A Fan’s Best of Christmas Music Lists

I collect Christmas music. I have been doing so since I was a teenager, and it’s become something of an obsession. I now have nearly 300 albums of Christmas music, spanning every musical genre and era.

Choosing the best of the albums and songs is not an easy task – and obviously highly subjective. But I guess I am as qualified as anyone to do so. Here then are my “best of” lists of Christmas music (this is a work in progress – latest update 13 Dec 2017):

To get into these lists the songs and albums need something distinctive, they are musically excellent (even if I don’t particularly like the style), they must not be cheesy (so, no Boney M then), and they must capture the Christmas spirit (festive or reflective). I also favoured variety (so that my list of top albums didn’t dominate the individual songs list too much). The final criteria is that I included not just popular musicians, but Christian artists and worship albums as well – it is Christ-mas, after all.

These lists are going to be updated regularly, and change as I get suggestions and come across new songs and albums (and get slapped down for my initial choices). I’d love to hear your suggestions for these lists, and any songs or albums you think are better than the ones in my lists below.

Please remember that it’s actually impossible to create a “best of” list of Christmas songs. It’s actually better to be clear on what musical styles you prefer, and then get the best Christmas album in those styles. It’s also a good idea to select the best version of each Christmas song you like. That’s what I’ve done below, knowing full well there is not one chance that any list of “best Christmas songs” will ever be satisfactory. There are just too many musical genres competing for attention.

So, add your voice below.

Xmas Baubles

Best Christmas Albums Overall (excluding compilations)

Chosen because album brings the specific artist’s style to Christmas songs, is distinctive, has at least one original song on it – and also takes into account everything I said above. I have also favoured genre diversity in this list, including many albums of church and worship music.

Artist Album Year Buy Album
1. Pentatonix a. A Pentatonix Christmas

b. That’s Christmas to Me

c. PTXmas

2016

2014

2014





2. Michael Bublé Christmas (Special Deluxe Edition) 2011
3. Francesca Battistelli Christmas 2012
4. Lincoln Brewster Joy to the World 1999
5. Mariah Carey Merry Christmas 1994
6. Michael W. Smith a. The Spirit of Christmas

b. Christmas

c. It’s a Wonderful Christmas

2014

1989

2007

7. Steven Curtis Chapman a. Music Of Christmas

b. Joy

1995

2012

8. CeeLo Green CeeLo’s Magic Moment 2012
9. The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir A Brooklyn Tabernacle Christmas 2010
10a. Andy Williams Christmas with Andy Williams
(Best of the many Christmas albums Andy recorded)
This is my choice of the old classic crooners
2002 / 2014
10b. Frank Sinatra A Jolly Christmas
(now mainly available as Best of albums)
I’m cheating a bit on this list, but this is a Christmas classic in the crooner style
11. Casting Crowns Peace on Earth 2008
12. Paul Baloche Christmas Worship – Volumes 1 and 2 2013 and 2015 1:
2:
13. Andrea Bocelli My Christmas 2009
14. Meredith Andrews Receive Our King 2017
15. Sidewalk Prophets Merry Christmas To You 2013
16. Celine Dion These are Special Times 1992
17. Joe McElderry Classic Christmas 2011
18. Celtic Women a. A Christmas Celebration

b. Christmas
2006

2015

19. TobyMac Christmas In Diverse City 2011
20. Keith and Kristyn Getty Joy – An Irish Christmas 2012
21. a, b, c and d. Classical style bests:
John Rutter

ex Cathedra

Kings College Choir

Libera

Classical style is not my best at Christmas, but I know it is for some. I cannot choose between these four superb albums/groups.

The John Rutter Christmas Album (feat The Cambridge Singers)

Joy In the Morning

Essential Carols – The Very Best of King’s College, Cambridge

Libera: The Christmas Album

2002

2009

2011

2011

22. James Brown James Brown’s Funky Christmas 1986
23. Matthew West The Heart of Christmas

Unto Us

2011

2016

24. Rod Stewart Merry Christmas, Baby 2012
25. Ed Jordan, Shaluza Max, Bongani Masuku et al African Christmas 2005 The single is available:
26. Dustin Kensrue This Good Night Is Still Everywhere 2008
27. Michael Bennett & The Dixieland Ramblers Gumbo Christmas 2003
28. Christina Aguilera My Kind of Christmas 2000
29. Chris Botti December 2002
30. She & Him A Very She & Him Christmas 2011
31. The Carpenters Carpenters Christmas Collection 1984
32. Jessica Simpson ReJoyce – The Christmas Album 2004
33. Bing Crosby Many different albums recorded

