As musical genres go, Christmas albums have got to be one of the most diverse. At one end of the spectrum there are the Ray Conniff Singers belting out spunky and earnest versions of "Frosty the Snowman" and "White Christmas" on their 1959 classic, "Christmas with Conniff." At the other end is Pearl Jam, whose mournful 1998 Christmas release of Wayne Cochran’s "Last Kiss" was an unexpected hit for the Seattle-based grunge band.

One of the earliest Christmas albums to break into the popular mainstream was Gene Autry’s "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," which was released by Columbia as both a 78 and 33 1/3 RPM single in 1949. A 45 version came out in 1950, and that disc remains one of the best-selling Christmas records of all time. Throughout the early 1950s, The Singing Cowboy, as Autry was known, continued to release Christmas records on Columbia, including a 45 in 1952 with Rosemary Clooney ("The Night Before Christmas Song," backed by "Look Out The Window"), who had quite a run of her own Christmas records ("Suzy Snowflake" was Clooney’s 1951 hit).

Harry Belafonte, recording for RCA Victor, was another singer to try his pipes at Christmas records in the 1950s. A 45 featuring "Mary’s Boy Child" was released in 1956, while an entire album of Christmas music called "To Wish You a Merry Christmas" came out in 1958—of the two versions of this album, the stereo copy is more collectible than the mono. Nat King Cole released a string of 45s on Capitol from 1950 to 1956, including “Mrs. Santa Claus” and “My Two Front Teeth (All I Want for Christmas).”

Another landmark Christmas song from the 1950s was "Run Rudolph Run," a rockin’ 45 on Chess Records by Chuck Berry. And one of the most infamous Christmas tunes of the decade was Eartha Kitt’s sultry 1953 classic for RCA, "Santa Baby" (the picture sleeve features a very leggy Kitt being carried in the arms of a somewhat lecherous Santa Claus).

But the undisputed kings of Christmas music from the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s were Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley. Collectible Crosby records from these years include the pair of 10-inch albums he recorded for Decca in 1949, "Merry Christmas" and "Christmas Greetings," both of which were reissued as sets of four 7-inch EPs in 1950. Crosby recorded Christmas records with the Andrews Sisters ("Poppa Santa Claus," 1950), Carol Richards ("Silver Bells," 1950), and Danny Kaye ("White Christmas," 1954). One of the most collectible Crosby Christmas albums of the decade was "A Crosby Christmas," from 1950.

Sinatra’s first Christmas record came out in 1948. Titled "Christmas Songs by Sinatra," the first release of this 10-inch Columbia album is the most valuable—look for a gingerbread man on the cover. A subsequent reissue the following year is also prized—its cover is made of green vinylite. As with Crosby’s 1949 10-inch albums for Decca, Sinatra’s 10-incher was reissued in 1950 as a set of four 7-inch EPs. Later in the decade, in 1957, Sinatra recorded two more 7-inch EPs for Columbia, "Christmas Dreaming Vol. 1" and "Christmas Dreaming Vol. 2," as well as a full-length album for Capitol called "A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra" (the 1957 version with the gray label on the disc is considered more valuable than the 1958 copy whose label has a black colorband).

As for Elvis, his 1957 "Elvis’ Christmas Album" remains the best-selling Christmas album ever recorded, with more than 9-million copies sold. It is also one of the most collectib...

In 1961, the Lennon Sisters of Lawrence Welk TV fame had a hit with "Christmas with the Lennon Sisters," which included "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." A more improbable TV crossover was "Christmas on the Ponderosa," a 1964 RCA album recorded by the stars of "Bonanza," Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, and Dan Blocker (he played "Hoss"). The best known, and easily one of the most beloved, TV-generated Christmas records was by Vince Guaraldi, who, in 1965, wrote and recorded "Christmas Time Is Here" and other songs for "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

Throughout the 1960s, The Beatles sent Christmas flexi-discs to members of their fan clubs in the U.K. and U.S. The first of these, "The Beatles Christmas Record," was recorded in 1963 and sent to U.K. fans that year—the same recording would be sent to U.S. fans in 1964. The discs ran from four to seven minutes, and the earliest ones are, of course, most collectible. Interestingly, though, so is the compilation LP of all seven Beatles Christmas recordings, which was released in 1970 on the band’s Apple label.

Other rock bands were quick to follow The Beatles’ lead. The Beach Boys issued a Christmas album in 1964. Even Jimi Hendrix went into the studio to cut a Christmas record, but his work would not be released until 1974, four years after his death, when Reprise released a pair of 45s, one of which contained a medley that included "Little Drummer Boy" and "Silent Night" on both sides.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Papa Teds Place

Papa Teds Place

The late Theodore H. Althof, Jr's beautiful collection of vintage dimestore cardboard Christmas 'putz' village hous… [read review or visit site]

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]

317X

317X

Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Antique Christmas Lights Museum

Antique Christmas Lights Museum

George Nelson's incredibly detailed chronicle of vintage Christmas tree lighting. Browsable by decade and special t… [read review or visit site]

Bohemian Christmas Decorations

Bohemian Christmas Decorations

This simple site showcases over 500 artistic Gablonz glass bead antique and vintage Christmas tree ornaments, made … [read review or visit site]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Old Soviet Christmas Cards

