The future of music

60 Best Christmas Songs (Top Xmas Hits & Classics)

September 29, 2022
best Christmas songs

Christmas is a time to get into a merry mood.

But there’s no Christmas without some familiar tunes and heartfelt lyrics to go with it.

The best Christmas song don’t have to be boring.

And in this list, you’ll find the right tune to put you in the Christmas spirit.

From everybody’s favorite Christmas classics like “Jingle Bells” to unifying tunes like “Feliz Navidad,” we’ve covered some of the best Xmas songs to spice up the moment.

So, without wasting time, let’s dive into our list of the 60 best Christmas songs of all time.

Table of Contents

1. “Jingle Bells” – Little Bum Nursery Rhyme Friends

Perhaps this is the first track that comes to mind when people talk about the best Christmas songs. And in all honesty, what’s a Christmas holiday without jingle bells?

We can talk about typical Christmas songs like “We Wish You A Merry Christmas, “Silent Night,” and “Mary Did You Know,” but when it comes to a classic all-timer, the joyful “Jingle Bells” is second to none.

2. “Feliz Navidad” – Jose Felicano

“Feliz Navidad.” It probably isn’t Christmas if you don’t hear that line.

‘Feliz Navidad’ is a Spanish word combination that translates to Merry Christmas. Written by Jose Felicano, the track has undoubtedly become a true Christmas classic around the world.

It is a simplistic song with only 19 words and has become a constant unifying factor during the festive season.

3. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” – Michael Buble

I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is a 1943 track from a sad perspective. It is about an overseas soldier longing to be home with his family for the festive season.

The original version was recorded by Bing Crosby and is rated among the US’s top 10 most performed songs.

The melancholic mood continues throughout the song, with a sad ending: “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.”

4. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” is a 1994 track by Mariah Carey that describes her desire to be with a special someone on a special occasion.

Nothing can match her lover’s company, and that’s the only gift she would rather have for the holiday.

The uptempo love song is synonymous with magnificent vocals, fast becoming a Christmas staple over the years.

5. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – Jackson 5

“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” is a Christmas track with impressive lyrics written by Tommie Connor. Many artists have covered it since Jimmy Boyd recorded it in 1952, including The Ronettes, The Beverley Sisters, Jackson 5, and Molly Bee.

Upon its release, the track was the subject of heavy criticism from a section of the catholic faithful condemning the language and its association with a Christian holiday.

6. “Little Things” – ABBA

ABBA’s “Little Things” is reminiscent of many Christmas holiday classics like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

But listening to it, the first thought that will cross your mind is, “why did it take them so long to release a Christmas song?”

The singer’s passionate vocals set the romantic element as he mentions the little things that make the occasion quite memorable.

7. “Never Felt Like Christmas” – Lizzo

“Never Felt Like Christmas” is a famous Christmas carol packed with Lizzo’s typical good vibes and energy.

In case you weren’t aware, Lizzo’s 2020 Christmas track is a romantic song with soulful lyrics like, “Never cared for jingle bells or picking out a tree/I would rather paint my nails and watch some bad TV/But ever since we shared a kiss, I’ve been spreading the news/It never felt like Christmas.”

8. “Away In A Manger” – Kidzone

“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed/the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.” That’s the first line in this pleasantly sounding Christmas carol.

Christians will probably know that Jesus Christ was born in a manger.

And that’s precisely what this track is all about. In the song, the emphasis is on the events associated with the birth of Jesus, as he lacks any comfortable bed or crib and is only laid down in a manger.

9. “Merry Christmas Darling” – The Carpenters 

“Merry Christmas, Darling” is a Christmas-themed song by Richard Carpenter and Frank Pooler. This masterpiece was Carpenter’s first shot at Christmas music, making it even more impressive.

It is an underrated Christmas tune, with lyrics that only compare to a few of the best 1970s classics.

