As we count down the shopping days remaining until Christmas, let’s also count down the top 25 holiday albums. This list is drawn from Billboard’s Greatest of All Time Top Holiday Albums chart, which is based on actual performance on Billboard’s weekly Top Holiday Albums chart from its inception on Dec. 21, 1985, through the ranking dated Jan. 8, 2022.
Mannheim Steamroller has four albums in the top 25, more than any other artist. Pentatonix and Trans-Siberian Orchestra each have two. The top 25 includes two Various Artists albums – NOW That’s What I Call Christmas! and A Very Special Christmas – and one soundtrack – the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Nine of the top 25 albums are instrumental. Six are by male solo vocalists; four are by female solo vocalists. Two are by a vocal group (the aforementioned Pentatonix), one is by a vocal duo (Carpenters).
The most prized tracks on two of these albums were first recorded in the 1940s. Bing Crosby first recorded “White Christmas” in 1942 for the film Holiday Inn, in which he co-starred with Fred Astaire. Nat King Cole first recorded “The Christmas Song” in 1946, when he was still with the jazz trio, The King Cole Trio. These two classics were among the first five recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974.
Let’s take a closer look at the top 25 holiday albums since 1985. We show the album’s release date, its Billboard 200 peak and the names of any guest artists who appeared on the standard edition of the album.