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2020 Christmas Music Guide

New Christmas albums, new holiday songs, variety specials, and countless holiday performances… it can be a lot to keep up with!

We all know the holiday classics, but it can be hard to keep up with all of the *NEW* Christmas music being released lately! (And there has been quite a bit!) So, I decided to make this handy little guide for you to see all of the latest albums, songs, and Christmas specials to listen to and watch this holiday season.

New holiday albums of 2020:

Carrie Underwood released her first-ever Christmas album, My Gift, this year, and with her outstanding vocals and a duet with John Legend, it is a must-add to your holiday playlist. It’s hard to believe she has never done a full Christmas album, but we’re thankful she finally has! Dolly Parton has always been one of our favorites, and now she’s spreading the love with A Holly Dolly Christmas, one of the cleverest album titles of the year. It features a plethora of special guests including Miley Cyrus, Michael Bublé, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jimmy Fallon, and more. Meghan Trainor has been serving positive, uplifting bops since she came onto the scene, and she keeps that train rolling with her new holiday album, A Very Trainor Christmas, which she worked on with her family during the lockdown. She even secured a collab with Earth, Wind & Fire on the song “Holidays.” Our favorite a capella group Pentatonix just dropped their newest Christmas album, We Need A Little Christmas, and they have slowly become a Christmas staple at this point. Tori Kelly’s A Tori Kelly Christmas is packed with her silky-smooth vocals. Also, you know him from Hamilton, but Leslie Odom Jr. just released his incredible holiday album simply titled The Christmas Album featuring duets with Cynthia Erivo and wife Nicolette Robinson. As if you weren’t excited enough to see the new holiday movie, Happiest Seasonit also boasts a stacked soundtrack with songs from Bebe Rexha, Tegan and Sara, Brandy Clark, Anne-Marie, and more. That’s not all, though. We also got new Christmas albums from JoJoLVRNfor KING & COUNTRY, and Ben Rector!

New holiday songs of 2020:

Dan + Shay released their first-ever original holiday song, “Take Me Home For Christmas,” this year. The music video features the adorable Smyers and Mooney families celebrating Christmas together (from a safe distance, of course!). They followed that up by surprising everyone with a second original holiday song, “Christmas Isn’t Christmas,” which perfectly encapsulates the upcoming strange season we are all about to face this year. Kelly Clarkson gifted fans with TWO new Christmas songs this year. The first was an original duet with Brett Eldredge titled “Under The Mistletoe,” and the second was a cover of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (no, not that one) a cover of the Vince Vance and the Valiants song. You can never go wrong with Kelly Clarkson, and she sounds outstanding on both tracks. Lil Nas X has been quiet lately, but he returned with new song, “HOLIDAY,” just in time to break some more streaming records right before Christmas. The Jonas Brothers released their second original holiday song, “I Need You Christmas,” after releasing “Like It’s Christmas” last year, showcasing two different emotions when it comes to the holidays. Gwen Stefani updated her 2018 Christmas album with a new deluxe version featuring the festive Ryan Tedder-produced song, “Here This Christmas,” this year, which is also the official theme song for the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas. Florida Georgia Line are busy getting “Lit This Year” and joined in on the fun of releasing their first original Christmas song. Liam Payne recruited TikTok star Dixie D’Amelio for their Christmas collab, “Naughty List.” Ingrid Andress has had an explosive year, and she is capping off 2020 by releasing an emotional original holiday song, “Christmas Always Finds Me.” If that isn’t enough to pack your Christmas playlist, this holiday season has also treated us with new Christmas songs from Ava MaxGabby BarrettCarly Rae Jepsen, Mandy Moore, and more!

New Christmas specials of 2020:

