The Best Christmas Music You’ve Probably Never Heard (or Have Forgotten About)

updated May 3, 2019
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It seems like every year, droves of new holiday albums come out—so many that it’s hard to keep track of them all. Sometimes the best Christmas songs are right under our noses, we just have no idea because there’s too much to choose from. It’s a small selection (because honestly I could go on listing amazing holiday albums all day) but these Christmas albums are worth adding to your playlist this season—whether you’ve heard them and forgotten all about them, or they’re totally new to you.

If 2016 taught us anything about music, it’s that it truly is Beyonce’s world and we’re all just living in it. But well before “Lemonade”— back before she even started her solo career—she got her start in Destiny’s Child (I know, I know, I don’t need to tell you that). And in case you missed it—or perhaps forgot—they put out a holiday R&B album full of covers and originals in 2001 that’s a must-listen.

This album was actually a big success when it came out and went Platinum, but that was in 1997. Now it feels like no one remembers anything about the Hanson brothers outside of “MMMBop,” which is a shame, because they’re pretty talented (just listen to their song “Penny and Me” if you need convincing). “Snowed In” is a super fun mix of classics and originals that should not be forgotten.

For a more pared down, indie version of your favorite Christmas songs, She & Him’s first holiday album from 2011, “A Very She & Him Christmas,” is a perfectly festive choice. The duo, if you’re not familiar, is made up of actress and musician Zooey Deschanel and musician M. Ward. The album did well on the charts, but with a new She & Him holiday album out this year, this one is worth remembering.

You know Christina Aguilera can sing, obviously, but if you’ve never listened to her 2000 Christmas album—or haven’t since it came out—you’re missing out on some beautiful covers of traditional songs, as well as some fun originals.

For a truly modern take on the holiday from another pop diva with amazing pipes, 2015’s “Christmas and Chill” is worth a listen. It did decently on the charts, peaking at 34 in the Billboard 200, but for an album of all-original R&B songs with that much talent behind it, it should be on everyone’s playlists.

If you’re as excited for the Gilmore Girls revival as I am, you’ve probably been spending a lot of your time lately re-watching old episodes—and singing along to the theme song by the legendary Carole King. Among her many albums, you may have missed that Carole released a holiday album called “A Holiday Carole” in 2011 that’s full of classic songs.

And finally, to switch it up from the last few iconic ladies, if you’d prefer your Christmas music with a some pop punk influence, Relient K’s “Let It Snow, Baby… Let It Reindeer” is a fun one full of some angsty-but-upbeat takes on the classics and a few original songs, too.

Share your favorite (well known or hidden gem!) Christmas album in the comments to add to our list…