By Kate Ward
Updated December 25, 2011 at 02:00 PM EST

Christmas with my family is very traditional. Every year, we get up early and eat a nice, home-cooked breakfast. Every year, we huddle in front of the Christmas tree in our pajamas. Every year, we spend several hours opening gifts and marveling at each other’s gift-giving abilities. And every year, we do all this with 98 Degrees’ This Christmas playing in the background.

It’s my fault, really, that my family has accepted this as common practice. As a young teen, I fell under the spell of Nick Lachey’s voice, and soon became the only one of my friends who chose 98 Degrees in a debate between who was better: Backstreet Boys or ‘N SYNC. (Sorry, friends: These men are Chippendale’s material. These boys had that hair. I win every time.) So, tired of Mannheim Steamroller and feeling like A Charlie Brown Christmas was way too obvious a choice, I suggested This Christmas. And since all moms are suckers for “Ave Maria,” soon, my mother was hooked too. And now, it’s become tradition: Christmas just isn’t Christmas without three men who love posing shirtless (and one who must always wear a tank top).

That said, it’s a horribly schmaltzy album. Even the most fervent of Nick Lachey lovers — me — will admit that it’s cheesier than a hunk of brie. But do you know what? Brie is awesome. And so is This Christmas. Full of Boyz II Men wannabe songs like “This Gift” and a somewhat creepy version of “Silent Night,” it’s the guilty pleasure gift that simply keeps on giving.

Anyone else think This Christmas is under-appreciated? Or do I simply have horrible tastes? (I’m fully willing to accept the latter. I’ll own it!) And what do you listen to with your family during the holidays?

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