10 Holiday Albums To Listen To Now, From '90s Classics To Beloved Movie Soundtracks
While winter doesn't officially begin until Dec. 21, everyone knows that the real start of the holiday season is Nov. 1. The morning after Halloween, pumpkins and candy corn get replaced by Christmas trees and hot chocolate, and stores immediately transform into gift-filled, candle-scented wonderlands. And then, of course, there's the music. Nothing gets the season underway like listening to some great holiday albums, whether they're old-school classics or newcomers to the Christmas song scene.
Some people choose to listen to holiday music all year long, while others only get their playlists together right as December is around the corner. But regardless of what your personal preference may be or what holiday(s) you're celebrating, there's a holiday-themed record out there that's the perfect fit for you and is worth adding to your Spotify rotation this season.
And so, whether you're tired of listening to the same tunes every season or are new to the scene and want some recommendations for what albums to check out, we've got you covered. Here are the 10 holiday albums that Bustle's entertainment editors are obsessed with right now and will be listening to all season long — and let's be real, probably well into the new year, too.
'Home For Christmas' By NSYNC
"From the first sound of my favorite boy band’s harmonies, Home For Christmas puts me in this *NSYNC holiday heaven. It brings me back to high school, when I’d keep the CD locked in my Discman for all of December. It also reminds me of the time I dragged my mom to see *NSYNC during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, on a particularly rainy day. As soon as Santa arrived on the parade route, the sun came out. Sorry, Mom."
— Jada Gomez, Executive Editor
'Platinum Christmas' By Various Artists
"The Platinum Christmas album featured all of the movers and shakers — the Who's Who — of music in 2000, and most importantly, featured Britney Spears' 'My Only Wish (This Year)' at the top of the track list. I very vividly remember begging my mom to play the CD in her car as we ran errands or went to-and-from soccer or dance practice — I was a suburbs kid, what can I say! — and when those first few notes of 'My Only Wish' began, with the sweet sounds of Spears' 'Oh, yeah' filled the car, I knew it was going to be a good holiday season."
— Allison Piwowarski, Deputy Entertainment Editor
'Snowed In' By Hanson
"Hanson has been my favorite band since I was a mere tween, and their entire catalog remains underrated. But around Christmas, I like to dig into the vault, which means their 1997 holiday album with its Rock & Roll/Motown-tinged track list. It's fun, feel-good, and nostalgic. If you want something more current and grown-up, check out the Finally It's Christmas record, which the brothers released just last year — a full two decades after Snowed In."
— Sage Young, Movies Editor
'Someday At Christmas' By Stevie Wonder
"Stevie Wonder's Someday At Christmas was what my mom would always put on first when we decorated our tree, back when we had to listen to music on a cassette. It's the kind of album you can put on for a crowd at your holiday party and everyone will immediately be merry. I think the title track is one of the prettiest holiday songs ever, and I'm not alone — the Jackson 5, The Temptations, Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, and Jack Johnson all covered it for their respective holiday albums (which by the way, are all fun, too), and Wonder performed it at the White House for Barack and Michelle Obama. The album's on Spotify, so it's easy to queue up."
— Karen Fratti, Associate TV Editor
'A Legendary Christmas' By John Legend
"Yes, John Legend's Christmas album came out last month, but that doesn't make it any less worthy of a spot on this list. It's practically an instant-classic! Because seriously, is there anything this guy can't do? I can already tell it'll be the perfect feel-good music to play while baking Christmas cookies."
— Jamie Primeau, Celebrity Editor
'Wintersong' By Sarah Maclachlan
"If you need a break from the 24/7 holly-jolliness, '90s favorite Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong is a contemplative collection of holiday classics and ethereal winter-themed cover songs (which include a cover of Joni Mitchell's 'River'). It's the perfect album to listen to as you sit by a crackling fireplace (real or a TV yule log), sip some warm tea, and reflect on the year that just passed."
— Mallory Carra, Associate Entertainment Editor
'The Lioness' By Songs: Ohia
"I don’t do holiday music. Sure, not being Christian doesn't help the fact that I’m a bit of a scrooge with an aversion to the overpowering optimism of holiday cheer. But once daylight savings hits I prefer to confine myself to my apartment, grab a blanket, listen to sad music, and hibernate in a way that I hope would make any bear proud.
But hear me out: There’s something so satisfying about leaning in to the impulse to embrace sadness (in a healthy way, of course), and for me, the perfect music for that mood is Songs: Ohia, particularly the album The Lioness, which is all sparse minor-chord guitars and raw pain shouted into a musical soundscape so barren it may as well be the North Pole (and not the Christmas-y one). Winter, by sheer nature, is a dark time where things die, so if we're getting technical, I'm calling this pick 'seasonal' at the very least."
— Samantha Rollins, TV Editor
'Wrapped In Red' By Kelly Clarkson
"Disclaimer: I love every single thing that Kelly Clarkson does, and think she is supremely underrated. But even if you aren't a hardcore Kelly fan like me, you'll probably find it impossible not to be obsessed with Wrapped in Red, which is one of the most perfect Christmas albums out there."
— Rachel Simon, Entertainment News Editor
The 'Meet Me In St. Louis' Soundtrack
"The soundtrack to Meet Me In St. Louis, starring Judy Garland, always puts me in a Holiday mood because growing up, it was tradition for my family to watch it around Christmastime. The musical takes place throughout one calendar year, separated into seasons, but the winter is really the most important and enchanting segment, due in no small part to Judy Garland's stunning 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.' Fun fact, that song was actually an original written for this movie specifically, so, really, if there's one thing to put you in a Holiday mood, it's Meet Me In St. Louis."
— Olivia Truffaut-Wong, Associate Entertainment Editor
'For Emma, Forever Ago' By Bon Iver
"It’s no 'Holly Jolly Christmas,' but Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago is full of icy, wistful ruminations about life and love that make me want to hunker down by a fire for several days."
— Dana Getz, Associate TV Editor