Old Soviet Christmas Cards

This site showcases over 1000 old Soviet Christmas and New Years cards from 1950 to 1990. Browse through page after… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Original Nw Garage Punk Sonics/wailers Christmas Lp Etiquette 1966Mark Kozelek "sings Christmas Carols" Red Colored Vinyl Lp! Rare Oop Sun Kil!Beatles Want To Know A Secret/thank You Girl In Vj Christmas Photo SleeveBeatles Want To Know A Secret/thank You Girl In Vj Christmas Photo SleeveEast Coast Blues Keith Davis Pretty Baby Blues/exchange Hearts For Xmas M- Hear!The Beatles 1969 Christmas Flexi Record 7" Ps Uk Official Fan Club Item Keith Christmas Lp Pigmy Uk B&c 1st Press Beautiful AudioDanny Elfman Tim Burton Nightmare Before Christmas 2x Lp Picture Disc RarePearl Jam 2014 Christmas Single "imagine" John Lennon "deep" MagazineElvis Presley Elvis' Christmas Album Loc 1035 '57 Almost Perfect Album Cover!!! Rare Elvis Ep Cover - Christmas With Elvis - Cover Only - Rca Victor Epa-4340Elvis Presley - Elvis Sings Christmas Songs - 7" Ep Rcx121 - Gatefold SleeveVernon Garrett Sir Stan The Counts Christmas Groove Funk Soul 45 Glow Hill HearMisfits Horror Christmas Colored 7" Vinyl Only-oop Very Rare!!!The Beach Boys Lp-1st Press " Christmas Album " -capitol T2184Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Oop 2 X Picture Disc LpPearl Jam Unplayed 2001 Christmas Record Vinyl & Newsletter Eddie Vedder MintPearl Jam Crown Of Thorns 2001 Christmas Record Vinyl Eddie VedderElvis Presley Classic Original Record Album Loc 1035 Elvis' Christmas Album Boris Karloff How Grinch Stole Christmas Leo Orig 1966 Dr.seuss RareComplete Elvis Presley Christmas Album Lp Rca Victor 1035 W/photosBilly Fury=uk=ex=45=angel Face=1959=teen=christmas Prayer=jukebox Rock N Roll 7"Chipmunks 6lp Lot Let’s All Sing Red Vinyl Alvin Show Christmas Vol 2 12 Days Keith Christmas - Fable Of The Wings Rare ( B&c Records 1970 ) Never Been PlayedPearl Jam 2002 Ten Club Record Christmas Single Vinyl Never Played -- Vedder --Ella Fitzgerald A Swinging Christmas Microgroove Verve Lp In ShrinkCharlie Brown Christmas [lp] (vinyl, 1977 Charlie Brown Records)Elvis Presley Elvis' Christmas Album LpThe Beatles Vinyl Lp Introducing The Beatles Vjlp 1062, Mug, Ties, Cirque, Xmas Christmas With Elvis 7" Rca 45 Ep Epa-4340 33 1/3 Juke Box Very Good ConditionElvis Presley Gold Standard Promo 45 "blue Christmas" Rca 447-0647Pearl Jam 2006 Ten Club Record Christmas Single Vinyl Never Played -- Vedder --Pearl Jam 2007 Ten Club Record Christmas Single Vinyl Never Played -- Vedder --Electro Boogie 45 Marion Sheyke Christmas Came Too Soon Qp Hear NmCalifornia Raisins Christmas With 1988 Priority Still Sealed LpBollocks To Christmas 7" Ep Punk Oi! Skinhead Secret 4 Skins The Business Shakin Stevens Merry Christmas Everyone Ltd Ed Gatefold Advent Calendar 7" MintKeith Christmas - Pigmy First Press Rare ( B&c Records 1970 ) Never Been PlayedDavy Jones, (the Monkees) Limited Edition, When I Look Back On Christmas,Pearl Jam 1999 Ten Club 45 Vinyl 7" Christmas Single Strangest Tribe / DriftingChristmas Picture Sleeve 45 Elvis Presley - Santa Claus Is Back In Town / Blue CPearl Jam 2011 Ten Club Record Christmas Single Vinyl Never Played -- Vedder --Reader's Digest "christmas Through The Years" 5lp Record Box Set - 1984R&b Soul 45 Connie Christmas Big Chief Checker Hear Elvis Presley - Lot (2) Ep Epa 4108 Christmas Germany 45rpm Vinyl Records GermanJimi Hendrix Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 45rpm Green Vinyl W/ Pic SleeveCarpenters - Merry Christmas Darling - A&m 7" - Gatefold SleeveRca 45rpm----ep Elvis Presley 4 Songs #5 ChristmasThe Golddiggers - "we Need A Little Christmas", Tv Show Girl Group, ExcellentRare Rock & Roll 45 & Pic Sleeve - Elvis Preley - Blue Christmas - Rca # 0720Joemy Wilson - Gifts Vol. 1 & 2 - Trad. Xmas Carols / Hammered Dulcimer - 2 LpsRoland Hayes Christmas Carols Of The Nations Vanguard Vrs-7016 Original "10 LpCarpenters Christmas Portrait 33 Rpm Record Album A&m Sp-3210 Near Mint NmBing Crosby The Small One Decca Album 553 Christmas 78rpm 2 Disc Book PopHonegger Christmas Cantata Britten Carols Baudo Supraphon Mint-lp Collection Of 7 James Last Vinyl Lps Inc Live In London / Happy ChristmasR&b Blues Gary U.s. Bonds- Call Me For Christmas/mixed Up... Og Promo Legrand DjLi'l Wally, Polka Music, Jay Jay # 1017, Polish Christmas CarolsRonald Mcdonald Presents Night Before Christmas 7" 45 Ep Rpm Ps Mcdonald'sVintage "i'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas" - Irving Berlin - Record Cover