best holiday albums feature

The Best Holiday Albums by the Numbers

Well, folks, we made it! The year 2020 is (finally) coming to a close and we’ll soon be welcoming the new year and new opportunities. This holiday season, we guarantee that your cheer will be exponentially increased by listening to the best Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa albums.

Our lists are determined by how popular the record is on Discogs. To put it more specifically, the list is ranked by the number of Collections each album or EP is in.

We pulled all of the holiday-themed items in the Database and filtered the original data set for music that qualified as festive enough. For example, Madonna’s Holiday was rejected because it’s about the wrong kind of holiday, but parody albums were included.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Joyous Kwanzaa!

Best Christmas Albums

Below is a wonderful Christmas playlist that includes holiday standards, celebrity-packed collaborations, and modern reimaginings. A lot of these albums are considered Christmas classics, with no less than three releases from Elvis Presley in the top 20. In the case of Mariah Carey, whose single “All I Want for Christmas” will be inescapable this time of year, you can dig deeper into her holiday magic beyond the No. 1 hit. You’ll also find nostalgia-inducing soundtracks from some of the best seasonal films and shows, including Charlie Brown and The Muppets. And before you ask, yes, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Christmas movie (and so is Die Hard).

Best Hanukkah Albums

Our roundup of the most-collected Hanukkah albums features a wider variety of themed tunes that may not provide the best holiday soundtrack but will offer a really eclectic exploration of genres and Jewish artists. The records from Klezmer Conservatory Band and Shirley Cohen offer more traditional tunes while The LeeVees and Meshugga Beach Party bring the rock renditions. However, you’ll also find comedic takes from Adam Sandler and Jewdriver, a parody of the awful Screwdriver band.

Best Kwanzaa Albums

We’ll be honest. This celebration of African-American culture, first observed in 1966, is underrepresented in the Database. If you have any Kwanzaa records, CDs, or cassettes, we’d love for you to share the information with Discogs. However, the shortlist below can be considered essential listening for the holiday, from children’s songs to Kwanzaa classics.

Community Picks

We’re not the only ones on Discogs who love the holidays. You can check out a variety of Christmas-themed lists created by Discogs users (unfortunately, there are no Hanukkah or Kwanzaa lists — sounds like a challenge for holiday record collectors). We pulled out some of our favorite record roundups:

For the most comprehensive playlist of Christmas music.
For a funky holiday dance party.
For an eclectic jukebox of singles and 45s.

Staff Picks

In 2018, we asked Discogs crew members to share some of their favorite holiday-themed hits. You can view the full list here, but we highlighted some of our mega-faves:

For those that forgot that Gremlins is actually a Christmas movie:
Gremlins Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Various

For when you need even more film fun during the holidays:
Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album by Meco

For a novelty that will probably get on your nerves after one listen:
Meowy Christmas by The Jingle Cats

For an extended playlist beyond “Christmas in Hollis” by Run D.M.C.:
Christmas Rap by Various

My Picks

We’ve got a few more seasonal suggestions for this holiday season. Here is what I’ll be listening to for the next month:

A Soulful Christmas by James Brown
It’s A Holiday Soul Party by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
I Want An Alien For Christmas by Fountains Of Wayne 
I Wish It Was Christmas Today by Julian Casablancas
(Mamacita) Donde Esta Santa Claus? by Charo
The Christmas Spirit by Johnny Cash
Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald
Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John & Yoko & The Plastic Ono Band

Congratulations! You made it to the end of this list. If you’re sick of the holidays already, check out our list of the best anti-Christmas music.

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