Yes, there’ll always be a seat at the table for the usual Christmas jams (looking at you, Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé). But consider these titles, just added to the festive canon and very worthy of soundtracking your merry holidays!

Album cover artwork for Rob ThomasRob Thomas, Something about Christmas Time

The somber scribe behind such melancholy lines as “It’s 3am, I must be lonely” turns out a genuinely moving combo of new hits and classics. Pop on chilling ballad New Year’s Day, the album’s centerpiece, and try not to have a moment as Thomas feels the year past evaporate like tears in the rain. This, right after rousing anthem Small Town Christmas, feels positively rude. If most Christmas albums are meant to give you something to sing with the family at the grocery store, Thomas’s Christmas sounds distinctly more solitary. If you asked Santa to have your heartstrings pulled this year, Thomas has delivered. Get it here.

Album cover artwork for Delta GoodremDelta Goodrem, Only Santa Knows (Deluxe Edition)

Last year I said Delta Goodrem’s Only Santa Knows “might be the last Christmas album you’ll ever need.” On some level she must agree, because she’s putting it out again for 2021. Only this time, she’s bolting an EP’s worth of brand new pull-up-the-covers, from a massive version of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) to following the Ronettes tradition of Frosty the Snowman. The highlight is Delta wildin’ out on the swaggerific Sleigh Ride, ad-libbing a heels-off shout of “It’s Christmas, baby!” before holding a crystal-shattering vocal run for the outro. Love to hear you having fun, Delts. Grab it right here.

Album cover artwork for Paul Kelly with black vinyl record popping outPaul Kelly, Paul Kelly’s Christmas Train

All aboard folks, and I reckon Paul Kelly means “all”. What could be more apt for a Christmas album than embodying the spirit of ecumenicism, musically and otherwise? Sprawling 22 songs and just about as many genres and styles, Christmas Train reflects the talents and career of a man who’s spent twice that many Christmases in the music industry. There’s something here for everyone: a ukelele-driven take on Silent Night more apt for balmy Australian Christmas, banjo hits, a children’s choir, window-shuddering garage-rock, and an updated version of an Australian Christmas favourite from the gravy-maker himself. Aiming to encompass the diversity of traditions for a southern hemisphere holiday season, Paul Kelly’s Christmas Train welcomes everyone into the family. Buy it on CD and vinyl here.

Album cover artwork for Darren CrissDarren Criss, A Very Darren Crissmas

Straying off the beaten path, American Crime Story’s Darren Criss sets his sights on lesser known mid-century classics. Stylistically set to make your December mornings feel like a snow-besieged speakeasy, Criss’s jazzy spin around (Everybody’s Waitin’ for) the Man with the Bag is a high-energy highlight, but the album finds its feet in soulful, downtempo crooners that bring out the full sentimentality of the season. Get it here.

Album cover artwork for Kelly ClarksonKelly Clarkson, When Christmas Comes Around…

Christmas Isn’t Canceled (Just You) is surely the funniest Christmas song title of the year. A propulsive romp through all the things you’re gonna do for yourself this year, it’s a spirited pledge to be your own Santa baby. A more conventional selector than some of her compatriots on this list, Clarkson nevertheless brings her immense vocal power to bear on favourites like Jingle Bell Rock and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, and even lets her equally throaty contemporary Ariana Grande on for a song with Santa Can’t You Hear Me. A straight down the line good time. It’s available here.

Album cover artwork for Tony BennettTony Bennett,  Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album

While there’s a distinct joy to the pomo/esoteric/antipodean Christmas atmosphere, there’s something pure as newly fallen snow about classics sung by a classic. Pair the warmth and crackle of the fire on a white Christmas with the warmth and crackle of Tony Bennett’s White Christmas on vinyl for the first time. Industrial designers have yet to find a compelling way to stuff a stocking with a Spotify playlist, but for that sap-for-Santa’s-lap holiday tragic in your life, this’ll light up their December morning. Get your mitt(en)s on it here.