40 Essential Christmas Albums

Classics and new entries worthy of your holiday bonus

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The Chieftains, 'The Bells of Dublin'
Courtesy of RCA Records23/40

23. The Chieftains, 'The Bells of Dublin'

In 1991, four years after the Pogues recorded "Fairytale of New York" (one of the greatest Christmas songs ever), their forefathers in traditional Irish music, the Chieftains, made a Christmas album of their own. (The Chieftains were the earlier version of the Pogues, with less attitude and better teeth.) The Bells of Dublin has great Celtic melodies, lots of fiddle and tin whistle, and guests that include Elvis Costello, Marianne Faithfull, Jackson Browne, Nanci Griffith, and oddly, actor Burgess Meredith.

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