Just because you’ve surrendered to the Christmas spirit it doesn’t mean you have to listen to the cheesy tracks they play at the supermarket. Instead, class it up and throw these five festive classics on your stereo while you help grandma put icing on the cake.
1. A Christmas Gift for you from Phil Spector – Various artists (1963) Rolling Stone placed this Spector-produced classic at Number 142 on their list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and for good reason. The whole Philles Records stable makes this one pop with enough sugary Christmas sap to make you skip dessert. The Crystals’ “Santa Claus is coming to Town” in particular melts in the mouth. No wonder Brian Wilson calls this his favorite album ever. (Photo: Instagram, @matthew.barton)
2. The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album (1964) Speaking of Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys’ primary songwriter and producer did well to match his hero Phil Spector with this playful collection of Christmas tunes. Upbeat numbers like “Little Saint Nick” reflect the mood of a sunny California Christmas way better than the awful sweaters they wear on the album sleeve. (Photo: Instagram, @djtherightway)
3. A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra – Frank Sinatra (1957) On this classic Ol’ Blue Eyes wraps up 50s America in the orchestrated musical equivalent of green and red wrapping paper. It is preppy and almost unbearably polite, but isn’t that exactly what you will be when your in-laws come streaming through the door? (Photo: Instagram, @k_crazy_cat_lady)
4. Merry Christmas – Mariah Carey (1994) With over 15 million worldwide sales, Mimi’s Merry Christmas is the father of all Christmas albums. It contains the international mega-hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and Carey’s voice lends itself incredibly well to the subtle gospel-tinged audio cheese enhanced further with excellent, churchy background vocals. (Photo: Instagram, @paulavenessa)
5. Christmas – Michael Bublé (2011) Sure, this one might actually play at the mall, but that does lend it a certain sense of familiarity you lack with those distant nephews crowded around the Christmas dinner table. Bublé pushes the warm and fuzzy familiarity further by including his own version of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and almost rides Mariah Carey’s winter coattails to a mammoth 9.3 million sales – mostly to malls and ice skating rinks. (Photo: Instagram, @alexis_)