The 21 Holiday Albums I Love

Having holiday music playing in our house for nearly 1/12th of the year, I've been compelled to avoid fatigue by amassing as many choices as possible. We have our share of Christmas turkeys (I'm looking at you, Mariah Carey) but here, in descending order of preference, are the albums I am happy to hear once Thanksgiving has passed.

Artist Album
1 The Blind Boys Of Alabama Go Tell It On The Mountain
2 Glenn Dickson Klezmer Nutcracker Shirim
3 The Brian Setzer Orchestra Boogie Woogie Christmas
4 Vince Guaraldi Trio A Charlie Brown Christmas
5 Brave Combo It's Christmas, Man!
6 The Blue Hawaiians Christmas On Big Island
7 Asylum Street Spankers A Christmas Spanking
8 Pink Martini Joy To The World
9 Cyndi Lauper Merry Christmas... Have A Nice Life
10 The Klezmonauts Oy to the World: A Klezmer Christmas
11 Harry Connick, Jr. When My Heart Finds Christmas
12 Dave Brubeck A Dave Brubeck Christmas
13 The Chieftains The Bells Of Dublin
14 Squirrel Nut Zippers Christmas Caravan
15 Yomo Toro Celebremos Navidad
16 The Campbell Brothers Sacred Steel For The Holidays
17 Eric Reed Merry Magic
18 Rhoda Scott The Hammond Organ Of Christmas
19 Merry Christmas , Baby Yule B' Swingin'
20 Elvis Presley Blue Christmas
21 Louis Armstrong Christmas Through The Years


The Blind Boys album with Tom Waits, Aaron Neville and other greats is fireworks from start to stop. You may be surprised to find Cyndi Lauper on the list; her album is an artful collection of sweet and clever songs with excellent accompaniment. The Klezmonauts bring quite a bit of fun into the old chestnuts (though alas not that Chestnuts) and hearing Jingle Bells as klezmer in Yiddish is wicked fun.


Sometimes just a song or two is worth hearing. Here are some honorable mentions
Artist Album(s) Song/Info
Brave Combo Christmas Present raucous bump-n-grind Winter Wonderland with Danny's trumpet artistry
God Rest Ye a rollicking twist
O Holy Night cha-cha
The Brian Setzer Orchestra Dig That Crazy Christmas
Christmas Comes Alive
Fishnet Stockings classic rockabilly
Run Rudolph Run channels Chuck Berry
Hey Santa! New Orleans swing
AKIM & The Teddy Vann Production Company A John Waters Christmas Santa Claus Is a Black Man cute though unmusical

Really the Brave Combo album and both the Brian Setzer albums are worth buying, it's just that they are not quite as good as the ones appearing the top 21 list. The John Waters compilation is mostly terrible.