Bestselling Christmas Albums of All Time
Christmas is indeed one of the most wonderful times of the year. The Christmas tree, the festive decorations (inside and out), family, friends, presents, the celebration of Christ our Lord, and the amazing music are all so special to me.
Christmas music keeps the joy going. The bestselling albums listed below have managed to capture the listeners' ears for years and will definitely stand the test of time. These songs transcend the era they were released in and still bring people joy each and every Christmas season.
Some of the Bestselling Christmas Albums
- Bing Crosby—Merry Christmas
- Elvis Presley—Elvis Christmas
- Johnny Mathis—Merry Christmas
- Andy Williams—The Andy Williams Christmas Album
- Elvis Presley—The Wonderful World of Christmas
- John Denver—Rocky Mountain Christmas
- Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton—Once Upon a Christmas
- Manheim Steamroller—A Fresh Aire Christmas
- Kenny G.—Miracles the Holiday Album
- Garth Brooks—Beyond the Season
- Various Artists—Now That's What I Call Christmas
- Michael Buble—Christmas
- Pentatonix—Christmas Album
Bing Crosby—Merry Christmas
Release Year: 1945
In the 1940s, no one could touch Bing Crosby. He had the bestselling album in 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, and 1949. One of his most popular was Merry Christmas.
Bing picked the perfect Christmas tunes for this album, including “The Christmas Song,” “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night, Holy Night,” and, of course, the song that automatically makes you think of Bing and Christmas, “White Christmas.” Bing’s album contained wonderful carols and modern songs, like “Mele Kalekimaka” and “The Christmas Song.”
Best Song on Bing Crosby's Merry Christmas
All of Bing's songs are enjoyable, but if I had to pick the most iconic song from the album, it would have to be “White Christmas.” This song will always be played at Christmas time. This song will forever be a classic.
Elvis Presley—Elvis Christmas
Release Year: 1957
Label: RCA Victor
New to the Christmas album scene was Elvis Presley, the "King of Rock and Roll." Elvis had a love for Christmas. His album, Elvis Christmas, follows in Bing’s footsteps. It's an instant classic.
On this album, Elvis sings blues, traditional carols, and good 'ol rock 'n' roll. Elvis loved all kinds of music and he brought that love to this album.
This album contains songs like the bluesy “Santa Claus Is Back in Town” and “White Christmas,” as well as traditional Christmas songs, like “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Silent Night.”
Truly, Elvis created the perfect Christmas album.
Best Song on Elvis Christmas
It is hard to pick just one favorite song. I love them all. The one that always has me singing along is “Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me.” The song is so peppy and festive. Elvis and his musical accompaniment are jamming throughout the song. Elvis pleads for Santa to bring his baby back to him. How could Santa let him down?
The 1960s had singers who brought the holidays to life. The top picks for albums in this era go to the following singers: Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, and Barbara Streisand.
Johnny Mathis—Merry Christmas
Release Year: 1962
Johnny Mathis released the album Merry Christmas in 1962. Johnny's voice is clear as a bell. It's perfect for Christmas time and always make me feel happy. He makes every song joyous.
This album includes the wonderful “Winter Wonderland,” “The Christmas Song,” “Sleigh Ride,” "O Holy Night,” and “The First Noel.”
Best Song on Johnny Mathis' Merry Christmas
All the songs on this album are terrific, but if I could only choose one, it would have to be “Sleigh Ride.” The bells jingle like a horse gliding through the snow, and the orchestra sounds like a wintery fairyland. It's a magnificent song.
Andy Williams—The Andy Williams Christmas Album
Release Year: 1963
Andy's Christmas albums dominated the 1960s music charts. Andy, like Johnny, has the perfect voice for Christmas. He not only wrote Christmas albums, but performed in numerous Christmas specials on television. Like Bing Crosby, Andy is still a favorite today. He brings back childhood memories with each song he sings.
The album, The Andy Williams Christmas Album, was the bestselling album of 1963 and 1964. His version of “Winter Wonderland” is truly beautiful. You can picture Andy strolling around in the snow with his true love. His voice is truly magical.
Side one is comprised of contemporary songs, like “Happy Holiday,” "The Holiday Season,” “The Christmas Song,” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Side two is comprised of traditional Christmas songs, such as “The First Noel,” “O Holy Night,” “Away in the Manager,” and more. Andy sings with sincerity and emotion on these sacred songs.