Best Selection: Christmas Classics (Digitally Remastered)

2006
34. Brett Elredge Glow 2016
35. Mindy Smith My Holiday 2014
36. Phil Driscoll Heaven and Nature Swing 1993
37. Josh Groban Noël 2007
38. Mark Feehily Christmas 2017
39. Jackson 5 Ultimate Christmas Collection 2009 (this edition)
40. Smalltown Poets Christmas Time Again 2014

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xmas holly

Best Version of Each Christmas Song

Some songs were too difficult to choose between or the genres so different that I’ve included multiple “best of” options below. Help me choose between them by adding to the comments below.

Song Name Artist/Album YouTube video
African Christmas Ed Jordan
African Christmas
All is well Michael W. Smith (feat. Carrie Underwood)
The Spirit of Christmas
All I Want For Christmas Is You Mariah Carey
Merry Christmas
Angels, From the Realms Of Glory / Emmanuel Paul Baloche
Christmas Worship Vol 2
Angels We Have Heard On High (mental version) David Crowder Band
Oh For Joy
Angels We Have Heard On High (traditional version) Josh Grobin (feat. Brian McKnight)
Noël
The Angel Song Jaci Velasquez
Christmas
A Strange Way to Save the World 4HIM
Christmas the Season of Love
Ave Maria December
Chris Botti
Away In A Manger It’s Christmas
Hillsong (2001)
Baby It’s Cold Outside Jessica Simpson feat. Nick Lachey
ReJoyce – The Christmas Album
Baby It’s Cold Outside Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé
Christmas Wishes
Blue Christmas Michael Bublé
Christmas
Born That We May Have Life Chris Tomlin
Glory in the Highest
Born Unto Us Today Philips, Craig and Dean
Hope for all the world
Breath of Heaven Amy Grant
The Christmas Collection
Breath of Heaven Kutless
This Is Christmas EP 2011
Carol Of The Bells Pentatonix
PTXmas
Christmas Is Francesca Battistelli
Christmas
Christmas Is All in the Heart Steven Curtis Chapman
Music Of Christmas
Christmas is Coming Jason Gray
Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding Joy
The Christmas Song / Chestnuts Roasting (slow version) Adam Kersh
NorthPoint Christmas: Let There Be Light
The Christmas Song / Chestnuts Roasting (slow version) Evan Wickham
Christmas Music Vol. 1
The Christmas Song / Chestnuts Roasting (slow version) Michael Bublé
Christmas (Special Deluxe Edition)
The Christmas Song / Chestnuts Roasting (slow version) Les Brown (sung by Doris Day)
1946
The Christmas Song / Chestnuts Roasting (slow version) Ne-Yo & Tasha Cobbs
Motown Christmas (2014)
The Christmas Song / Chestnuts Roasting (slow version) *NSYNC
The Meaning of Christmas (2002)
The Christmas Song / Chestnuts Roasting (slow version) Pentatonix
PTXmas (2013)
The Christmas Song / Chestnuts Roasting (quick version) Chicago
Chicago Christmas – What’s It Gonna Be, Santa?
The Christmas Song / Chestnuts Roasting (quick version) Francesca Battistelli
Christmas (2012)
The Christmas Song / Chestnuts Roasting (quick version) The Overtones
Good Ol’ Fashioned Christmas (2015)
Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) Michael Buble
Christmas
Christmas Offering Paul Baloche
Christmas Worship
Christmas This Year Toby Mac feat. Leigh Nash
Christmas In Diverse City
Christmas Time is Here Terry Butler and Smitty Price
Yuletide Blend – Songs for Christmas (2003)
Deck The Halls
Ding Dong Merrily On High Rend Collective
Campfire Christmas, Vol. 1
Do They Know It’s Christmas?
Do You Hear What I Hear? Steven Curtis Chapman
Joy
Do You Hear What I Hear? Lincoln Brewster
Joy to the World
Do You Hear What I Hear? Glee cast
Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album, Vol. 2 (2011)
Do You Hear? James David Carter
North Point Christmas (2010)
Driving Home For Christmas Chris Rea
The Christmas EP
Fairytale Of New York The Pogues Featuring Kirsty MacColl
Feliz Navidad
The First Noel
Frosty The Snow Man
Glow Brett Eldredge
Glow
Go Tell It On The Mountain (medley: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough) Motown Christmas (2014 album)
Gregory Porter & Anita Wilson
No Video available
iTunes Link
God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
Good Christian Men, Rejoice
Good King Wenceslas
GreenSleeves
Hallelujah A Pentatonix Christmas
Pentatonix
