My 10 Favorite Holiday Albums

The BEST Holiday Christmas Music! A list of 10 favorite holiday albums to make your season merry and bright. From @wellplated

I have a Big Fat Confession. I started listening to Christmas music more than two weeks ago on a record-high, 65-degree Wisconsin day. I’m an annual breaker of the “no-Christmas-music-before-Thanksgiving” rule, and since I knew we’d be in Asia for two of the precious few weeks in the holiday music season, I decided to start early.

In the event that you share my devotion for holiday tunes, today I’m sharing a list of 10 of my favorite holiday albums. Some, like The Carpenters and Johnny Mathis, are classics that my mom played on cassette tapes in our minivan growing up. Others I’ve found through music curation sites like Pandora and Spotify. The final group? Albums I’m *moderately* embarrassed to admit that I love…but that I’ll full on rock out to anyway. Number 5 and Number 10, I’m looking at you.

Well Plated Top 10 Holiday Albums

In no particular order…

1. The Carpenters, Christmas Portrait. My childhood anthem from November to January.

2. Johnny Mathis, Merry Christmas. I was also obsessed with this song as an eight-year-old. Do not ask me why.

3. SheDaisy, Brand New Year. This album by a trio of country sisters is still a favorite for my two sisters and me.

4. Vince Guaraldi Trio, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Gotta have it.

5. N*Sync, Home For Christmas. TRACK FOUR. Forever and ever amen.

6. Leslie Odom Jr., Simply Christmas. Soulful and beautiful. If you love Michael Bublé’s Christmas album, you’ll adore this one too.

7. Alan Jackson, Let It Be Christmas. For the serious country fans. It’s a little hokey, but if we can’t be hokey at the holidays, when can we?

8. Barenaked Ladies, Barenaked for the Holidays. Still the best version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” I’ve ever heard.

9. Rufus Wainwright, The McGarrigle Christmas Hour. If you are looking for something less traditional (or if you have all the feels), check out this album. “Spotlight on Christmas” is one of my favorite Christmas songs.

And I might as well admit it…

10. Justin Bieber, Under the Mistletoe. You’ll want to hate it. Then, before you realize what’s happening, you’ll know all the words and be belting it in your car like a Broadway star. Embrace the Biebs and sing along.

I’m always on the lookout for new favorites and would love to know what you are listening to this season! Leave your ideas in the comments section below.

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…


  1. Bing Crosby has always been my favorite! It’s not Christmas without Bing!

  2. John Denver: Rocky Mountain Christmas is an all time favorite as well as Il Divo Christmas Collection. 

  3. YES to The Carpenters and Vince Guaraldi Trio!! I would have to say that Frank Sinatra’s “The Sinatra Christmas Album” is my favorite though. :)

  4. I cannot pass a Christmas season by without Harry Connick Jr – any of his (3?) Christmas albums, but the best is “When My Heart Finds Christmas.” I love the somewhat somber note it ends on with “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” a sharp contrast to the upbeat, best-ever-version of the first song,”Sleigh Ride.”

  5. I just added a bunch of Christmas music to my phone last night. Here are some of my favorite Christmas albums in no particular order: Wrapped in Red by Kelly Clarkson, Wintersong by Sarah McLachlan, These Are Special Times by Celine Dion, Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey, Christmas by Michael Buble, A Christmas Celebration by Celtic Woman, and Music from the OC: Mix 3 – Have a Very Merry Chrismukkah.

    • Lots of good ones! Thanks, Lauren!

    • Yes, the OC Mix 3 album, wonderful stuff! Glad to see someone out there still remembers and appreciates the songs this great show gave us. All the albums from this show were superb, but love that Seth came up with the term Chrismukkah, memories! :)

  6. Vince Guaraldi Trio, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and I love the James Taylor Christmas album. But your choices are awesome – am checking them out now!

  7. My favorite Christmas albums: tie for first place between Charlie Brown Christmas and The Andy Williams Christmas Album (the one with the red background). Second place goes to Harry Connick’s When My Heart Finds Christmas. For individual songs, Mariah Carey’s All I want For Christmas Is You, and the hilarious Twelve Pains of Christmas (“Now why the hell are they blinking??”). And Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer – still cracks me up. But it’s still November, and I can’t bring myself to listen to Christmas music yet! :)

  8. Man a lot of that music is nostalgic. Really gets you in the Christmas mood.

  9. Hands down, no disrespect to the classics, but the Hanson Snowed In album is still a favourite for me. There’s a medley on there that’s very special, these boys harmonize so well! :)

  10. hey girl great list!

  11. This list made me so happy, Erin! As for me, it’s not the holidays without Peter, Paul & Mary – A Holiday Celebration with the New York Choral Society. It’s definitely what I associate with Christmas eve car rides between family gatherings and church with my parents. :)

  12. Hi Erin,
    Lots of good stuff here! Here are some of my essentials:
    Ella Fitzgerald’s – Ella wishes you a swinging Christmas -great standards!
    For a mix of original and standard Christmas songs – Cindy Lauper’s “Merry Christmas….have a nice life!
    If you’re a fan of rockabilly – Brian Setzer has a number of fantastic Xmas albums -and has a really fun Christmas show -not coming here this year :-(
    If you are in the mood for classical choral music -Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Benjamin Britain’s -A Ceremony of Carols!
    I’m getting in the mood! December here we come!

  13. Love that you’re not (too) ashamed to admit that the Biebs knows how to do a Christmas album. That’s one of my favorites too!  
    I grew up listening to Amy Grant’s Home for Christmas album, that’s got a good mix of religious and non-religious songs.
    Kacey Musgraves just released a fun Christmas album with a country/Hawaiian vibe—I’ve been liking that lately and would say it’s worth a listen!

  14. Yes Erin!!!! Number 5 is amazing!!! Embrace it! :) Track 4 IS the best. 
    And I like a lot of Lauren B’s additions.

    Yay N SYNC!! :)

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