Among the bands we '90s kids remember from childhood, groups like *NSYNC, Spice Girls, and Backstreet Boys tend to stand out. But perhaps less appreciated are the Christmas albums released by some of those same beloved groups. That is, of course, excepting Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas, the album that produced "All I Want For Christmas Is You." Even that whole album can be overlooked in favor of the juggernaut single it spawned. The best part is, many of these albums are on Spotify — so even if you don't already have these Christmas albums that every '90s kid must have, they're still out there for your streaming pleasure. And if not, well, get thee to an Amazon post-haste.
There are a lot of non-album singles by your favorite '90s bands, too — I highly recommend making your own Christmas compilation to supplement the 10 hours of music below, because no Christmas could possibly be complete without No Doubt, Backstreet Boys, and Spice Girls, all of whom were responsible for some one-off Christmas greats. The Spice Girls even launched concert tour in late 1999 called Christmas in Spiceworld, just because it was December! Everyone loves the holiday season! So while these nine albums are the best of the '90s, this is by no means a comprehensive list of the great, nostalgic Christmas music that will take you back to your '90s childhood.
1. These Are Special Times, Céline Dion
Truth is, I'm quite the opposite of a Céline Dion fan. But this album has a kind of nostalgic, hate-that-I-maybe-love-it quality about it.
2. Merry Christmas, Mariah Carey
"All I Want For Christmas Is You" is a standout from Merry Christmas, but let's be real. This is the greatest '90s Christmas album of them all. Yahoo reported that the album had sold more than 5 million copies as of 2012, so she's basically Adele.
3. Home For Christmas, *NSYNC
*NSYNC's second album was a US-only Christmas release. It was accompanied by a separate release of The Winter Album, a Germany-only release, because as the Beatles knew best, Germany loves boy bands.
4. Christmas Interpretations, Boyz II Men
Boyz II Men co-wrote the original music on this album with labelmate and fellow R&B superstar Brian McKnight, who also features on the group's interpretation of "Let It Snow."
5. A Very Special Christmas 2, Various Artists
A variety of artists from Aretha Franklin to Sinead O'Connor come together for the second A Very Special Christmas compilation album, which features so many classic Christmas songs it's hard to believe there has been enough material remaining to make 10 albums in the series.
6. A Very Special Christmas 3, Various Artists
Better than the second one, A Very Special Christmas 3 includes music from Sting, Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, Tracy Chapman, and Patti Smith — basically, women running the holiday season.
7. A LaFace Family Christmas, Various Artists
If TLC isn't reason enough to love the LaFace Family Christmas album, perhaps several tracks by Outkast can change your mind. LaFace combines old and new, hip-hop, rap, and R&B in one perfectly '90s compilation.
8. Ultimate Christmas, The Beach Boys
Though Ultimate Christmas is not a '90s album in the traditional sense — it rounds up all the Christmas songs the Beach Boys recorded in the '60s and '70s — it was released in 1998. The album's release marks the first time all of these older tracks are included on a single record. It was a commercial flop, taken out of circulation in 2004 and replaced by the newer Christmas With the Beach Boys, which is essentially the same album.
9. A Very Special Season, Diana Ross
If anyone could make John Lennon's unavoidable "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" listenable, it's Diana Ross. And she does! All that and more on A Very Special Season, Ross's 1994 holiday masterpiece.
The '90s might be remembered for boy bands and girl bands, but they also produced some of the most period-fitting Christmas music that I can think of. Nothing says the holidays like Celine Dion or the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.