Having completed the necessary process of recommending three varied and useful Christmas themes from our website that you can consult later at your convenience, I must confess that –oh, yes– the preparation of this article obeys an ulterior motive. And it’s next. It turns out that I have a quite smart four-year-old son who has understood for some time that he can submit Alexa to her will and ask her for the songs he wants: evolving from La vaca Lola to Ojete Calor at breakneck speed. But when December approaches… the Christmas carols arrive. And always ask for the same. “Alexa, watch the fish in the river drink.” And obedient, Alexa always plays the same song by Manolo Escobar, which also has poorly recorded choruses and sounds terrible and… come on, I hate it.

That’s why I want to make this festive, varied selection, full of talent and Christmas spirit in equal parts for you, for me, for my son, for yours and for the voice assistants of every house on the planet. Because as Love actually taught us , there are more groups and soloists with Christmas records on the market than we think. And right now we’re going to track down the best… or at least Esquire’s favorites.

No wonder a Christmas song, Bing Crosby’s White Christmas , is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the best-selling single ever. The music typical of these celebrated festivals has a universality that even transcends religion. Just ask Bob Dylan, who was raised Jewish but liked Christmas carols enough to record an album with them which we’ll talk about later.

Although Christmas albums are often cynical efforts by artists who recycle the same old songs to increase sales from their catalogue, this is not always the case. Based on rock, funk, country or more traditional melodies, good Christmas music can lift your spirits and please your ears at the same time, as you will see below. Without further fanfare or introductions, here are the best Christmas albums of all time.

1

Pentatonix – Holidays around the world (2022)

Maybe you still don’t know them, but Pentatonix swept away with their a cappella versions, so it was a matter of time before the collective launched into Christmas music. Holidays around the world features nine different artists, sharing a collection of holiday tunes that will have you singing all the way to the nearest shopping mall.

2

The Wolves – Christmas Arrived (2021)

Merry Christmas from sunny California! After a four-decade career, Los Lobos, the East Los Angeles group that helped popularize Ritchie Valens’ La Bamba , are finally lending their irresistible style to these parties. These eleven festive classics from the Spanish-speaking world include tracks like Freddy Fender’s Christmas time in Texas and La Murga salsa boat .

3

Andrea Bocelli – Si forever (2018)

The release of this album from the opera legend went platinum. It includes duets with Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and his son Matteo and a year later a collector’s edition came out with the appearance of Ellie Goulding or Jennifer Garner. Although as a whole it is not expressly designed for these holidays, it is almost impossible to find a more suitable soundtrack for these winter nights around the tree and the Bethlehem.

4

Frank Sinatra – A jolly christmas from Frank Sinatra (1957)


Released the same year as Elvis Presley’s hit Christmas album, Sinatra’s first album of Christmas carols is the conservative response to the King’s radical gamble. It’s the essence of Eisenhower’s America, gift-wrapped with a red bow.

5

Backstreet Boys – A very backstreet christmas (2022)

6

Raphael – Come Back For Christmas (2013)

Why is Raphael written with ‘ph’? This we have already told you. Today we want to focus on his role as king of Christmas Eve and prince of drummers. The man from Linares has a good handful of festive classics, but this is the first album that he recorded entirely dedicated to Christmas. In it, of course, you will find traditional Christmas carols from here and adaptations of great songs from there. From Silent Night to George Michael’s Last Christmas , there’s something here for every member of the family.

7

The Beach Boys – Christmas Album (1964)

Although we normally associate The Beach Boys with beaches and surfing more than snow and knitted sweaters, you will discover that they were also geniuses when singing Christmas carols. The album mixes upbeat melodies like Little Saint Nick with fun jazz-based experiments like Frosty the Snowman. And the version with orchestra of White Christmas sung by Brian Wilson predicts the majesty of the wonderful Pet Sounds that they would publish the following year.

8

Michael Buble – Christmas (2011)

If you want your house to sound during these holidays as if you were inside one of those crystal balls that you shake and snow comes out, this album is your best option. Michael Buble’s collection of Christmas classics contains exuberant versions of timeless classics like Holly Jolly Christmas or the always moving Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

9

Bob Dylan – Christmas in the Heart (2009)

Christmas in the Heart is a great title for this totally unexpected album in which it was number 34 on the Bob Dylan account and whose profits went to the Feeding America charity to help the most disadvantaged. With the help of musicians like David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, Dylan infuses the songs with nostalgia and fragility, making them part of his own story.