There’s nothing better than a Christmas variety special, and, luckily, we will have plenty to watch this year! Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey will debut “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special” exclusively on Apple TV+ on Friday, December 4. It is described as an innovative holiday event combining music, dance, and animation. It also features several high-profile special guests, including Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri, Tiffany Haddish, Billy Eichner, and more. Carrie Underwood just released her first Christmas album, My Gift, and she will debut an accompanying concert special, “My Gift: A Christmas Special from Carrie Underwood,” where she will perform traditional and original songs with a live orchestra and choir exclusively on HBO Max on Thursday, December 3. She will perform her original duet with John Legend, “Hallelujah,” and we will get a glimpse behind the scenes of her recording “Little Drummer Boy” with her song Isaiah Fisher. Dolly Parton will be ringing in the holidays with “A Holly Dolly Christmas” special, which premieres Sunday, December 6 on CBS. ABC has had such great success with their Disney family singalongs, and the series will return for Christmas with “The Disney Holiday Singalong” with BTS, Katy Perry, P!nk, Chloe x Halle, Ciara, and more on November 30. “CMA Country Christmas” will also return this year on November 30 hosted by country couple Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins with performances from Dan + Shay, Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini, Florida Georgia Line, Gabby Barrett, Lady A, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, and Darius Rucker with Lindsey Stirling. “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” will feature performances from Kelly Clarkson & Brett Eldredge, Dolly Parton & Jimmy Fallon, Meghan Trainor & Earth, Wind, and Fire, Dan + Shay, Gwen Stefani, Tori Kelly, Pentatonix, Leslie Odom, Jr., and the Goo Goo Dolls on Wednesday, December 2 on NBC. These specials don’t scratch the surface on all the holiday-related performances to come on morning, daytime, and late-night talk shows, so keep up with us on Twitter for all the latest performance announcements!

Blast from Christmas Past (Albums, songs, and specials you may have missed… or you might have never stopped playing them in the first place!)

Albums from Christmas Past:

You simply can’t do Christmas without some Mariah Carey, so make sure you’re streaming some “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and the rest of the iconic Merry Christmas album. “Get festive, daaahling!” Gwen Stefani’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas was first released in 2017 but has since been updated a few times adding a few new songs to the mix each time. The title track features fiancé Blake Shelton, and it has all the feelings of a good Hallmark movie. John Legend combined Christmas spirit with his signature smooth R&B-blues-jazz-pop sound on A Legendary Christmas in 2018, and he updated it with a deluxe version in 2019 featuring collaborations with Kelly Clarkson, Stevie Wonder, and Esperanza Spalding. One of pop music’s favorite singer-songwriters, Siatook her talents to the North Pole for Everyday Is Christmas featuring some of the most fun and carefree Christmas songs we’ve ever heard. Ariana Grande has a modern classic on her hands with “Santa Tell Me,” and her underrated Christmas & Chill EP is slowly gaining popularity every year. You have to watch the Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show, but then you’ll want to keep playing the songs and duets from the special when you’re done. When 2020 feels like too much to handle, it might be time to throw it back to young Justin Bieber days and listen to his amazing Christmas album, Under the Mistletoe. Young Bieber was able to pull some A-list collaborations with Mariah Carey, Usher, Boyz II Men, The Band Perry, and Busta Rhymes. Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped in Red will go down as one of the greatest Christmas albums of all time, and it never gets old. Don’t forget about other classic Christmas projects from Michael BubléPentatonixBrett Eldredge, and more.

Songs from Christmas Past:

Taylor Swift swooped in right in time for the holidays last year and released the original and person song, “Christmas Tree Farm,” reflecting on life growing up on a real Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania. Katy Perry released “Cozy Little Christmas” on streaming platforms last year, and she is even set to perform it on The Disney Holiday Singalong in December this year. Thomas Rhett released a two-pack of holiday songs last year with an original song titled “Christmas in the Country” and a cover of the classic “The Christmas Song,” and now we’re just hopeful in waiting for a full Christmas album from him. This next song went a little under the radar, but hopefully we can change that here. Nick Jonas and Shania Twain collaborated on their original song, “Say All You Want For Christmas,” in 2017, and it is a perfect duet with Nick getting to sing with one of his musical inspirations Shania. 

Specials from Christmas Past:

Kacey Musgraves released one of the most original and fresh takes on the tried and true Christmas special we’ve ever seen last year with The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show on Amazon Prime Video featuring duets with Troye Sivan, Camila Cabello, Lana Del Rey, Leon Bridges, and James Corden and appearances from Dan Levy, Kendal Jenner, Zooey Deschanel, and more. John Legend kicked off the holiday season last year with A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy, which featured appearances from Chrissy Teigen, Meghan Trainor, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, and more.

I know this list quite extensive, but I’m also sure it doesn’t even begin to graze the surface on everything that is out there this year. (Let me know what I need to add!) Regardless, there is SO much Christmas music out there to listen to, and with the year we’ve all had, I think we all need a little Christmas right about now.

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