Now that the turkey has been dismembered, it's time to play those 17 different versions of "Little Drummer Boy" that have been taking up space on your iPod without fear of side-eye from your fellow commuters. Holiday albums are almost required of pop artists, bringing at least two advantages: further cementing their presence during an off-album cycle, and helping to continue to earn profit with managers and entourage members have holiday shopping to do. Whether or not they create an esteemed take on a holiday classic our children's children will listen to on repeat is a plus, but not necessarily priority.
While we'd like to believe that these images were born from some deeply creative summit, in hopes of capturing what these special days—both real and imaginary—say about the human spirit, we know better. When recorded and released over such a short period of time, it's clear that the most important thing to completing a holiday album is a green screen, followed closely by airbrushing. Cheesing for the camera is a necessary if you want your face front and center at Target and Best Buys come Black Friday. Holiday albums aren't always remembered for the songs themselves, and these stars have found a way to excel at serving up memorable, awkward cheer.
JOHN TRAVOLTA AND OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN, THIS CHRISTMAS (2012)
Siamese twins celebrate holidays, too. Also, why is Olivia's cup dwarfing Travolta's? Is Sandy still mad about what Danny said at the drive-in, and thus limiting his hot cocoa intake? Can we have some?
CEELO, CEELO'S MAGICAL MOMENT (2012)
An image like this reminds us why telling our children that a mysterious man arrives at their house every year with something called "reindeer" should cause nightmares.
BLAKE SHELTON, CHEERS, IT'S CHRISTMAS (2012)
Drink that egg nog while I steal your soul. Daddy knows when you don't vote Team Blake.
COLBIE CAILLAT, CHRISTMAS IN THE SAND (2012)
We know that people who live in warm weather climates love to rub it in all the time, but we're not even jealous that only thigh muscle separates Colbie's hibiscus-print wrap dress from the sand. Where's tree? Where is the mistletoe? The paper snowflakes?!
JUSTIN BIEBER, UNDER THE MISTLETOE (2011)
LADY GAGA, A VERY GAGA HOLIDAY (2011)
The Virgin Mary look no one is buying.
MARIAH CAREY, MERRY CHRISTMAS II YOU (2010)
It's hard to capture holiday lightning in a bottle twice, but after a natural approach to casually hanging around in a Santa suit (as one does this time of year), Mimi had to go and invite a creepy-looking snowman to ogle her from behind.
DAVID ARCHULETA, CHRISTMAS FROM THE HEART (2009)
Young Archie has been anxiously waiting for Santa to respond to his handwritten Christmas list. It's been years now.
TOBY KEITH, CLASSIC CHRISTMAS (2007)
Not everything works as some form of a cowboy hat.
RICK SPRINGFIELD, CHRISTMAS WITH YOU (2007)
One question, Rick: Where do the Christmas tree lights get plugged in? Getting electrocuted as you decorate your tree is a proud holiday tradition.
CAPTAIN & TENNILLE, THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS (2007)
The search is over. We've found the Top Two members of Santa's Naughty List! Get a room—or perhaps, a sleigh?
JESSICA SIMPSON, ReJOYCE: THE CHRISTMAS ALBUM (2004)
So we understand that "rejoice" is spelled wrong on purpose, but that post-sex hair is exceedingly awkward when paired with mom and dad's holiday ham.
DESTINY'S CHILD, 8 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS (2001)
Yes, ski goggles were present at the birth of Christ.
98 Degrees, THIS CHRISTMAS (1999)
Why didn't anyone invite Justin Jeffre to the shoot? Oh, sorry. He just blends in so well.
'N SYNC, HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (1998)
Turtlenecks: Lady repellent since before Joseph showed up at the inn.