The best Christmas albums to stream over the holidays

The best Christmas albums to stream over the holidays

Sure, decorating your house with glittery ornaments and flashy lights will set you right into the Christmas mood. But, with the endless humid nature of Singapore's weather, it takes a special kind of immersion to truly usher in the end-year holiday. That's where Christmas music comes in.

But, of course, no one wants to hear Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas' a thousand times — unless you do, then, you'll be happy to know she has an entire album's worth of Christmassy gems — and so, instead of slaving over search engines to find the right album for the right party, we've hunkered down to present some of the best Christmas albums for endless replays this month. 

While we've included a bunch of Christmas essentials that have been endorsed from time to time, we've also added some of our own forgotten favourites and obscure gems that wouldn't be on a normal Christmas playlist.

Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas (1960)

The "First Lady Of Song" has performed some of the most beloved compositions in the history of music, and it would be remiss if she didn't do a Christmas album of her own. Forget about Sinatra, Elvis or Crosby, Fitzgerald is the classic Christmas music icon we should celebrate every year.

A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector (1963)

This album arguably set alight the contemporary Christmas sound that we're most familiar with — even Mariah Carey's classic was an attempt to bring that spirit to the modern age. A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector is a timeless classic with its quintessentially 60s charm and sublime vocal performances.

The Beach Boys' Christmas Album (1964)

During this era for the Beach Boys, where surfing and sports cars were the order of the day, their Christmas Album is where their pristine vocal harmonies shine the most. Play this on a quiet Christmas night and let it unfold — preferably on vinyl.

Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

This soundtrack is best paired with a viewing of the heartwarming cartoon, but hey, if you need further reading, check out what we had to say about it in our Essentials entry for this incredible jazz album.

A Motown Christmas (1973)

This compilation was originally released in the 70s, arguably the height of the record label's popularity, but A Motown Christmas has not seen a proper reissue since. However, several playlists featuring songs from that album have surfaced, so you can still enjoy all of it in its true digital glory.

Jacob Miller - Natty Christmas (1978)

The perfect album to usher in an "irie Christmas and a dancehall New Year", Jacob Miller's Natty Christmas is a nice change of pace if you're not feeling the usual jazz-inflicted and jangly holiday albums.

George Winston - December (1982)

If you're looking at a more solemn and peaceful celebration, December is both remotely beautiful and reverent during the wintry season. Winston's piano interpretations of classic Christmas tunes is simply mesmerizing, but they also make wonderful background music on any day.

A Very Special Christmas (1987)

Arguably one of the most star-studded albums of the 80s — and there were plenty of all-star compilations that decade — A Very Special Christmas is worth just for Eurythymics' spin on 'Winter Wonderland', but this was merely the start of a series of albums that have also since featured Stevie Nicks, The Smashing Pumpkins and Miley Cyrus.

Christmas on Death Row (1996)

Certainly not one for the family, but if you're looking for some golden 90s G-funk to bump, this is it. Seriously. There's no other album that opens with 'Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto'.

Low - Christmas (1999)

Low may be one of the last bands that you would imagine Christmas celebrations with, but their stark and haunting Christmas EP remains a contemporary essential. If you're in a country with plenty of snow, this is the album to pair up with a cozy fireplace. If not, just imagine it.

Bright Eyes - A Christmas Album (2002)

This might've originally been a limited release in 2002, in benefit of the Nebraska AIDS Project, but since a widespread official release in 2013, Bright Eyes' A Christmas Album has fast become a yuletide favourite for those who prefer something more acoustic.

Sufjan Stevens - Songs For Christmas

Songs For Christmas is a stunning modern music triumph, and throughout its over 10-year run, Sufjan Stevens simultaneously stayed true and transcended regular Christmas music traditions. Presenting a 12-EP set over two retrospective album collections, including its follow-up Silver & Gold, Songs For Christmas will literally last you the whole month, and if there's only one Christmas album you'll listen to this year, pick this.

August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin' Hill, A Holiday Album (2012)

This may not make new believers out of modern metalcore, but August Burns Red are open Christmas fanatics, and Sleddin' Hill is a joyous and intricate album full of instrumental metal covers of Christmas songs. Let it rip.

Mark Kozalek Sings Christmas Carols (2014)

The Sun Kil Moon frontman may be reputed for his Grinch-like behaviour — and that's putting it lightly — but Kozalek turns in a remarkable and tranquil acoustic album where he employs all the tricks that people have come to love him for. This may even be your gateway into the wonderful and weird world of Kozalek.

A City Without Snow (2016)

Of course, we needed to end this list with a Singaporean release — one that has never left our ears since its release in 2016. Compiled by indie label Middle Class Cigars, A City Without Snow gathers some of the most talented musicians in our little island for a stirring compilation that features a wide array of music styles — from shoegaze to electronic to acoustic.