Best Song on The Andy Williams Christmas Album
Andy Williams recorded some great songs for this album, but if I only got to hear one on a loop, it would have to be “O Holy Night.” The song starts out simply, it's just Andy and the piano harmonizing softly. But, later, it builds and builds. When the orchestra joins in, Andy begins to sing with great power and emotion. 2:29 into the song, his voice turns angelic. When he sings “Oh night divine,” he stretches out the word "divine" for so long that it can put a lump in your throat.
The public wisely picked the right album to buy for the Christmas season.
Christmas albums dominated the pop music charts in the 1970s. Some of these albums came from The Jackson 5 to The Partridge Family, but the ones that really stood out came from Elvis Presley and John Denver and the Carpenters.
Elvis Presley—The Wonderful World of Christmas
Release Year: 1971
Label: RCA Records
In 1973, the Billboard Bestselling Album was written by Elvis Presley. It was called The Wonderful World of Christmas. Elvis waited a long time to record this jewel. The last Christmas album he released was in the 1950s. That said, this album was definitely worth the wait.
All the songs are beautifully sung. Elvis gives these songs so much feeling and spirit that you can't help bu want to hear them again. When you hear him sing on this album, there's no doubt that Christmas was one of his favorite holidays.
Side one contains songs such as “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful,” “The First Noel,” and “The Wonderful World of Christmas.” Side two has songs such as “I’ll Be Home on Christmas Day,” “Merry Christmas Baby,” and “Silver Bells.” Elvis is a statesman for Christmas, and his songs will always be on someone’s Christmas rotation.
Best Song on The Wonderful World of Christmas
Elvis is so talented that it's hard to choose just one song. But, since I can only choose one song, my choice would have to be “Merry Christmas Baby.” Elvis goes back to his Memphis roots on this bluesy song. This is a playful, and a bit naughty, tune. Elvis sings with plenty of sass on this one. The guitar, piano, and drums keep the blues sound going strong. It is certainly different from “Silver Bells,” but it works.
John Denver—Rocky Mountain Christmas
Release Year: 1975
Label: RCA Records
John Denver was all over the radio during the 1970s. In 1975, he created his own classic album, Rocky Mountain Christmas. On this album, John blends folk with Christmas staples. Side one has songs like “Aspen Glow,” “The Christmas Song,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and others. On side two, John goes traditional, signing songs like “Away in a Manger,” “Oh Holy Night,” and “What Child Is This?”.
On this album, John plays a different style of Christmas songs. These are laidback tunes that are very listenable.
Best Song on Rocky Mountain Christmas
John chose some great songs for his album. My favorite song from this album is “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” This song is pure country and it sounds like a song that fits right in with the old West.
Country music was incredibly successful during the '80s, and the main man was Kenny Rogers. Kenny had two Christmas albums during this time (one was entitled Once Upon a Christmas, and the other album was entitled Christmas). The Christmas album was a best seller in 1981, 1982, and 1983. Although that appeared to be his most popular album. The Once Upon a Christmas album, which was a bestseller in 1984, is pure magic.
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton—Once Upon a Christmas
Release Year: 1984
Kenny recorded this album with Dolly Parton. The pair sang numerous duets in that era and had great chemistry together. This album highlights that. Kenny and Dolly had a Christmas Special entitled "Kenny & Dolly: A Christmas to Remember" that aired on CBS on December 2, 1984. These are the songs they sung during that special.
It was one of the biggest Christmas albums during the 1980s. The songs on this album include “I Believe in Santa Claus, “Winter Wonderland/Sleigh Ride,” “Once Upon a Christmas,” and “Christmas Without You.”
Dolly and Kenny effortlessly sing each song with that pure Christmas joy and wonder.
Best Song on Once Upon a Christmas
On this album, Kenny and Dolly sing together and do solo songs. I think the duet, “Christmas Without You,” is the best song on the album. The song has a peppy and jaunty feel to it, but the lyrics sing of sadness. They're about being without the one you love during the holidays. Kenny and Dolly give it their all. It is beautifully done.
Manheim Steamroller—A Fresh Aire Christmas
Release Year: 1988
Label: American Gramaphone
Manheim Steamroller released their album A Fresh Aire Christmas in 1988. It is the highest selling album for the group. It is an album of power, joy, and Christmas spirit. It's a truly magnetic song.