10. “Hard Candy Christmas” – Dolly Parton

“Hard Candy Christmas” is a metaphoric term referring to the period when the less fortunate families would only offer hard candy to their children as the perfect Christmas gift.

It outlines the bitter-sweet nature of life, confirming all we’ve known all along. Carol Hall is credited with writing a song with a similar name before Dolly Parton later popularized it in 1982.

11. “Jingle Bell Rock” – Bobby Helms

“Jingle Bell Rock” uses the famous jingle bell phrase to sum up the Christmas mood. It is all about enjoying yourself, making memories, and freeing your mind during Christmas.

Inspired by the 50s bops at the time of release, “Jingle Bell Rock” is a refreshing tune, setting the mood for the perfect holiday season.

12. “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” – Michael Buble 

Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine wrote this song for the 1944 movie ‘Meet Me in St. Louis.’ It’s an incredible masterpiece that has been performed by many artists.

Sam Smith’s cover version is a traditional pop song that debuted at #90 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart upon its release in 2014.

Besides, the track climbed to the top ten on the US Holiday and Canadian Adult contemporary charts. It also had great success in Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark, and the Czech Republic.

13. “Santa Baby” – Eartha Kitt

“Santa Baby” has been viewed as a sexualized song with explicit lyrics. But when you look at the superficial meaning, it’s about a woman who needs the most extravagant gifts for the Christmas holiday.

Eartha Kitt initially performed it in 1953 with intriguing lyrics that quickly made it a Christmas staple.

14. “Step Into Christmas” – Elton John 

Step Into Christmas” falls into the most beloved Christmas tunes category. It is an upbeat Christmas classic that’s self-explanatory.

The writer, Elton John, welcomes us into the true Christmas mood, seeing the beautifully falling snow as they rejoice, drink, and enjoy the moment.

Isn’t that what the Christmas holidays are all about?

15. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – Mariah Carey

The simple interpretation of the lyrics is a woman’s wish that her man could return for the holidays.

It is a joyful song in all senses, with a dominant theme of love to compliment the lyrics.

Despite the compelling composition, this original song wasn’t popular until the 1980s, when the mainstream media adopted it, making it a beloved choice amongst the audience.

16. “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” – Johnny Marks

“Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” is a compelling Christmas tune by Johnny Marks.

While the lyrics are somehow outdated, it hasn’t taken anything away from the beauty of this track, which is quite appealing to teenagers and Christmas party lovers.

Many artists have produced cover versions in recent years, including Hannah Montana, Justin Bieber, Kim Wilde, and Mel Smith.

17. “If We Make It Through December” – Piston Annies

It might be impossible to match Merle Haggard’s 1973 version, but Pistol Annies’ version of “If We Make It Through December” is likable in many ways.

While not originally a Christmas song, the lyrics are quite refreshing, providing a piece of American history.

18. “The Christmas Song” – Michael Buble

It’s been called “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” and “Merry Christmas to You,” but why would someone name their song “The Christmas Song?”

Well, probably because it is one of the best in this category.

Anyone who knows the beauty of a timeless classic will understand the compelling nature of this 1945 track by Mel Torme and Robert Wells.

A slow, cheerful song with the perfect holiday greeting, it might just be the one to put you in the mood for the festive season.

19. “Do They Know Its Christmas” – Midge Ure & Bo Geldof 

Who would have thought that one of the greatest Christmas tunes of all time would be inspired by famine in Ethiopia?

“Do They Know Its Christmas” is a song by Midge Ure and Bo Geldof as part of a charity mission to support the victims of the 1984 Ethiopian famine.

You can call it a charity song and the perfect tune where empathy becomes a priority.

20. “Fairytale Of New York” – Frank Murray & Elvis Costello

Frank Murray and Elvis Costello’s “Fairytale Of New York” takes a closer look at the Irish immigrants and their nostalgic Christmas stories.

The setting is in New York, and while the track has remained popular ever since its release, it’s been the subject of controversy from a section of listeners.

