Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album is the fourth (non-EP) soundtrack album (after Glee: The Music volumes 1-2-3), and first Christmas album released by Glee. The album was released on November 16, 2010, with 7 songs featured in the Season Two episode A Very Glee Christmas, which aired on December 7, 2010. It was produced by Adam Anders, Peer Åström, and Ryan Murphy, with Dante DiLoreto and Brad Falchuk as the album's executive producers.
Writers for The Detroit News praised the "underappreciated" opening track We Need a Little Christmas and gave a B rating for what they opined as Glee's best album hitherto. Andrew Leahey of allmusic gave the album three out of five stars, unsurprised by the songs being "performed in Glee's familiar Broadway-pop style." He enjoyed Baby, It's Cold Outside and its unorthodoxy of being duetted between two males as "a refreshingly risqué move for Fox TV."
Tanner Stransky of Entertainment Weekly noted it as a standout track on the album, as did About.com's Bill Lamb, calling it "charm-filled," and E! Online's Jennifer Arrow, using the word "marvelous." Stransky gave The Christmas Album a B+ rating, calling it "plenty joyful, in that silly, Kidz Bop-for-adults way." He also called Amber Riley's rendition of Angels We Have Heard on High "soaring" while Arrow deemed it "amazing." Lea Michele's vocals on O Holy Night were complimented by both Arrow and Leahey; the latter compared them to those of Kristin Chenoweth.
Bruce Ward writing for the Ottawa Citizen, however, didn't like the track, and thought the song was uncomfortably slow. Lamb gave the album a four-star rating, calling it "an enduring collection" of "solid holiday music," and was delighted by the animated Deck the Rooftop, a blend of Deck the Halls and Up on the Rooftop. Ward agreed, but Leahey questioned the arrangement of this "urban mash-up," likening it to a song that would be performed by a Disney actress. Vanity Fair's Brett Berk decided the record was "not able to be categorized as good or bad," leaving it open for the listener to decide on the "twelve candy cane-sweetened tracks."
Writing for the New York Post, Jarett Wieselman thought the album overall sounded like the soundtrack of an advertisement for Gap, but praised the vocal work of Colfer, Michele, and Riley. Jonathan Takiff of the Philadelphia Daily News felt the tracks were too artificial and was disappointed the cast didn't cover more songs outside the realm of pop music.
Kyle Buchanan of New York lamented the fact that Jane Lynch was not the one singing You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, calling it a "missed opportunity," while Wieselman was confused at Lang's appearance on the track, wondering if previous guest star Olivia Newton-John would have been a better choice.
|Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album|
|1.||"We Need a Little Christmas" (Performed by Amber Riley, Chris Colfer, and Jenna Ushkowitz)||Jerry Herman||Cast of Mame||2:44|
|2.||"Deck the Rooftop" (Performed by Amber Riley, Cory Monteith, Jenna Ushkowitz, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, and Naya Rivera)||2:29|
|3.||"Merry Christmas Darling" (Performed by Lea Michele)||Frank Pooler and Richard Carpenter||The Carpenters||3:02|
|4.||"Baby, It's Cold Outside" (Performed by Chris Colfer and Darren Criss)||Frank Loesser||Ester Williams, Ricardo Montalbán, Betty Garrett and Red Skelton in the musical film Neptune's Daughter||2:46|
|5.||"The Most Wonderful Day of the Year" (Performed by Chris Colfer, Chord Overstreet, Heather Morris, Jenna Ushkowitz, and Kevin McHale)||Johnny Marks||2:00|
|6.||"Last Christmas" (Performed by Amber Riley, Cory Monteith, and Lea Michele)||George Michael||Wham!||3:38|
|7.||"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (Performed by Amber Riley, Dianna Agron, Jenna Ushkowitz, Lea Michele, and Naya Rivera)||3:09|
|8.||"O Christmas Tree" (Performed by Matthew Morrison)||2:59|
|9.||"Jingle Bells" (Performed by Cory Monteith, Kevin McHale, and Mark Salling)||James Pierpont||James Pierpont||2:55|
|10.||"You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (Performed by k.d. lang and Matthew Morrison)||Albert Hague and Ted Geisel||Thurl Ravenscroft for How the Grinch Stole Christmas!||3:18|
|11.||"Angels We Have Heard on High" (Performed by Amber Riley)||4:23|
|12.||"O Holy Night" (Performed by Lea Michele)||5:01|
|Australian Albums Chart||13|
|Canadian Albums Chart||1|
|Dutch Albums Chart||50|
|Irish Albums Chart||13|
|New Zealand Albums Chart||32|
|UK Albums Chart||37|
|U.S. Billboard 200||3|
|U.S. Holiday Albums (Billboard)||2|
|U.S. Soundtracks (Billboard)||1|
|Year-End Charts (2011)||Position|
|Canadian Albums Chart||12|
|U.S. Billboard 200||20|