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albums

10 awesome new Christmas albums for your next festive playlist

Christmas has been and gone, and that can only mean one thing: a new rush of Christmas albums!

But with so many to choose from, it can be hard to sort the Northern Lights from the knock-offs, so here's a list of the most exciting Christmas albums.

A Magical Time of Year - Lumos

Although its author seems to need reminding, Harry Potter has taught whole generations the importance of compassion and justice. So what better than a magical charity album to kick off this list? A Magical Time of Year features performances by stars from across the Wizarding World, from Claudia Kim (Fantastic Beasts' Nagini) singing 'Let It Snow' to Thomas Aldridge and Michelle Gayle (Ron and Hermione in Cursed Child) teaming up for a beautiful take on 'What Are You Doing New Year's Eve'. The best part? For every copy purchased, £1.20 goes to Lumos, a charity dedicated to keeping children out of neglectful, exploitative "orphanages" and in family environments. You can buy it from the iTunes store, or stream it via Apple Music, Amazon Music or Spotify.

Frozen II (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Taking a long car journey for a family Christmas, and need something to make younger siblings shut up for a bit? Well, the music from the sequel to the most iconic Disney movie EVER should do the trick. Or if you're a fan yourself, and want to hear Idina Menzel belting out 'Into the Unknown' on repeat, hop into your favourite streaming app and give this a lesson. Preferably accompanied by hot chocolate, warm blankets and a cuddly Olaf toy if you've got one.

A Fabulous Christmas - John Barrowman

Something for the Whovians now, as the actor we all went mad for when he played Captain Jack Harkness back in the 2000s releases his own festive album, mainly of classics from 'It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year' to 'O Holy Night'. It was released on Saturday 6th, so you've got plenty of time to enjoy it before Barrowman takes his place on the Dancing On Ice judging panel in January.

Christmas in the City - Lea Michele

This one's been out since October, so Glee fans have no excuse for not catching it! The actress' third studio album has something for everyone: the up-tempo bounce of 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' to slower, sweeter numbers like 'Silent Night', and a cover of Frozen's 'Do You Want To Build A Snowman?'. There are collaborations, too, with her Glee co-stars Jonathan Groff and Darren Criss, plus original song 'Christmas In New York', so you're sure to fly like a cannonball listening to this one.

Llegó Navidad - Los Lobos

On to some slightly more obscure ones now, starting with this LA-born group who've decided to give the festive season a Latin-inspired spin. The songs here, rather than yet more covers of everything from Silent Night to Last Christmas (the song, not the movie), are drawn from South America, Central America and Mexico, plus a couple of more obscure numbers from the U.S., incorporating every genre from R&B to ranchera. Plus, it finishes up with original track 'Christmas And You', plus the heartwarming classic 'Feliz Navidad' for anyone who's still sceptical. Another October release, it's available on Spotify and Google Play too.

Another Kind of Christmas - Ne-Yo

Still can't quite get 'Let Me Love You' out of your head? Then this one might be for you! The triple Grammy award-winner has thrown in five original tracks, plus old-school classics 'Carol of the Bells' and 'The Christmas Song', and a couple that may have slipped under your radar like 'Someday At Christmas', Stevie Wonder's musical call for peace and equality released during the Vietnam War.

A Very McCrary Christmas - The McCrary Sisters

If you have a religious stake in Christmas, and love singing along to gospel music, this Nashville-born quartet (and yes, they are all sisters) might have just the thing. If you ever wanted to hear 'O Come All Ye Faithful' and 'Away In A Manger', but with R&B, pop, Southern gospel and jazz all mixed in, this is the place to get it!

Moonlight, Mistletoe and You by Keb' Mo'

Nope, I hadn't heard of this blues artist either—but he's won four Grammy's, so he must be doing something right. This is his first-ever Christmas album despite a career lasting over 25 years, combining blues, soul, jazz and a bit of orchestra to create an 'engaging and unique' compilation to 'soothe your soul as you skid into the holidays'— perfect for those introverts out there who find the festive period more stressful than sparkling.

The Best of Pentatonix Christmas - Pentatonix

You can't go wrong with a good acapella spin on a traditional carol, as Pentatonix have already proven with three gorgeous holiday albums. 'The Best of Pentatonix Christmas' does exactly what it says on the tin, putting all of their best Christmas tracks in one place—from 'Carol of the Bells' and 'White Winter Hymnal' to 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and their mashup of 'Winter Wonderland' and 'Don't Worry, Be Happy'—along with four new songs! The perfect background noise for the evening, when you've polished off the leftover Christmas pudding and everyone's getting a bit drowsy...

The Last Christmas Soundtrack

Based on the music of Wham! and George Michael, Last Christmas was sniffed at by critics but adored by regular cinema-goers. If you're one of those who found it heartwarming and funny rather than 'brutally unfunny and contrived', the soundtrack—out since November—is the perfect stocking-filler for you.

What albums are you cosying up with this festive season? Anything not on this list that you think deserves to be there? Let us know in the comments.

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