Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album is the fourth soundtrack album by the cast of the American musical television series Glee. The album was released on November 9, 2010 and accompanies the season two Christmas episode "A Very Glee Christmas", aired December 7, 2010. Dante Di Loreto and Brad Falchuk serve as the album's executive producers. Critical reception has been mixed, with the majority of professional reviews praising the cover version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" performed by Chris Colfer and guest star Darren Criss, as well as the vocals of Lea Michele and Amber Riley, but questioning the arrangements of some other tracks. The album debuted at the top position of the Billboard Soundtracks chart, as well as peaking at number three on the Billboard 200.
Six of the songs on the album are heard in "A Very Glee Christmas", a Christmas episode, which aired on December 7, 2010 on Fox as the last episode for the year. The tracks are "We Need a Little Christmas", "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch", "Merry Christmas Darling", "Baby, It's Cold Outside", "Last Christmas", and "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year". The cover of Wham!'s "Last Christmas" was previously released on November 24, 2009 as a charity record exclusively to the iTunes Store; part of the proceeds went to the Grammy Foundation to fund school education programs. It was never used in any season one episode, and marked the first appearance of the song on the Billboard Hot 100, at number sixty-three. It also charted on the Australian Singles Chart at number sixty, on the Canadian Hot 100 at number forty-six, and on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart at number twenty-seven. On BillboardTemplate:'s Holiday Songs chart, which measures sales and airplay, "Last Christmas" charted at number twenty for the 2009 holiday season.
The album's official track listing was revealed in a press release on October 26, 2010. Canadian singer-songwriter k.d. lang makes a featured appearance with Matthew Morrison on the track "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch", covered with the original lyrics—unlike the television version which changed the opening lyric from "Mr. Grinch" to "Sue the Grinch". Additionally, guest star Darren Criss makes a vocal appearance on "Baby, It's Cold Outside". A Glee Christmas card featuring the cast in Christmas sweaters was released to accompany the album.
Template:Album ratings Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album was met with mixed criticism upon its release. 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 GleeTemplate:'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—Chris Colfer and guest star Darren Criss—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 House Top". 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.
The album debuted at number eight on the Billboard 200 the week of November 24, 2010, with 161,198 copies sold, and the cover of "O Holy Night" debuted that week at number one on the Holiday Digital Songs chart. Also that week, the album saw a debut at number three on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 16,000 copies. The following week, the album dropped two spots in the US, with sales of 108,000, but held the same spot in Canada with 18,000 copies. On December 15, 2010, the album climbed to number one in Canada, with sales totalling 81,000; it also reached its highest point on the US charts at number three, selling 193,000 copies that week. The album was certified platinum with over one million in sales, GleeTemplate:'s second-best selling album behind their debut. It has sold 1,080,000 copies in the US as August 2013.
Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album peaked in both Australia and Ireland at number thirteen, in New Zealand at number thirty-two, and in the Netherlands at number fifty. Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album debuted on the UK Albums Chart at number thirty-seven the week of December 11, 2010.
The song from the album "We Need a Little Christmas" debuted on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart the week of December 6, 2010 at number twenty. "Deck the Rooftop" debuted on the same chart a week later, at number twenty-nine, as did "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year" the week after that, at number twenty-eight.