It’s the day after Thanksgiving, which means it’s now socially acceptable to start playing holiday-themed music as you countdown to December 25! From fresh takes on traditional classics to the introduction of new contemporary originals, there’s never a shortage of creativity when it comes to introducing new Christmas songs to the music listener’s repertoire. With the big day exactly one month away, here’s a sampling of 12 newly-released Christmas albums to help you get into the Yuletide spirit.
Kacey Musgraves, the coolest girl in country music today, spreads winter warmth with the whimsical and tropical-tinged A Very Kacey Christmas. On collaborations with the Western swing-in’ Quebe Sisters (“Mele Kalikimaka”), the soulful Leon Bridges (“Present Without a Bow”), and the legendary country outlaw Willie Nelson (“A Willie Nice Christmas”), Musgraves presents a star-studded bag of holiday cheer.
Country songstress Jennifer Nettles’ lends her powerhouse vocals to her third solo effort, To Celebrate Christmas. The offering includes the Dolly Parton penned track “Circle of Love” from NBC’s original Christmas movie, Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, in which Nettles reprises her role as Parton’s mother, as well as incredible duets with female vocalists Andra Day (“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”) and Idina Menzel (“Little Drummer Boy”).
Fun fact: Jimmy Buffett was born on Christmas Day in 1946, so one could say he was born to sing Christmas music! On ’Tis the SeaSon, the “Margaritaville” singer provides the fun island escapism he is famous for. The unique collection is filled with tracks like “Drivin’ the Pig,” “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,” and a quirky reimagining of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with shoutouts to flip-flops, tiki torches, and a purple parrot in a palm tree.
She & Him‘s Zooey Deschanel and M.Ward have teamed up yet again for the retro-inspired duo’s second holiday record, Christmas Party. Their signature sound, consisting of stripped-down production and authentic vocals, is highlighted in their renditions of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” “A Marshmallow World,” and “Christmas Don’t Be Late” from Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Glee‘s Jane Lynch brings joy alongside a dynamic ensemble made-up of The Office‘s Kate Flannery, Tim Davis, and The Tony Guerrero Quintet on A Swingin’ Little Christmas. A throwback to the sounds of the 1950s, their Christmas collaboration inspires sentimental feelings on songs such as “We Three Kings,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Conventry Carol.”
She was a SMASH-ing Marilyn Monroe on the NBC television show, and now, Megan Hilty channels that same sultry vibe on her first Christmas album, A Merry Little Christmas. The Broadway bombshell presents jazzified versions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” and “Santa Baby” that will thrill and delight your ears.
Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton‘s original Aaron Burr, sir) slows things down smoothly on Simply Christmas. The Broadway star’s compilation of slow-burning ballads includes comforting classics such as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “The Christmas Song” that are sure to keep you warm on those cold winter nights.
American Idol Season 8 winner Kris Allen‘s latest Christmas release, Somethin’ About Christmas is truly representative of the singer-songwriter’s chill and heartfelt vibe. The tracklisting includes originals songs like “Somethin’ About Christmas Morning” with Gabe Dixon and “Baby, Won’t You Wait Until The New Year,” culminating in a moving rendition of “Silent Night.”
The Voice Season 9 champion Jordan Smith showcases his angelic voice on ’Tis The Season. The singing prodigy tackles some of the grandest Christmas songs, from a gospel version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” to “O Holy Night” with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, ending with an outstanding operatic rendition of “Ave Maria.”
While on the topic of reality singing competition winners, The Sing-Off‘s most successful alum Pentatonix have released yet another chart-topping Christmas album with their latest, A Pentatonix Christmas. The a cappella superstars continue with their tradition of reimagined, harmonious versions of popular songs on “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “The Christmas Sing-Along,” and the late Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
A cappella fellas Straight No Chaser shine on their latest project, I’ll Have Another… Christmas Album. With a duet with country singer Jana Kramer on “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” a rousing rendition of “Joy To The World,” and the hilariously snarky original “To Christmas! (The Drinking Song),” the record is a must-add to your holiday rotation.
The Killers‘ Don’t Waste Your Wishes rounds up all of the band’s Christmas singles (including “Don’t Shoot Me Santa”) over the years in addition to their latest Christmas offering, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” in which lead singer Brandon Flowers tells a fireside tale of Christmastime in Vegas that concludes with the Bing Crosby classic. Proceeds from the sales of the album and the individual tracks will be donated to (RED).
What new Christmas albums and songs have you added to your holiday playlist? Let us know in the comments!