40 Essential Christmas Albums

Classics and new entries worthy of your holiday bonus

The Staple Singers, 'The 25th Day of December'
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Courtesy Columbia Records3/40

3. The Staple Singers, 'The 25th Day of December'

Recorded in 1962 but then out of print for decades, this is a forgotten classic: Christmas-themed gospel sung by three amazing sisters (the mighty Mavis Staples was only 23), backed with just organ, drums, and "Pops," their father, playing funky electric guitar. The Staples' first pop hits were still years away, but they already had talent and passion to spare. Regardless of your religious beliefs, when you hear "The Savior Is Born," you'll want to get up and testify.

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