40 Essential Christmas Albums

Classics and new entries worthy of your holiday bonus


Johnny Cash, 'Christmas with Johnny Cash'

Johnny Cash The Christmas Spirit
Courtesy of Columbia Records

Johnny Cash's sonorous voice is not what you expect on a Christmas album – but his faith was strong enough that he made four of them anyway: one a decade, starting in 1963. This 2003 album compiles the highlights of the first three, plus a moving story he told on his TV program about an impoverished childhood Christmas. If Cash's voice sounds earthbound, that suits his the moral of the song-poems: the true spirit of Christmas is loving your fellow man.

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