21. “There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays” – Perry Como

“There’s No Place Like Home For the Holidays” truly is a special track that lives up to the title.

It is a Christmas special originally composed by Robert Allen. However, the most popular version is credited to Perry Como, who recorded the song on two separate occasions.

Other versions in recent years have been released by Robert Goulet, the Muppets, Joe Pass, and Garth Books.

But the most iconic track has to be the Carpenters’ version, released in 1984 for their ‘Old Fashioned Christmas’ album.

22. “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” – Ross Bagdasarian

This is an innovative Christmas classic created by Ross Bagdasarian.

In the track, Ross, appearing as David Seville, creates a fantastic piece using the distinctive high-pitched chipmunk vocals. 

The novelty Christmas song was a commercial success, winning the Best Comedy Performance, the Best Engineered Record, and the Best Children’s Recording awards at the 1958 Grammy Awards.

Besides, it was Chipmunk’s only song to become a #1 single.

23. “Blue Christmas” – Elvis Presley & Martina McBride 

“Blue Christmas” is a Christmas classic originally written by Jay W. Johnson and Billy Hayes.

However, Elvis Presley’s 1957 version is recognized as one of the greatest rock-and-roll holiday classics, musically, lyrically, and culturally fitting for the festive season. 

24. “Winter Wonderland” – Michael Buble 

The seasonal theme portrayed in this track makes it a classic Christmas song. It is about a young couple’s best life during the winter season. 

“Winter Wonderland” has been covered by over 200 artists, some disappointing while others enjoying massive success.

While the original track is attributed to Richard Bernhard Smith and Felix Bernard, Guy Lombardo’s cover is well documented, becoming the highest-rated festive classic at the time of release.

Johnny Mercer released his version in 1946, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Airplay chart.

25. “Silent Night” – The Temptations 

“Silent Night” is a simplistic song with wonderful lyrics, first heard in 1818.

It is one of those tunes that never seem to go away, narrating a calm, silent night when a child, presumably Jesus Christ, was born.

And who best to write the lyrics than a young Austrian priest, Joseph Mohr?

The track has been translated into more than 300 languages, sung in town squares, performed in churches, and sung on battlefields.

And if you want to know the authenticity of the comforting lyrics, you should spare 3 minutes to listen to this wonderful piece that has stood the test of time.

26. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Frank Loesser

In 1944, Frank Loesser wrote a unique piece associated with the festive season. The track became famous after featuring in the 1949 ‘Neptune’s Daughter’ film.

While the song doesn’t mention the Christmas holiday, it’s commonly associated with it because of the dominant winter theme.

Despite being a Christmas staple in recent years, the lyrical controversy around this song is well documented.

A section of the critics believe it is more of sexual harassment, with the lines, “Say, what’s in this drink?” suggesting the singer’s persistence to have the lady accept his advances when she clearly wants to go home.

With all the controversy, perhaps it would be worthwhile to listen to this piece and be the judge.

27. “The First Noel” – Carrie Underwood

The First Noel, sometimes called The First Nowell, is a common Christmas carol with roots in Carols Ancient and Modern of 1823.

Nowell in early modern English translates to Christmas, so it’s easy to see its association with the festive period. 

28. “White Christmas” – Bing Crosby

“White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin, recalling the good old Christmas atmosphere.

It was part of Berlin’s 1942 Holiday Inn music film, crowned the Best Original Song at the 15th Academy Awards.

Like many Christmas songs, ‘White Christmas’ is available in many versions, with Bing Crosby’s version selling over 50 million copies around the world, becoming the highest-selling single along the way.

A few other versions with charting success in recent years were performed by Frank Sinatra, Gordon Jenkins, Michael Buble, The Ravens, Mantovani, and Andy Williams, to mention a few.

29. “River” – Joni Mitchell 

Christmas can also be a troubling moment. And Joni Mitchell finds herself uncontrollably sobbing on a day when everybody else is in a merry mood.

