Nostalgia Dominates New Holiday Albums

For many of the recording artists who release new Christmas albums, dreaming of a white Christmas can be a stretch. After all, most of the albums are recorded six months before the holiday.

When Canadian crooner Diana Krall recorded this year's best-selling holiday album in Los Angeles, she had to rely on some Hollywood imagination and props for inspiration.

A fake tree, snowflakes and lights were brought in.

"It was not just a matter of it being recorded in July," said Ron Goldstein, president and CEO of the Verve Music Group, "but July in Los Angeles of all places."

The trick must have worked. Her album tops Billboard's newest list of holiday albums, and that's no small feat.

"There are 2,100 albums out for Christmas this year -- Christmas-specific titles," said Tamara Conniff, co-executive editor of Billboard magazine.

Why So Many?

There are more than double the number of holiday albums this year than a decade ago. Why so many?

"Christmas music never loses its luster," Conniff said. "The holidays come around. People get nostalgic."

Retailers have taken notice. Coffee shops and drugstores now compete with record stores and sell holiday albums. Radio stations are also aware of the hunger for holiday music. More than 270 of them are playing it.

"They want to hear Christmas songs and 'O Holy Night,' and the original artists who have done those songs," said Maureen McClain of WASH radio station in Washington, D.C.

Industry experts say newer artists sell their Christmas albums by sticking to the classics. For instance, Krall's label said she didn't reinvent the wheel -- she made it better.

And so, apparently, has the pop-opera group Il Divo. This year, the group is second on the charts with its holiday remakes, selling close to 350,000 albums.

Remaking traditional music is a familiar -- and successful -- formula, with an audience guaranteed to come around once a year.

ABC News' David Muir contributed to this report.

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