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing Lincoln Brewster
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Kelly Clarkson
Wrapped in Red
Heaven Everywhere Francesca Battistelli
Christmas
Holly Jolly Christmas
I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
I’ll Be Home For Christmas (slow version) Michael Bublé
Christmas
I’ll Be Home For Christmas (upbeat version) Chris August
WOW Christmas 2013
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus The Jackson 5
Ultimate Christmas Collection
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear Kutless
This Is Christmas EP
It Really Is a Wonderful Life Mindy Smith
My Holiday (2007)
It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas
I wish it could be Christmas every day Wizzard
Jingle Bell Rock
Jingle Bells Andrea Bocelli (feat The Muppets)
My Christmas
Joy To The World Mariah Carey
Merry Christmas
Joy To The World Francesca Battistelli
Christmas
Joy To The World Steven Curtis Chapman
Joy
Joy To The World Phil Driscoll
Let Heaven and Nature Swing
Joy To The World Keith and Kristyn Getty
Joy, An Irish Christmas
Let It Snow
Little Drummer Boy Audio Adrenaline
WOW Christmas 2002
Little Drummer Boy Walk Off the Earth
iTunes Sessions single (2013)
Merry Christmas, Everyone Slade
The Magic of Christmas Day (God Bless Us Everyone) Celine Dion
These Are Special Times
Mary’s Boy Child
Mr. Grinch
Noel Christ Tomlin (feat. Lauren Daigle)
Adore
O Christmas Tree
O Come, All Ye Faithful
O Come, O Come Emmanuel Smalltown Poets
Christmas
iTunes Link
O Holy Night Christina Aguilera
My Kind of Christmas
O Little Town of Bethlehem (traditional)
The trumpet part won me over…
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa & BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Downton Abbey Christmas
iTunes Link
O Little Town of Bethlehem (alternative / worship) Roy Schenkenberger
A Christmas Together
O Little Town of Bethlehem (jazz) Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Let It Swing: A Jazz Christmas with Verve
O Tannenbaum Nat King Cole
The Christmas Song
River Joni Mitchell
Blue (1971)
Rocking Around The Christmas Tree Rockin’ Rudolph
Brian Setzer Orhcestra
Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer Barry Manilow
In the Swing of Christmas
Santa Baby The Puppini Sisters
Christmas Wish
No video available
iTunes Link
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town Justin Bieber
Under the Mistletoe (2011)
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
(Slow version)
The Carpenters
Santa Will Find You Mindy Smith
My Holiday
Shout for Joy Lincoln Brewster
Joy to the World
Silent Night Idina Menzil
Christmas Wishes
Silent Night by Chewbacca (warning, only for Star Wars fans) Just for fun
Silver Bells Barry Manilow
Sleigh Ride
Sweet Little Jesus Boy Peace on Earth
Casting Crowns
The Twelve Days Of Christmas
This is Love Christmas Worship
Paul Baloche
Tiny Little Christmas Holiday Best
The Blenders
We Three Kings of Orient Are Joy
Steven Curtis Chapman
What a Glorious Night Christmas
Sidewalk Prophets
What Child Is This? Christmas
Francesca Battistelli
When A Child Is Born Joe McElderry
Classic Christmas (2011)
While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks Liberia: The Christmas Album
Liberia
White Christmas A Pentatonix Christmas (2016)
Pentatonix
No video
iTunes Link
Winter Wonderland Symphonic Rock Christmas
The Festival Rock Orchestra

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Xmas string

and About Entertainment’s Top 100 Christmas Songs (updated 2015)

Top Ten Best Christmas Songs

Song Album / Artist Year Video / Buy Album
While you wait for this list, check out HuffPost’s excellent “Twenty Christmas Songs You Never Get Tired Of
Coming soon

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Top Ten Best Versions of Christmas Carols

Song Album / Artist Year Buy Album
Go Tell It On The Mountain / Ain’t No Mountain High Enough Motown Christmas 2014 https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/motown-christmas/id919306083
Joy to the World Lincoln Brewster, Joy to the World https://youtu.be/Zn3XjPMaXP0?list=RDZn3XjPMaXP0
More coming soon