Joni is heartbroken, and all she desires is to avoid any celebration around her.

As the melancholic tone sets the stage, you can almost feel the pain in the singer’s voice, which is probably why “River” has been one of the most popular Christmas songs in recent years.

30. “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” – John Lennon 

John Lennon’s ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ is an iconic Christmas song with a subtle political message.

While many people marvel at John’s lyrical prowess and magical vocals in the track, the song’s true meaning is attributed to the Vietnam War.

The lyrics were inspired by a 1969 campaign to protest the US’s involvement in the infamous war.

Lennon compiled this track as a messenger of peace, coming up with yet another masterpiece in his quest to promote social unity with his heavy-hitting lyrics, a classic anti-war song.

He expresses a feeling of optimism, deviating from the sentimentality that’s synonymous with many Christmas classics.

31. “The Christmas Shoes” – NewSong 

“The Christmas Shoes” is a 2000 Christmas-centered track based on an emotional story of a little boy who couldn’t buy shoes for his dying mother.

Fortunately, a kind stranger chipped in to save the little boy by paying for the new pair of shoes.

The song emerged from the sensational narration, originally written by Leonard Ahlstrom and Eddie Carswell of NewSong.

32. “Just Like Christmas” – Low

It might not be the best-sounding Christmas-themed song you will come across, but the Low band’s “Just Like Christmas” track is still one of the best tunes to listen to on the special occasion.

33. “Twelve Days of Christmas” – Bob and Doug McKenzie 

Ask anyone their favorite Christmas carol, and some will doubtless mention Bob and Doug McKenzie’s “Twelve Days Of Christmas.”

A few will probably remember the famous line, “On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree.”  

34. “Run Rudolph Run” – Chuck Berry

Nobody seems to know who wrote this excellent masterpiece, with some sources mentioning John Marks as the actual owner while the rest settling on Chuck Berry.

But what everybody agrees is that it was an excellent piece of art, summing up the Christmas atmosphere.

35. “O Holy Night” – Mariah Carey

“O Holy Night” will put you in the real Christmas mood with the beautiful narration about the birth of Jesus Christ.

The song traces the humble beginnings of the Savior, remembering the glorious night when Jesus was born in a manger.

The lyrics embody love, joy, and hope, and it’s little surprise that it’s become a popular Christmas song.

36. “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” – Andy Williams

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” is a celebratory song about the events associated with the festive season. 

The powerful intro identifies the iconic Christmas song with lyrics as exceptional as the title. Since its release by Andy Williams in 1963, many artists have covered this song, including Harry Connick Jnr., Patti LaBelle, and Garth Brooks, just to mention a few.

37. “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” – Michael Buble 

The message in the song is self-explanatory. The track references all the things that characterize a Christmas holiday.

From decorations like a “tree in the Grand Hotel” to the glowing “candy canes and silver lanes,” it is indeed starting to look a lot like Christmas.

While Meredith Wilson is credited with writing the original song, the track has been recorded by many artists.

You won’t get enough of Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters’ version, rated among the best Christmas songs to date.

38. “Christmas Time Is Here” – Vince Guaraldi 

This is a popular Christmas track written by Vince Guaraldi and Lee Mendelson. With the magical vocals and passionate lyrics, this track reminds everyone of what Christmas is all about.

The 50-year-old song is one of the best pieces composed by Guaraldi and has been a hymn for generations.

39. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” – Bing Crosby

This song is a popular masterpiece written by Noel Regney and his wife, Gloria Shayne.

It is a creatively written Christmas song compiled during the Cuban missile crisis. The track has sold countless copies and has been popularized by many artists.

40. “Santa Tell Me” – Ariana Grande

This Christmas classic has Ariana Grande imploring Santa to grant her a wish. And the wish is to find the perfect lover who won’t break her heart even before the holiday is over.

Ariana collaborated with Savan Kotecha and Ilya Salmanzadeh to compile this piece that has been a staple in Christmas parties, especially where romance is involved.  

