Why *NSYNC’s ‘Home for Christmas’ Has Become a Millennial Holiday Standard

On November 10, 1998, beloved boy band *NSYNC released their first fully holiday-themed album. Home for Christmas was only their second full-length project, following the success of their self-titled debut a year prior.

Videos by American Songwriter

The record was also the group’s final release through RCA Records before inking a deal with Jive Records and dropping the hit record No Strings AttachedHome for Christmas offered a mix of harmony-driven originals and fresh renditions of holiday classics. The project arrived just months before *NSYNC fully emerged as a global pop culture phenomenon, and many critics weren’t yet buying into the hype.

Upon its release, Home for Christmas garnered mostly unfavorable ratings from reviewers. The album featured the same sugary-sweet production of their first LP, which won over millions of young listeners. Twenty-five years later, the same excited children and teens who became *NSYNC super-fans are now opinionated adults of their own. Millennials may be weighed down with student loan debt and high rent payments, but they’re not ready to let go of their childhoods.

[RELATED: 3 Books Every *NSYNC Fan Should Read]

When the members of *NSYNC reunited on stage during the 2023 MTV VMAs in August, it reawakened the band’s dedicated fanbase. Rumors swirled about more extensive plans for the group, including the possibility of a new album. Promotion of their comeback single, “Better Place,” was partially put on hold due to the SAG-AFTRA strike that coincided with the song’s release. Britney Spears’ revealing memoir, The Woman In Me, made headlines for its less-than-glowing description of her ex-boyfriend and *NSYNC member Justin Timberlake. 

That series of events has left fans clamoring for reminders of the old days—just in time for the holidays. Although Home for Christmas is an especially comforting listen this year specifically, it’s also become a seasonal tradition for many Millennial music lovers.

RCA Records

From the infectious joy of “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” to the innocent romance of “Kiss Me at Midnight,” Home for Christmas offers a needed respite from the doldrums of adulthood. Timberlake, JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Joey Fatone’s harmonic blend still captivates, even when the polished, 90s pop production shows its age.

Earlier this year, eager fans noticed an online pre-sale for a new vinyl pressing of Home for Christmas, which sold out within hours. To coincide with the record’s 25th anniversary, the band launched a holiday-themed merchandise line to celebrate the occasion. Clearly, the band’s team has picked up on fans’ excitement over the record and is ready to appeal to their urge for nostalgic joy.

Home for Christmas may never earn the title of a true holiday classic, but its impact on an entire generation shouldn’t be ignored. We may never get another seasonally-themed project from the band, but that’s okay. The sentimental joy that the record evokes continues to warm the hearts of listeners, even a quarter of a century after its debut.

Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Grammy-nominated Boygenius Tell What it Means to Get the Band Back Together