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What would the holiday season be like without a winter wonderland of new Christmas albums to choose from? For your listening pleasure, we've highlighted this year's best, by some of today's hottest artists--with a legend or two thrown in for good measure: Yolanda Adams, Johnny Cash, Mandisa, Jars of Clay, Brian Setzer, and many others. Whether you like gospel, pop, rock, CCM, big-band, opera, R&B, country, jazz, or heavy metal, these albums offer something for everyone. So grab a hot drink, recline in your desk chair, and give your ears a treat with this sampling of Yuletide melodies.

Yolanda Adams
Mandisa
Over the Rhine
Johnny Cash
Brian Setzer
MercyMe
Queensryche
Jars of Clay
Paul Potts
Relient K
Vicki Winans
Keith Cooper


Yolanda Adams
What a Wonderful Time
This Grammy Award-winning "First Lady of Modern Gospel" has just released her second Christmas album. Normally known for incorporating gospel music with R & B, Adams experiments--to much success--with using jazz on this soulful collection of contemporary holiday hits.

'My Favorite Things'
Buy
'What a Wonderful Time'
Johnny Cash
Christmas with Johnny Cash
The Man in Black shines on this wonderful compilation of Christmas hits. This reissue includes songs recorded between 1962 and 1980, like "O Come All Ye Faithful" as well as the oft-covered country staple, "Blue Christmas," which was originally performed by Elvis Presley.

'Blue Christmas'
Buy 'Christmas with Johnny Cash'
Queensryche and Various Artists
Monster Ballads Christmas
Attention hair band and metal fans--have we got the album for you! This unique collection contains well known and original holiday songs from Skid Row, Stryper, Twisted Sister, Danger Danger, Billy Idol, and basically ever other hard rock band you never thought would release a holiday song. Queensryche's version of "White Christmas" is sure to rock your stockings off the mantle.

'White Christmas'
Buy 'Monster Ballads Christmas'
Relient K
Let It Snow Baby...
Christian band Relient K has had success in both the Christian and mainstream alternative rock arena because of their cool crossover pop-punk sound. Their new album, is no exception, and covers contemporary carols and originals like the witty, "Santa Claus Is Thumbing to Town," about a hitchhiking Kris Kringle. Their upbeat version of "12 Days of Christmas" will get your head bopping.

'12 Days of Christmas'
Buy
'Let it Snow Baby...Let it Reindeer'
Mandisa
Christmas Joy
"American Idol" season five finalist and Christian Contemporary artist, Mandisa, shines on her first--but hopefully not her last--Christmas album. The four-track EP includes the original radio hit "Christmas Makes Me Cry," where she duets with singer Matthew West. The song, which was written to support the military and their families, is on it's way to becoming a holiday favorite.

'Christmas Makes Me Cry'
Buy
'Christmas Joy'
Brian Setzer Orchestra
Boogie Woogie Christmas
Stray Cats frontman Brian Setzer, and his amazing band, put their trademark swing and rockabilly sensibility to a lovely variety of Christmas classicsincluding the oft-neglected "Boogie Woogie Santa Clause" and "Run Rudolph Run." Be sure to put on your best wing-tips and grab a dancer partner for his big-band twist on the classic "Jingle Bells."

'Jingle Bells'
Buy
'Boogie Woogie Christmas'
Jars of Clay
Christmas Songs
Popular Christian rock crossover band, Jars of Clay, cover traditional carols like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Drummer Boy," and perform a handful of originals instrumentals on their latest holiday album. They also put their own spin on Paul McCartney's hit "Wonderful Christmastime" as well as do a lovely version of "Love Came Down at Christmas" based off the poem by Christina Rossetti.

'Love Came Down at Christmas'
Buy
'Christmas Songs'
Vicki Winans
Happy Holidays
Of course, what would Christmas be without music by someone in the Winans family? On "Happy Holidays from Vickie Winans"the Grammy-nominated gospel artist's first Christmas album, most of the songs, have a slow R&B sound, as with "Silent Night" or have an upbeat feel like the first track, "Do Your Holiday Dance," which should be a requirement at any year-end party. Vicki's son, Marvin Winans Jr., appears on "Joy to the World."

'Joy to the World'
Buy 'Happy Holidays from Vicki Winans'
Over the Rhine
Snow Angels
Husband and wife music duo Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist perform mostly original songs on their second holiday record. Bergquist's soft bluesly vocals open the album with "All I Ever Get for Christmas Is Blue." On the hauntingly beautiful "White Horse," they incorporate a subtle country sound. A truly unique collection that will last for many Christmases to come.

'White Horse'



Buy 'Snow Angels'
MercyMe and Various Artists
Songs 4 Worship: Christmas Joy
If you're looking for a great Christmas compilation this season, this one may fit the bill. With carols by popular Christian Contemporary and gospel groups like Hillsong and Israel & New Breed, the album has something for everyone. MercyMe's powerful version of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" provides an uplifting worship experience.

'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear'


Buy 'Songs 4 Worship: Christmas Joy'
Paul Potts
One Chance
British opera singer is just starting out his professional music career. But, as the winner of the popular show, "Britain's Got Talent,"he actually wowed judge Simon Cowell he has already made legions of fans, at home and abroad. His new album, includes two bonus tracks, heartfelt renditions of "O Holy Night" and "Silent Night"

'O Holy Night'



Buy 'One Chance'
Keith L. Cooper
A Guitar's Carol
Although he may be best known for his work as lead guitarist with popular Christian big-band group Denver & the Mile High Orchestra, Cooper's solo projects involve soft acoustic instrumental arrangements and original compositions. His first Christmas album, "A Guitar's Carol" covers mainly traditional holiday songs, which will draw you in.

'What Child Is This'


Buy
'A Guitar's Carol'
Which "alternative" Christmas songs must go - forever!
Band Aid: "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
Bing Crosby and David Bowie: "Little Drummer Boy"
Bruce Springsteen: "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town"
Madonna: "Santa Baby"
Randy Brooks: "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"
New Kids on the Block: "Funky, Funky Christmas"
Cyndi Lauper: "Christmas Conga"
Other (Discuss Here)
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The Beliefnet Guide to Christmas
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Quiz: Here We Come A-Caroling
Test your knowledge of origins and contemporary renditions of Christmas carols with our quiz.


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