41. “We Need A Little Christmas” – Angela Lansbury

“We Need A Little Christmas” is one of the most popular Christmas songs attributed to Jerry Herman’s Broadway musical Mame. 

Angela Lansbury performed the first version of the song in 1966, with many artists following in her footsteps, retaining the same compelling lyrics that made many people fall in love with the tune.

42. “Christmas Wrapping” – The Waitresses 

Chris Butler got everything right in his 1982 hit song, “Christmas Wrapping.” At the climax of the festive period, a romantic affair blossoms, turning into the perfect Christmas for the two lovebirds.

The idea in this track is that things will always work out in the end. And it doesn’t matter how festive or sad you are on the special occasion.

43. “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” – Donald Yetter Gardner 

In 1944, Donald Yetter Gardner, a renowned music teacher, gave us a classic Christmas tune to brighten the festive season.

For children, there’s no better way to welcome the Christmas period than listening to classic tunes sung by their favorite kindergarten teacher.

And standing in for his wife in a 1946 second grade class, Donald realized that almost all the children responding to his question about their Christmas wishes had one or more teeth missing.

This inspired him to write an excellent piece that later became a children’s festive classic. It’s hard to ignore the comical lyrics, but that’s what makes the song even more pleasant sounding.  

44. “Pretty Paper” – Willie Nelson 

“Pretty Paper” is Willie Nelson’s 1979 song inspired by a humble, homeless street vendor lacking the luxuries of a Christmas holiday.

Instead, he resorts to selling Christmas wraps and pencils on the street as everyone else is having the best time of their lives.

Nelson’s 1964 track was just the first version before fine-tuning the track to give us a timeless classic in 1979.

For a song that quickly became a fan favorite, you have to give credit to Roy Orbinson for his matchless efforts in compiling the first-ever version of the song.

45. “Father Christmas” – The Kinks

Father Christmas is a term used interchangeably with Santa Claus in the UK and the US. And in this hilarious song, The Kinks sing about a kid’s sad experience when the Christmas celebration goes south.

The lyrics are just as comical as they come, but the balance between fun and sorrow makes the track a must-listen.

46. “Mary’s Boy Child” – Boney M.

“Mary’s Boy Child” was first recorded and released by Harry Belafonte in 1956. It is a slow, soulful Christmas carol that enjoyed success in the mainstream market.

You will decide whether you want to listen to Harry’s track or Boney M’s 1978 disco version.

But for a song that topped the Christmas Number One chart on two separate occasions, be rest assured that any version will be perfect for spicing up the moment.

47. “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” – Dean Martin

This is one of a handful of holiday songs with a hidden meaning. It was written by Sam Cahn and Jule Styne with romantic lyrics that give it a completely different meaning.

It is a romantic love song about a guy visiting his lover during winter.

The narration is about spending time by the fire on a snowy day without an actual mention of the Christmas holiday in the lyrics.

48. “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” – Wizzard

This track is synonymous with the British rock band, Wizzard and was written by Roy Wood.

It is a 1973 tune recorded in the actual Christmas mood, with Steve Brown beautifying the studio with Christmas decorations besides wearing a woolly hat.

Almost 5 decades later, the song remains a Christmas classic. 

49. “A Holly Jolly Christmas” – Michael Buble

“A Holly Jolly Christmas” continues to light up Christmas celebrations because of the singer’s poetic voice.

It brings a flirty feeling with the beautiful lyrics, describing a boy whose only craving is a festive wish.

50. “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” – Randy Brooks

Randy Brooks is credited with writing the lyrics to this Christmas classic. It tells the tale of a Christmas season that didn’t go quite well for the grandma.

Turns out the grandma got knocked down and run over by Santa’s reindeers on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, the grandma succumbs to the injuries sustained from the knock.

While the lyrics are sad and comical at the same time, Randy has emphasized that he wanted something unique, deviating from the traditional country classics.

