “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio. Holiday Wishes is both poppy and jazzy, and is perfect to dance to—whether slow or fast. Between me and you, though, her best ‘holiday’ song is found in her second Christmas album, Christmas: A Season of Love, where she sings a big, rich version of “Seasons of Love” from RENT.
A Holly Dolly Christmas, Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton has multiple Christmas albums, but she recently released a new one this year, called Holly Dolly Christmas (as well as a new film, Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square—available on Netflix!). In this new record, Dolly collaborates with musicians like Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, Michael Bublé, and Willie Nelson, and covers songs like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Mary, Did You Know?”.
Noël, Josh Groban
Josh Groban’s holiday album Noël features duets with Brian McKnight and Faith Hill, and includes more classic ballads, like “Little Drummer Boy,” “Ave Maria,” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”
A Christmas Album, Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand’s Christmas Album features what is probably my favorite holiday tune of all time—“Jingle Bells?”, a chaotic, high-powered romp of a song that is perfect for dance parties where you just want to dance goofily. Streisand also sings “The Lord’s Prayer” and “My Favorite Things,” among others.
The Hotel Café presents… Winter Songs, Various Artists
This compilation by various artists, from Sara Bareilles to Brandi Carlile and Katy Perry to Fiona Apple, features wistful and pensive versions of well-known holiday songs like “White Christmas” and “Silent Night,” as well as originals like “Winter Song” and “The Heartache Can Wait.”
Pasko nAPO, APO Hiking Society
To me, it isn’t the holiday season until I hear APO Hiking Society’s “Himig Ng Pasko.” This album features Pinoy Christmas classics, from “Tuloy Na Tuloy Pa Rin Ang Pasko” to “Pasko Na, Sinta Ko / Miss Kita Kung Christmas.” This is the perfect record if you’re feeling nostalgic about Christmas in the Philippines, wherever you may be.
Merry Christmas, Mariah Carey
Merry Christmas, by Mariah Carey, features the most beloved pop Christmas tune, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Carey shows off her powerful vocals and range in this record that includes songs like “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)” and “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”
Ingrid Michaelson’s Songs For The Season, Ingrid Michaelson
If you’re looking for indie Christmas music, look no further than Ingrid Michaelson’s Songs For The Season, an album of 12 songs from “White Christmas” with Christina Perri to “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve.”
A Very She & Him Christmas, She & Him
She & Him, a musical duo featuring Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, is also a great go-to musical act for some indie pop Christmas music. Their album, A Very She & Him Christmas, features songs like “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Little Saint Nick” in Deschanel’s distinct timbre.
The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection, Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s holiday album features songs from “Last Christmas” to “Santa Baby,” all produced with that distinct and iconic country Swift vibe.
Wintersong, Sarah McLachlan
Sarah McLachlan’s holiday album features songs like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and is overall a thoughtful, quiet, moving record.
Lead photos from Amazon