It’s the time of year when thoughts turn to mulled wine and carols. If you’re a record label, that means coming up with something fresh, a big ask given over 1,000 years of documented festive music-making.

If it’s a Messiah or a Christmas Oratorio you are after, there are plenty of reissues out there this year, but for originality, here are four discs that offer something a little bit different and five that are rather special.

For a savvy blend of old and new, try Christmas from the Chapel Royal, sung with palpable commitment by the Choir of HM Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace under conductor Carl Jackson (Resonus Classics RES10327). As well as classy arrangements of traditional favourites, there are special treats like William Mathias’ A babe in born and Martin Hindmarsh’s Of a rose sing we.

Equally shrewd is the mix of the familiar and the unexpected on Sweet was the Song, a collection put across with gusto by the Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum under Simon Bell (Regent REGCD577). There’s a wonderful sense of joy here, from Matthew Martin’s dramatic Nowell sing we to Philip...