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Best Modern Christmas Carols

Song Album / Artist Year Buy Album
Noel Adore
Chris Tomlin (feat. Lauren Daigle)
2015
Shout for Joy Originally Paul Baloche, done best by Lincoln Brewster
Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heavens Joy – An Irish Christmas, Keith and Kristyn Getty 2011
A Christmas Alleluia Adore
Chris Tomlin (feat. Lauren Daigle)
2015
Born That We May Have Life Glory in the Highest
Chris Tomlin
2011
Born Unto Us Today Philips, Craig and Dean
Hope for all the world

More coming soon

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Xmas

Best Compilation Christmas Albums

Album Name Description Year Buy Album
A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector British focused
The Playlist – Christmas Hits 2015 Pop new and old 2015
Christmas Is… Jesus Various 2013
Ring The Bells Various 2013
A Very Special Christmas 25th Anniversary

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Xmas Lights

Best Christmas Albums Per Genre

Genre Artist Album Buy Album
a Capella Pentatonix PTXMas

That’s Christmas to Me

Acoustic
Boy Band *NSYNC Home for Christmas
Big Band Big Band Holidays
Wynton Marsalis & Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra
2015
Bluegrass David Crowder Band Oh For Joy
Blues Various Alligator Records Christmas Collection
Blues B. B. King Best Of B.B. King: The Christmas Collection (also called A Christmas Celebration of Hope)
Blues Dustin Kensrue This Good Night Is Still Everywhere
Cabaret Kylie Minogue Kylie Christmas
Calypso
Celtic Celtic Women a. A Christmas Celebration

b. Christmas

Choral Libera Libera: The Christmas Album
Classical Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Sir Andrew Davis & Sir David Willcocks Essential Carols – The Very Best of King’s College, Cambridge
Country
Dance
Disco
Dixie Michael Bennett & The Dixieland Ramblers Gumbo Christmas
Folk
Funk James Brown James Brown’s Funky Christmas
Gospel Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir A Brooklyn Tabernacle Christmas
Hip Hop TobyMac Christmas in Diverse City
Jazz
Irish Folk Keith and Kristyn Getty Joy: An Irish Christmas
Lounge Lounge Music Café Christmas 2013 Lounge Music Cafe
Lullabies Fred Mollin Disney’s Christmas Lullabies
Metal Twisted Sister have an entire live Christmas album.

Best compilation album is “We Wish You a Metal Xmas” (2009)

A Twisted Christmas

We Wish You a Metal Christmas

Twisted Sister album:

Metal Xmas:

Motown Various A Motown Christmas
Nu Metal A Very Korn Kristmas Korn Get a sense of this album here
Opera
Orchestral
Pop
Punk
Rap
Reggae
R&B Christina Aguilera
Rock Lincoln Brewster
Ska MU330 Winter Wonderland
Soul Andrae Crouch The Gift of Christmas
Swing Phil Driscoll Heaven and Nature Swing
Swing Punk The Puppini Sisters Christmas with the Puppini Sisters
Tijuana Brass Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass Christmas Album

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xmas birds

Best Medleys

Song Name Artist/Album YouTube video
Christmas Joy Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
A Brooklyn Tabernacle Christmas
The Angels Medley: The First Noel/Angels We Have Heard On High/Hark the Herald Angel Sing Avalon
Joy: A Christmas Collection

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Xmas string

Best Christmas Concerts (Full YouTube videos)

Artist Year Video / Buy Album
For King and Country 2016
Mariah Carey 2014
More Coming soon

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Xmas garland

Best of Best Christmas Songs Lists

OK, so now we’re getting a bit “meta” here. Obviously lots of people do “best of” lists, and these are often put out to public vote. Here are my top lists of best Christmas songs:

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So, what’s your verdict? What would you add or change to the lists above?

Music



2 thoughts on “A Fan’s Best of Christmas Music Lists”

  1. Wow, what a labour of love and seriously comprehensive.

    Thanks for sharing. Perhaps my taste leans towards the classical but no Groban or Bocelli in the top 30?

    Thanks for sharing – interesting site and i will explore some more

    regards

    Andre

  2. Andre, I had not heard Bocelli’s album. Listened to it today, and agree completely. I also realised that Pentatonix was not on my list. Good grief. That’s been sorted. Updated the Best albums list today.

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