Hey idiots, it’s Christmas Eve! If you’re not listening to Christmas music currently, then I really don’t know what to say to you.

There is perhaps a no more honored tradition that then pop star Christmas album. As a musician, it’s a way to say you’ve arrived (or in some cases, haven’t, but somehow got a record label to let you make a Christmas album). It’s also a great way to convey that your career is floundering hopelessly, and that you simply want to get your name in front of people when they’re at their the most sympathetic.

The aughts (ugh) were a great time for Christmas albums, and we heard weirdo versions of carols from pop stars, washed up rock stars, and Disney channel heroes alike. The aughts were also a horrible time for design and art of any kind, giving us excruciatingly amazing album covers to look back on. Here’s my favorite batch, in no particular order.

1. NSync, Home For Christmas, 1998


Sure, it’s not technically the aughts, I listened to this a ton circa 2001. It’s hard to say what the best part of this is, but I think it’s the awkward space between JC and Chris. They really didn’t want to touch.

2. Barry Manilow, A Christmas Gift of Love, 2002

barry manilow a christmas gift of loveThat facial expressions says “I’ll give you my gift.”

3. Christina Aguilera, My Kind of Christmas, 2000
christina aguilera my kind of christmas

Given Christina’s typical outfit choices, this whole aesthetic is pretty tame.

4. Clay Aiken, Merry Christmas with Love, 2004

clay aiken merry christmas with love

Ooh, he’s got a secret to tell you!

5. Destiny’s Child, 8 Days Of Christmas, 2001


Fresh from the slopes, the girls decided to keep their ski goggles on. For fashion.

6. Enya, And Winter Came…, 2008enya and winter came

No but seriously, is that horse made out of ice? Goddammit, Enya.

7. Faith Hill, Joy to the World, 2008


Okay, this one sort of wins on all counts. This is practically Taylor Swift-ian with its princess dress and coy expression.

8. Hilary Duff, Santa Claus Lane, 2002


Are the presents in the moped? Is she supposed to be a moped-riding Santa-type? Why is she handling those gifts so carelessly? Those don’t belong to her. Also, she’s married and is a mom now.

9. Josh Groban, Noel, 2007

josh groban noel As far as Josh Groban album covers go, I guess this is okay. He couldn’t have run a brush through those locks first, though? Or reconsidered that haircut entirely?

10. Mariah Carey, Merry Christmas II You, 2010

mariah carey merry christmas II Okay weird glitter bonanza aside, let’s talk about that terrifying snowman. Look at him rubbing his hands together! He’s plotting Mariah’s death, and your’s too.

10b. Mariah Carey, Merry Christmas, 1994mariah carey merry christmas

This gets a brief mention as the Christmas album of all Christmas albums, but was released too early to actually make the list. Aren’t her knees cold?

Honorable Mention: Boyz II Men, Christmas Interpretations, 1993

boyz ii men christmas interpretations

This is too old for the actual list, but COME ON. Christmas is very serious business.

Photos: Wikipedia Commons