Special Report

Best Christmas Albums of All Time

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Virtually every major musical artist has released a Christmas album. And even though these performers were famous before they ever cut a record with a holiday theme, some of them, such as Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby, are particularly closely associated with the songs of the season.

To determine the best holiday albums of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on chart performance from Billboard, current through Nov. 19, 2022, and on certified album sales from the Recording Industry Association of America, current through mid-December. Holiday albums were ranked based on an index combining certified U.S. album sales and an inverse score wherein a week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 is worth 200 points, a week at No. 2 worth 199 points, and so on, up to a week at No. 200 worth one point. Albums must have also appeared on Billboard’s Top Holiday Albums chart to be considered. Sales data for Elvis Presley’s “Elvis’ Christmas Album” includes certified sales for all reissues of the 1957 album. (These are the most popular Elvis Presley songs.)

Among the top 10 albums on the list, seven were released in the 20th century. Out of the 40 best holiday albums of all time on our list, only six reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Longevity is the hallmark of these LPs. George Winston’s “Dec.” peaked at No. 54 for one week in 1983, but its total time on the Billboard 200 was 178 weeks, en route to selling 3 million records. Two of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s LPs have each spent more than 60 weeks on the Billboard 200.

Click here to see the best holiday albums of all time

On the other hand, some artists have demonstrated that you don’t need a high chart position to mark success. Barbra Streisand’s “A Christmas Album” rose to just No. 108 for two weeks in 1967 – however, it sold 5 million LPs. (See the song of the winter the year you were born.)

Many of the biggest-selling holiday albums are instrumental, and in this category, Mannheim Steamroller and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra dominate. Mannheim Steamroller, which popularized neo-classical electronic New Age music, has four albums on the list whose sale totaled 19 million. Trans-Siberian Orchestra (actually from Tampa, Fla.) is represented by three albums that have sold 7 million copies.

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40. Boyz II Men, “Christmas Interpretations”
> Release date: Oct. 5, 1993
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 19 (for 2 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 15 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 2 million

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39. Vince Gill, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”
> Release date: Sept. 14, 1993
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 14 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 16 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 2 million

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38. Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton, “Once Upon a Christmas”
> Release date: Oct. 2, 1984
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 31 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 38 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 2 million

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37. Harry Connick, Jr., “When My Heart Finds Christmas”
> Release date: Oct. 22, 1993
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 13 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 10 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 3 million

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36. ‘N Sync, “Home for Christmas”
> Release date: Nov. 10, 1998
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 7 (for 2 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 35 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 2 million

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35. Kenny G, “Faith: A Holiday Album”
> Release date: Nov. 16, 1999
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 6 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 9 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 3 million

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34. Carpenters, “Christmas Portrait”
> Release date: Aug. 24, 1987
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 56 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 61 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 1 million

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33. Burl Ives, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
> Release date: March 28, 1995
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 16 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 48 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 500,000

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32. Martina McBride, “White Christmas”
> Release date: Sept. 29, 1998
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 64 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 40 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 2 million

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31. Amy Grant, “Home for Christmas”
> Release date: Oct. 6, 1992
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 2 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 14 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 3 million

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30. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “The Christmas Attic”
> Release date: Oct. 2, 1998
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 60 (for 2 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 47 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 2 million

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29. Casting Crowns, “Peace on Earth”
> Release date: Oct. 7, 2008
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 15 (for 2 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 44 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 1 million

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28. Mannheim Steamroller, “Christmas Extraordinaire”
> Release date: Oct. 30, 2001
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 5 (for 2 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 27 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 3 million

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27. Barbra Streisand, “A Christmas Album”
> Release date: Oct. 9, 1967
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 108 (for 2 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 19 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 5 million

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26. Taylor Swift, “The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection (EP)”
> Release date: Dec. 2, 2008
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 20 (for 2 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 43 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 1 million

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25. Chris Tomlin, “Glory in the Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship”
> Release date: Sept. 21, 2009
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 19 (for 2 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 47 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 500,000

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24. Susan Boyle, “The Gift”
> Release date: Nov. 9, 2010
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 1 (for 4 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 33 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 3 million

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23. Mannheim Steamroller, “Christmas in the Aire”
> Release date: Sept. 12, 1995
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 3 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 18 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 4 million

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22. Pentatonix, “A Pentatonix Christmas”
> Release date: Oct. 21, 2016
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 1 (for 2 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 44 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 1 million

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21. Garth Brooks, “Beyond the Season”
> Release date: Aug. 17, 1992
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 2 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 24 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 3 million

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20. Bing Crosby, “White Christmas”
> Release date: Aug. 1, 1977
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 34 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 48 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 4 million

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19. Various Artists, “A Very Special Christmas”
> Release date: Oct. 12, 1987
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 20 (for 3 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 34 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 4 million

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18. Various Artists, “NOW That’s What I Call Christmas!”
> Release date: Oct. 23, 2001
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 3 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 14 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 6 million

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17. Justin Bieber, “Under the Mistletoe”
> Release date: Nov. 1, 2011
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 1 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 59 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 2 million

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16. Kelly Clarkson, “Wrapped in Red”
> Release date: Oct. 29, 2013
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 3 (for 3 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 56 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 1 million

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15. Andrea Bocelli, “My Christmas”
> Release date: Nov. 3, 2009
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 2 (for 5 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 52 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 2 million

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14. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “Christmas Eve and Other Stories”
> Release date: Sept. 30, 1996
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 48 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 69 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 3 million

Source: Paul Zimmerman / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

13. Mannheim Steamroller, “A Fresh Aire Christmas”
> Release date: Aug. 15, 1988
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 36 (for 3 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 24 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 6 million

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12. Mannheim Steamroller, “Christmas”
> Release date: Sept. 15, 1984
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 29 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 29 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 6 million

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11. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “The Lost Christmas Eve”
> Release date: Oct. 12, 2004
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 26 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 64 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 2 million

Source: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

10. Pentatonix, “That’s Christmas to Me”
> Release date: Oct. 21, 2014
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 2 (for 2 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 56 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 2 million

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9. Kenny G, “Miracles: The Holiday Album”
> Release date: Nov. 1, 1994
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 1 (for 3 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 17 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 8 million

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

8. Celine Dion, “These Are Special Times”
> Release date: Nov. 3, 1998
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 2 (for 2 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 78 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 5 million

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

7. Nat King Cole, “The Christmas Song”
> Release date: Sept. 1, 1963
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 6 (for 2 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 65 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 6 million

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6. George Winston, “Dec.”
> Release date: Aug. 19, 1983
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 54 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 178 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 3 million

Source: Courtesy of Fantasy Records

5. Vince Guaraldi Trio, “A Charlie Brown Christmas (Soundtrack)”
> Release date: Sept. 18, 1978
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 6 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 99 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 4 million

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4. Josh Groban, “Noël”
> Release date: Oct. 9, 2007
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 1 (for 5 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 103 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 6 million

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

3. Mariah Carey, “Merry Christmas”
> Release date: Oct. 28, 1994
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 3 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 108 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 8 million

Source: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

2. Michael Buble, “Christmas”
> Release date: Oct. 14, 2011
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 1 (for 5 weeks)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 100 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 6 million

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1. Elvis Presley, “Elvis’ Christmas Album”
> Release date: Oct. 15, 1957
> Peak position on Billboard 200: No. 25 (for 1 week)
> Total time on Billboard 200: 75 weeks
> Certified U.S. album sales: 17 million

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