5 new Christmas albums to help you spin the sounds of the season

Pentatonix stands in front of an all-white backdrop

Photo: Jabari Jacobs

As you string the lights, hang the wreaths, and deck the halls in preparation for Santa’s big day, here are five fresh holiday records, from across the musical spectrum. These releases are perfect for gifting to that music lover in your life — even if that someone is you.

Pentatonix, The Greatest Christmas Hits

The Grammy-winning, Arlington-formed acappella group is a reliable holiday fixture, and 2023 is no different, as Pentatonix unveils its 12th studio album, the sprawling 23-track The Greatest Christmas Hits. The quintet employs an elastic definition of seasonal songs — Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” sits alongside Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal” and Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose,” for example — but pulls it all together with plenty of verve. Pentatonix is touring behind the release, and will hit Fort Worth’s Dickies Arena on Dec. 20.

Koe Wetzel, Wetzel’s Wonderland

You might not peg East Texas upstart Koe Wetzel as the warm and fuzzy Christmas type, but the rising star has dropped a three-song EP to celebrate the season. (In press materials, Wetzel said “Christmas music is my favorite music to get drunk to. Also, I love eggnog.”) It’s a fascinating listen — Wetzel deftly mines the melancholy in staples like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

Kings Return, We Four Kings

The Dallas-based quartet — tenor Vaughn Faison, bass Gabe Kunda, tenor JE McKissic and baritone Jamall Williams —unveiled its debut holiday full-length album earlier this year, deftly blending the secular (“Jingle Bell Rock,” “Let It Snow”) and the spiritual (“Mary, Did You Know,” “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”) with aplomb. Kings Return is touring behind the release, and will perform at the Kessler Theater on Dec. 22.

Cher, Christmas

For all pop icon Cher has done in her expansive career, a Christmas album has, for whatever reason, never happened until now. With guest spots from Stevie Wonder, Darlene Love, Michael Buble and Cyndi Lauper, Cher mixes originals (“DJ Play a Christmas Song,” “Drop Top Sleigh Ride”) with staples (“Run Rudolph Run,” “Please Come Home for Christmas”) in her inimitable style.

Samara Joy, A Joyful Holiday

Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Samara Joy is keeping it all in the family on her debut Christmas EP A Joyful Holiday — “The Christmas Song,” one of six tracks here, features Joy singing alongside her father, Antonio McLendon. It’s a low-key, gorgeous effort, building upon the considerable pleasures of Joy’s break-out LP, Linger Awhile. Joy is touring behind the release, and performed at the Longhorn Ballroom on Dec. 10.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on X (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.