Top 12 Christmas Albums Part 1: Honorable Mentions

Don’t tell anyone but I’ve already been listening to Christmas music for two weeks! I know the unspoken rule that Christmas stuff doesn’t happen until after Thanksgiving stuff but I don’t care: There’s so much good Christmas music out there, I need a head start.

And let’s be real… Target has had Christmas items for sale for months.

So, I decided to come up with my Top 12 Christmas albums. (12 felt like an appropriate sized and Christmasy number)

I own 64 Christmas albums and in the most scientific of methods I read the title of each album and sorted it into the following two categories:

  1. That one might be top 12 -and-
  2. Nah

I ended up with 17 albums on my contender list. I started ranking them and just cut it off at 12.

So, to kick things off, I thought I would give a little credit to the five that didn’t make the cut. I enjoy these but for whatever reason, they just aren’t top 12 worthy.



Artist: The Ventures

Album: The Ventures’ Christmas Album

This album is definitely fun. I appreciate the references to other songs like the smooth transition from “Walk Don’t Run” into “Sleigh Ride.” It’s a solid instrumental effort but I think, the biggest problem is I only picked it up last year and haven’t gotten to fully digest it. Maybe it’ll crack the top 12 next time.



Artist: Rend Collective

Album: Campfire Christmas (Vol. 1)

This album has a nice flow. It starts off mellow with “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and then kicks it up with some really nice guitar work on “Hark! The Herald” No one in the family complains when this one is on. But… There were only 12 spots. (Bonus points though for a sweet album cover!)



Artist: Frank Sinatra

Album: A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra

This is a classic. I love the background singers making bell noises on Jingle Bells. Not sure what I can say except it’s probably heresy to not have this in the top 12 but… Oh well… There were only 12 spots. Put it on your own list if it bothers you so much.



Artist: Gary Hoey

Album: Ho Ho Hoey! The Complete Collection

What I love about this album is it’s mostly heavy, the guitar work is fantastic, it crosses multiple guitar-driven genres and there is a great mixture of keeping to the original melodies but blazing out a guitar solo. Some of the tracks have too much of a polished sheen and tone and there are some with vocals that I don’t enjoy. If it weren’t for that, this coulda been a contender. (Side note: Loss of major points with horrifying typography on the album cover.)



Artist: Brian Setzer

Album: Christmas Comes Alive & Christmas Rocks! The Best of Collection

Super fun. Both these albums feel super-Christmasy. But other than the spy version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (“Take A Break Guys”) no tracks come to mind when I think of these albums. (Notice how I just lumped both albums together? I know one is live and one isn’t but neither album even sticks out to me!)

Okay… Next time we will start into the top 12.

All album cover images from The Cover Art Archive | Featured Image includes Ornament Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash and 45-Record-Adapter by Sean Russell on flickr


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