10

Bing Crosby – White Christmas (1986)

As we’ve discussed before, if you’ve been paying attention you’ll remember that the Irish singer’s 1941 version of Irving Berlin ‘s White Christmas ballad has sold 50 million copies, inspiring covers even by New Kids on the Block. Eight decades later, this album still sounds like nougat and marzipan thanks to hymns like Faith of Our Fathers or the Hawaiian-tinged Mele Kalikimaka .

11

She & Him – A She & Him Christmas (2011)

Although there are many celebrities who have recorded an album and you have not heard, this should not be the case with the wonderful actress Zooey Deschanel, who together with M. Ward already has a good handful of albums on the market based on elegant folk & indie rock with guitars, piano and ukulele. If like us you are a big fan of the New Girl series , you may remember that in one of the episodes the version of I’ll Be Home for Christmas that appears on this album appeared.

12

Johnny Cash – Christmas With Johnny Cash (2003)

The great Johnny Cash recorded several Christmas albums throughout his career, but in 2003, the year of his death, this excellent collection of songs recorded between 1962 and 1980 was released. The best cuts are poems turned into song that offer lessons on the love, community and charity typical of these dates. A must-listen is Christmas as We Knew It , about the singer’s poor family in rural Arkansas who are grateful for what he can give, not what he can receive.

13

A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector (1963)

Long before ending his days in prison after being convicted of murder, Phil Spector raised his Wall of Sound in this parade of Christmas hits like no other. The Crystals have fireside fun on Santa Claus Is Coming to Town and Ronnie Spector melts down Frosty the Snowman among other epic rock ‘n’ roll renditions of classics. No wonder Brian Wilson has called it his favorite album of all time.

14

The Killers – Don’t Waste Your Wishes (2016)

You may not have known this, but for ten years The Killers have been releasing Christmas singles around the holidays. In 2016 they all came together in an album full of great tunes like Christmas in LA or I’ll Be Home for Christmas . Proceeds went to Product Red, U2 frontman Bono’s initiative to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

15

James Brown – Funky Christmas (1995)

The godfather of soul recorded as many as three Christmas-themed albums during his creative heyday. The best songs from each one of them are collected in this fantastic compilation. James Brown was then reimagining rock & roll in his own funk-revolutionary image, so it’s no surprise that he injected some extra groove into traditional socially conscious Christmas carols like Santa Claus Goes to the Ghetto or Let’s Unite the Whole World at Christmas.

16

The Jackson 5 – The Jackson 5 Christmas Album (1970)

Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town is one of the funniest and most upbeat Christmas songs ever written and The Jackson 5’s version is our favorite. The young Michael Jackson transforms this classic into a funky pop shake while the family of singers also gives us a moving song in El tamborilero and surprises us with the Latin airs of the song dedicated to Rodolfo the reindeer. A must for fans of Jacko and Christmas in general that even comes already wrapped as a gift.

17

Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas (1960)

In this magnificent jazz album we find the great Ella Fitzgerald filling songs that you have heard a thousand times like Jingle bells or Let it snow with swing . The contagious enthusiasm that he puts into these songs and a repertoire with all the cuts necessary for a perfect Christmas, make this album a must listen. Listen to us and you will thank us.

18

Elvis Presley – Elvis’ Christmas Album (1957)

Do you want to get an idea of ​​how revolutionary Elvis Presley was in the USA in the fifties? Irving Berlin was so shocked by her version of his White Christmas that he tried to get it banned from the radio. No such thing happened, and Elvis’ Christmas album topped the charts for a month, eventually selling nearly 20 million copies. It’s a wonderful mix of rock & roll and nods to his country and gospel roots with tracks like Take My Hand, Precious Lord.

19

Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas (1994)

Did you think we forgot about the Christmas Queen? Mariah Carey marks the beginning of the holidays every year since 1994 with her All I Want For Christmas Is You , the most famous – and lucrative – Christmas/pop song of all time. But it does not mean that this album does not contain another ten songs capable of melting the snow on your roof like Silent Night or Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.

20

Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

The soundtrack to the endearing television special Charlie Brown’s Christmas will bring nostalgic memories to anyone who enjoyed it as a child. The adventures of Carlitos and Snoopy were released more than 50 years ago, but they are still as iconic as the characters that inhabit them. A Charlie Brown Christmas is the sound of childhood, Christmas and magic, but his music can be appreciated regardless of age or faith that each one professes.