The holidays are a cash cow for the music industry, which cranks out an avalanche of yuletide albums with the same clock-work regularity of It's A Wonderful Life showing up on TV.
For artists and their labels, Christmas albums are easy to make and lucrative, too, since you don't have to pay songwriting royalties for standards that are in the public domain. Classic albums by Elvis and the Vince Guaraldi Trio sell year after year, decade after decade, and even newer ones can bring in big-time holiday gold: Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped in Red (2013) and Pentatonix's That's Christmas To Me (2014) both topped one-million sales worldwide.
For consumers, a new Christmas album is an easy stocking-stuffer for that family member who didn't give you a wish-list -- not to mention the perfect excuse to keep Grandma from playing The Regis Philbin Christmas Album for the 10th year in a row.
Here's the latest sleigh-load of major new Christmas albums:
Pop, Rock and R&B veterans
He might be Jewish, but Neil Diamond celebrates Christmas, too, with his folk-minded Acoustic Christmas, produced by Don Was and Jacknife Lee, who also helmed the singer's 2014's disc, Melody Road.
Still crooning at age 82, Frankie Valli turns in a bluesy version of "Merry Christmas, Baby" with guest guitarist Jeff Beck on Tis The Seasons, the first solo Christmas album by the Four Seasons legend.
Jimmy Buffett puts a nautical twist on Valli's title with 'Tis the SeaSon. His first Christmas album in 20 years features a cover of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime," a new tune, "Drivin' the Pig," and a Parrothead version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas."
On the opposite ends of the pop spectrum are Sarah McLachlan's Wonderland, featuring a duet with Emmylou Harris and Martha Wainwright, and R. Kelly's R-rated 12 Nights of Christmas, which includes his promise to "fill your stocking with sweet things."
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood lead the crowded field of country Christmas albums with Christmas Together: The new tune "Ugly Christmas Sweater" is the perfect bookend for their version of "Baby It's Cold Outside."
East Texas singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves delivers her first holiday disc in A Very Kacey Christmas. The Tex-centric album includes duets with Leon Bridges, The Quebe Sisters, and Willie Nelson on the amusing new tune "A Willie Nice Christmas."
A half-century after releasing her first Yule album, Loretta Lynn finally comes up with another in White Christmas Blue. The Coal Miner's Daughter mixes traditional tunes with a re-recording of her 1966 classic "To Heck with Old Santa Claus."
Reba McEntire covers Dolly Parton's "A Hard Candy Christmas" on My Kind of Christmas and her old colleagues the Oak Ridge Boys deliver their seventh holiday record, Celebrate Christmas-- not to be confused with Jennifer Nettles' new one, To Celebrate Christmas. Other country acts getting in the spirit of the season include Rascal Flatts (The Greatest Gift of All) and Brett Eldredge (the Sinatra-esque Glow).
A cappella and all the rest
Arlington-bred a cappella sensation Pentatonix rings the Christmas cash register once again with A Pentatonix Christmas, its third yuletide release. This one features covers of N Sync's "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" and a remake of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" with the naughty verse carefully excised.
Pentatonix isn't the only a cappella band who've come a-wassailing, as Straight No Chaser releases I'll Have Another ... Christmas Album. Along with the usual standards, the group covers Chuck Berry's 1958 classic "Run, Run Rudolph."
Jane Lynch recruits her Glee pal Tim Davis and The Office actress Kate Flannery for A Swingin' Little Christmas, while another star of stage and screen, Hamilton's Leslie Odom Jr., sings "Avé Maria" and other standards on Simply Christmas.
Having first hit the mainstream in the 2003 Xmas comedy Elf, Zooey Deschanel circles back to the most wonderful time of the year with Christmas Party by She & Him, her duo with singer M. Ward. Featuring cameos by Jenny Lewis and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley, Christmas Party is the probably the only album in Christmas history to include songs by cult folkie Vashti Bunyan ("Coldest Night of the Year") and the Chipmunks ("Christmas Don't Be Late").