The album contains songs such as “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Little Drummer Boy,” “Still, Still, Still,” and other traditional Christmas carols. It is great how they took these traditional carols and gave them a new sound without losing the magic of these classics.
Best Song on A Fresh Aire Christmas
All the songs are wonderful, but my pick would have to be “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” The song sounds almost like a movie soundtrack. You feel like you are in a Star Wars movie heading through the galaxy. The song has power and it glides along. It is a song of joy and celebration.
Two artists that did well with their Christmas albums in this decade were Garth Brooks and Kenny G.
Kenny G.—Miracles the Holiday Album
Release Year: 1994
Label: Arista Records
Kenny G. had the bestselling Christmas album with his album entitled Miracles The Holiday Album in 1994.
It is easy to see why this album was so popular you could listen to the saxophone stylings of Kenny G to relax, to use at Christmas parties, and Christmas dinner music. It is soothing and the sax playing is full of emotion.
The songs on the album include “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Away in a Manger,” and “The Chanukah Song.”
Best Song on Miracles the Holiday Album
Kenny G. plays beautifully on each song, so it is hard to narrow it down to one. The song with the chillest vibe would have to be “Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas.” It is a song that will make you think of Christmas past and make you long to be with all those you love during this special season.
Garth Brooks—Beyond the Season
Release Year: 1992
Garth Brooks struck Billboard gold in 1992 with his album Beyond the Season. Garth brought his country roots to this album and included a mix of traditional Christmas songs and country Christmas songs.
The songs on the album included “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “The Old Mans Back in Town,” and “What Child Is This?”.
Garth is a natural born performer and knows how to sell a song. He brings a country feel to each song and plays them with heartfelt emotion.
Best Song on Beyond the Season
My favorite song on this album is Buck Owens's “Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy.” Garth doesn’t stray from the original and gives it his own swinging groove.
Now That’s What I Call Christmas began in 2001. It is a compilation album that will have a song for everyone. It is such fun to listen to.
Various Artists—Now That's What I Call Christmas
Release Year: 2001
This compilation gives you performances by Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, and Frank Sinatra. This album brings us songs by older artists, including John Lennon and Yoko, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and other great performers.
Best Song on Now That's What I Call Christmas (Side 1)
This album has so many songs on it that I'm going to bend the rules and pick a song from side one and a song from side two. My favorite song on side one is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” by Brenda Lee. This song never gets old. It is a rocking tune with little Brenda belting out the lyrics. The song creates a party mood and you feel like you not only want to sing along, but dance along to the song too.
Best Song on Now That's What I Call Christmas (Side 2)
From side two, my choice would have to be “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” by Bruce Springsteen. This song is so cute. Bruce is singing live. He paints a picture of winter along the Jersey Shore and gets playful with the crowd, stating, "that not too many have been good this year." The jingle bells playing throughout the song (along with the piano) make it perfect. Near the end, when he slows the song down to end the tune, it sometimes brings a lump to my throat for some odd reason. Bruce is in the Christmas spirit, and it shows.
2010 had Christmas releases by Susan Boyle, Michael Buble, Rod Steward, and Pentatonix.
Release Year: 2011
Label: 143, Reprise
Michael Buble had a great record entitled Christmas in 2011. Michael sings with the passion of Bing Crosby and Andy Williams. He seems to have studied the masters of Christmas well.
The songs on the album include “It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Jingle Bells,” and traditional songs like “Ave Maria,” and “Silent Night.”
Best Song on Michael Buble's Christmas
All the songs on this album are gems. It is so hard to pick just one, but here it goes. The best song is “Cold December Night.” It is a song that makes you want to sing along with Michael, when he says, "all he needs is his true love for the holidays."
Release Year: 2016
Pentatonix released a Christmas Album in 2014 that touched so many listeners that it was on Billboard's Bestselling Christmas Albums from 2014 to 2017. That is quite an achievement. This a cappella group is amazing to listen to. I always thought I could never listen to an album that had no instruments to go with the vocals, but this group plays their voices just like instruments and it's amazing.
Their album includes the songs “Up on the Housetop,” “Coventry Carol,” “Coldest Winter,” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman.”
Best Song on Christmas Album
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is my choice for the best song. They sang it with such gusto! They start the song very traditionally, then they riff, making all kinds of sounds as the song speeds up. It shows just how gifted this group is.