It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the Billboard 200 chart begins to welcome the annual onslaught of Christmas albums to the tally. Leading the charge is Pentatonix’s 2014 release, That’s Christmas to Me, which vaults 40-19 with 23,000 equivalent-album units earned in the week ending Nov. 12 (up 80 percent), according to Nielsen Music. (The set was reissued Oct. 30 with five bonus tracks, which aids its rise.) It’s one of 20 Christmas titles on the Nov. 28 tally — a number that will likely increase in the march toward the Dec. 25 holiday.
Trailing Pentatonix on the chart is Chris Tomlin’s recent release, Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship (104-50 with 10,000 units; up 72 percent), and Michael Bublé’s former No. 1 Christmas, which earns the list’s largest percentage gain (172-55 with 9,000 units; up 139 percent). The three titles lead the Top Holiday Albums chart.
Bublé’s set was released in 2011 and is his second-biggest-selling album, with 3.75 million sold. (It is only 83,000 copies away from eclipsing his best-seller, 2005’s It’s Time — with 3.83 million.)
But back to Pentatonix: That’s Christmas to Me finished 2014 as the year’s top-selling holiday album (1.1 million sold), and with few new major holiday sets arriving to retail in 2015, Pentatonix could rule again this year. Among 2015’s most significant new Christmas albums are Kylie Minogue’s Christmas, Train’s Amazon-exclusive Christmas in Tahoe, India Arie and Joe Sample’s Christmas With Friends and Kenny Rogers’ Once Again It’s Christmas. It is unlikely that any of those titles — barring a surprise surge in popularity — will trigger a blizzard of sales.
If That’s Christmas to Me goes back to back as the year’s top-selling holiday release, it will be just the third to do so since Nielsen’s first full year of tracking sales (1992). Previously, Josh Groban’s Noel (selling 3.7 million in 2007 and 915,000 in 2008) and Now That’s What I Call Christmas (1.6 million in 2001; 741,000 in 2002) did the trick. Kenny G’s Miracles: The Holiday Album was the only other title to be the best-seller in two years, as it led the pack in 1994 (3 million) and 1996 (888,000).