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The Top Selling Christmas Albums of All Time
By Keith Caulfield, L.A. | December 24, 2013
Albums from Elvis, Kenny G and more rank high on the list.
Elvis Presley's "Elvis' Christmas Album" reigns as the biggest-selling Christmas album of all time in the United States.
The set, first released in 1957, has been certified as having sold 10 million copies
according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Billboard has compiled a list of the top 10 selling Christmas albums, using both RIAA certification information and actual point-of-sale data from Nielsen SoundScan. For albums released before SoundScan started in 1991, we used their RIAA certification to determine sales.
Following Presley is Kenny G's "Miracles: The Holiday Album" with 7.3 million
sold according to SoundScan. The jazz saxophonist's album, which was released in 1994, spent three non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Kenny G followed up the success of "Miracles" with five more Christmas releases, including "Faith: A Holiday Album" (released in 1999; 2.8 million) and "Wishes" (2002; 739,000).
Three albums are tied with 6 million in sales
each, according to the RIAA: Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song" and Mannheim Steamroller's "Christmas" and "A Fresh Aire Christmas."
Cole's "The Christmas Song" album -- with its famed title track (known to many as "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire") -- was originally released in 1960 as "The Magic of Christmas." It was reissued in 1963 under the new title, and included his 1961 recording of "The Christmas Song."
Mannheim's simply titled "Christmas" album was released in 1984, while its "A Fresh Aire Christmas" bowed in 1988. The instrumental group has been wildly successful with its various Christmas albums, having earned six No. 1s on Billboard's Holiday Albums chart through the years.
Josh Groban's recent smash album "Noel" is next up on the list, with 5.7 million
sold, according to SoundScan. The album was released in October of 2007 and quickly became that year's biggest selling album, with 3.7 million sold in 2007. It overtook the soundtrack to "High School Musical 2" to become that year's top seller. ("HSM2" had been the best selling album of 2007 until the week ending Dec. 16, when "Noel" jumped ahead of it. "HSM2" finished 2007 with 3 million.)
"Noel" spent five weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and at the time, that was the most weeks at No. 1 for any Christmas album. Its feat was since tied by Michael Buble's 2011 album, "Christmas." (The album with the second-most weeks at No. 1 is Presley's "Elvis' Christmas Album.")
A gaggle of pop divas are next in line on the all-time list: Mariah Carey's "Merry Christmas" (5.3 million
, according to SoundScan), Celine Dion's "These Are Special Times" (5.2 million
, per SoundScan) and Barbra Streisand's "A Christmas Album" (5 million
, according to the RIAA).
Carey and Dion's albums were released in 1994 and 1998, respectively. Carey's title carries the inescapable new holiday classic "All I Want For Christmas Is You," which has sold more downloads than any other holiday song ever (2.6 million).
As for Streisand, her collection was first issued in 1967. It's likely that it has sold more than 5 million since its last certification in 1999, though a more exact figure is difficult to determine.
Rounding out the list of the all-time top 10 best selling Christmas album is Johnny Mathis' "Merry Christmas," with 5 million
sold, according to the RIAA. Released in 1958, the album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.