It’s not Christmas without a Christmas album.
Those musical masterpieces of pure kitsch and cheer are perfect for the road trip back to your parents’ house, spending six hours standing in front of a hot oven trying to figure out how to cook a turkey, or lying on the couch in a food coma after consuming that turkey. And half a gingerbread house. And your Aunty Lynne’s fruit cake. And… well, I think you get the point.
Whatever your Christmas looks like, there’s a Christmas album to provide an aural accompaniment. Here are a diversely selected twelve to get you started:
1. The classic album
Bing Crosby – Merry Christmas (1945)
Best to kick this list off with a classic, and it’s not Christmas without a little Bing. While ‘White Christmas’ is widely regarded as the album’s best track, I’m prepared to provide a dissenting voice and put my support behind his rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’. Pay particular attention around 1:55 for the best fake ending Christmas music has ever seen. (Or should that be heard?)
2. The Aussie album
Delta Goodrem – Christmas (2012)
I very, very nearly gave this one to John Farnham, but have decided that Delta is the best choice. I have a ridiculously large soft spot for her rendition of ‘Blue Christmas’. Maybe it’s because I spent last Christmas working as a Santa elf, and when this song used to come on, Santa and I would get up and line dance. Maybe:
3. The kids’ album
The Wiggles – Wiggly Wiggly Christmas (1996)
If you’re after a kids Christmas album, there really is no other option. From ‘Henry’s Christmas Dance’ to the sightly more traditional ‘Away in a Manger’ and ‘Silent Night’, this album is 33 minutes and 27 seconds of skivvy-ed Christmas cheer. to If you can get your hands on it, the original accompanying VHS was rereleased on DVD a few years back. Which means that you can enjoy performances such as this one:
4. The ‘I like pretending that I’m in a department store at Christmastime ALL THE TIME’ album
Christmas – Michael Buble (2011)
Get a thrill out of feeling like you’re walking through DJs all the time? This is the Christmas album for you. Wikipedia reliably informs me that, upon release in Australia, the Bube’s Christmas album sold 35,000 copies and was certified Gold. It did not provide me with the percentage of those units that were sold to retailers, but I am guessing that it would be a lot.
Now I really feel like buying things.
5. The ‘best contribution by a Beatle post-Beatles’ album
Ringo Starr – I Wanna be Santa Claus (1999)
John Lennon did ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over) and, yeah, it was good. Then George Harrison did ‘Ding Dong, Ding Dong’ and, yeah, it wasn’t as good. Then George McCartney did ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ and, yeah, it was pretty good. But these were all Christmas singles, you see. If you want a full, meaty, festive album by a former Beatle, then Ringo is your man. His version of ‘White Christmas’ is especially excellent. Hold out for the part where he starts randomly naming colours that your Christmas could be. Oh, Ringo:
6. The cynics’ album
Weezer – A Weezer Christmas (2008)
’90s/’00s US rock band Weezer’s Christmas album is a surprisingly enjoyable record of traditional Christmas songs played in their alt rock style, which makes it the perfect Christmas album for people who are all like: “Ugh. Christmas is so mainstream.”
All of a sudden not going until you get some figgy pudding sounds like the ultimate protest against the man.