Since nearly all of us only listen to Christmas music about one month out of the year, it’s easy to default to your personal favorite holiday albums — and hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. But we might not have our ears and attention focused on the high-quality brand new Christmas releases that come out each year. We will help guide you in the right direction, as we proudly present the 6 Best Christmas Albums of 2020.
1. The Holly & The Ivy – Tow’rs
This Flagstaff, AZ artist has created a holiday album that feels as cozy and warm (and dare we say, romantic) as a crackling fireplace. We love when artists are able to record and release a seasonal album while it remains true to who they are as artists. The Holly & The Ivy is masterfully produced (you can hear the handiwork of A Boy & His Kite), and weaves 3 originals with 7 carols – yet Tow’rs seems fully committed and intensely expressive on every track. Don’t miss it – The Holly & The Ivy is UTR’s pick for the best Christmas album of 2020. [SPOTIFY LINK]
2. A Seed, A Sunrise: Advent to Christmas Songs – Caroline Cobb
One of music’s greatest gifts is its ability to unlock deeper awareness and more understanding of Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. One Dallas-based singer-songwriter who has been deeply committed to singing about the redemptive story arc found in scripture is Caroline Cobb. Her November 20, 2020 release A Seed, A Sunrise is a 7-song album of all original songs – guiding the listener on the advent (or waiting) for the Messiah, the birth of Jesus, and the looking for His return. You’ll also hear melodic and lyrical callbacks to classic Advent hymns. [SPOTIFY LINK]
3. A Ben Rector Christmas – Ben Rector
We think Ben Rector is such a gift to the world of meaningfully-crafted pop music. We were excited when we heard he was releasing his first career holiday album. Let’s talk first about what worked. Ben channeled his inner Andy Williams and Frank Sinatra and delivered some stellar crooner vocals on tracks like “The Christmas Song” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” What lacked? Really just quantity. These 7 songs run a total of 19 minutes, and we all could use more. The only original, “The Thanksgiving Song,” is an instant classic. [SPOTIFY LINK]
4. A Jolly Irish Christmas (Vol. 2) – Rend Collective
Six years after releasing Campfire Christmas (Vol. 1), this native-Irish outfit is back with more foot-stomping fun to usher in the holiday season. If 2020 has been a year of difficulty and disorientation, you are likely looking for some joy and levity in your Christmas music — and Rend Collective does not disappoint. They lean heavy into the celtic sounds of stomp-rhythms, acoustic instruments, passionate vocals, and a few modern surprises. With 6 classic remakes and 6 originals, this album will almost cause the weariest of hearts to grow 3 sizes. [SPOTIFY LINK]
5. Heaven Has Come – Sovereign Grace Music
This 52-minute 12-track release is either all original songs or Christmas hymns with updated original choruses. Sovereign Grace is one of the leaders in congregational worship songs — in fact many of your churches have likely sung their anthems “Behold Our God” and/or “Jesus Thank You.” This Louisville, KY collective led by Bob Kauflin brings these Advent songs so the Church can sing new songs that proclaim: “Christmas brings unimaginably good news: heaven has come to us.” [SPOTIFY LINK]
6. A Drummer Boy Christmas – for KING & COUNTRY
This one surprises us as much as it surprises you. The majority of CCM holiday music that comes out is about as substantial as Wonder white bread. But occasionally one of the darlings of the CCM world surprise us with something that feels more accessible, relevant, and timeless – and this is exactly what the boys from for KING & COUNTRY have done. There are a few flashes of over-production, but on the whole, this release is fun, festive, orchestral, & contemplative – with a good mix of originals, carols, & guest artists. [SPOTIFY LINK]
We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. (a) Which of these are you going to check out – or give a closer listen to? (b) Have you already been loving any on this list? (c) Are there any 2020 holiday releases that you would add to this list?
Thank you – I will check out all six of these!