As it turns out, the controversy this track attracted only made it a stronger force on the music charts.

51. “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” – John Marks

John Marks’ ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ has fast become a Christmas classic, narrating the tale of a savior reindeer on a foggy night.

The song’s origin goes back to a 1993 story of a similar name, published by the Montgomery Ward Company.

52. “Frosty The Snowman” – Walter Rollins & Steve Nelson

You have to give credit to Steve Nelson and Walter “Jack” Rollins for coming up with an exciting piece that has inspired many generations.

It is a popular Christmas track about a jolly, happy snowman coming to spread a positive message.

While there’s no mention of the Christmas holiday in the track, it fits the context, with just enough lyrics to spice up the occasion.

53. “Silver Bells” – Dean Martin

Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, “Silver Bells” sets the mood for the festive period.

From the lyrics, one can visualize the sound of silver bells, evoking the all too familiar atmosphere during the festive period.  

54. “This Christmas” – Donny Hathaway

“This Christmas” is a soulful Christmas tune written by Donnie Hathaway and Nadine McKinnor.

It sets the holiday mood, with McKinnor looking forward to making the best of the moment with her friends and loved ones.

If only Donny Hathaway could come back to see how fast his simplistic track had become a Christmas anthem.

55. “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” – Haven Gillespie & John Frederick Coots

Who wouldn’t be excited about the coming of Santa Claus? “Santa Claus Is Comin’” is another Christmas classic dating back to the 1930s.

It is attributed to lyricists Haven Gillespie and John Frederick Coots and was recorded at the height of The Great Depression. The track was an instant hit, becoming more and more popular because of its relatable lyrics.

Today, more than 200 artists have covered this beautiful track, including The Temptations, The Jackson 5, Neil Diamond, and Michael Buble.

56. “The Little Drummer Boy” – Pentatonix 

The actual little drummer boy in this track appears to symbolize the events following the birth of Jesus Christ. The little boy doesn’t have much to offer for a gift but can give what he has.

Ultimately, he ends up playing the drum for the newborn, impressing the king, who gives him a beaming smile.

“The Little Drummer Boy” has an obvious message about humility, and for anyone who remembers the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, you can see why this track might be the perfect Christmas carol.

57. “Mistletoe” – Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe” is one of the latest additions to the list of the greatest Christmas tunes, but quite deserving of the praises it’s received from music critics around the world.

So unique yet so underrated in many ways, this 2011 track is about the culture and all the beautiful things accompanying Christmas.

We know all Bieber fans love it. And perhaps this is the perfect time for the neutrals to have a taste of this beautiful masterpiece.

58. “Deck The Halls” – Thomas Oliphant

Here’s the perfect representation of the joy of the festive season. “Deck The Halls” is a welsh melody credited to Thomas Oliphant.

Perhaps the most memorable thing about this track is the opening lines, “Deck the halls with boughs of holly/Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la/’Tis the season to be jolly.”

59. “Carol Of The Bells” – Lindsey Stirling

“Carol Of The Bells” is a popular song that’s now known as a Christmas staple. However, it was initially released as a typical Ukrainian folk song.

The line “Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas,” makes it almost impossible to ignore during Christmas celebrations.

60. “What Christmas Means to Me” – Stevie Wonder

Christmas holidays can’t be more special to Stevie Wonder. And in this sentimental track, he mentions all the simple things that make the occasion special to him.

Apparently, singing carols, burning candles, and seeing his love complete his to-do list. If you can’t be bothered by what happens on Christmas day, at least listen to Stevie’s heartfelt message in this song.

Best Christmas Songs – Final Thoughts

When many people think about Christmas, they think of the beautiful decorations, the overall mood, and the abundance of food.

But there isn’t a more befitting way to celebrate the festive season than listening to your favorite hit.

The best Christmas songs don’t have to be boring, and our detailed list has proven just as much.

Pick a favorite song from our list to spice up your holiday today. Honestly, it doesn’t get better than this!

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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