70 Best Christmas Songs for Your Holiday Playlist
Get ready for the sounds of the most joyful season with these Christmas songs.
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Christmas songs for the season
If you start having a hankering for Christmas songs during the fall, you’re in good company. For those who love to experience the magic of the winter holiday season, it can be hard to wait until even Thanksgiving to start cranking up those beloved jams. It’s the kind of music that takes you back to another place and time, conjures up warm memories of holidays past, and feels like a huge hug from the family and friends you usually gather with at Christmas time.
And really, what is Christmas without Bing Crosby or Mariah Carey crooning in the background? A little too much of a silent night, if you ask most people. But although the masses agree that holiday carols are essential, there’s a lot of debate about the best Christmas songs. Some people love funny Christmas songs, while others prefer the more religious Christmas songs. And then there are the folks who just live for soundtracks from the best Christmas movies. We’re not here to rank these tunes; we’re here to celebrate them. So without further ado, these are the very merry jingles you need to add to your Christmas playlist right now.
“Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano
This song is essentially the holiday wrapped up in musical form. Although the song was recorded in 1970, “Feliz Navidad” slowly gained popularity in the decades that followed as singers like Garth Brooks, Michael Bublé, and David Hasselhoff covered it. One way to wish your loved ones Feliz Navidad is to create personalized Christmas stockings for everyone.
“Run Rudolph Run” by Chuck Berry
Written by Johnny Marks and Marvin Brodie, “Run Rudolph Run” was popularized by Chuck Berry in 1958. The Christmas carol was also a hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
“Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley
While the sad Christmas song was written in 1948, “Blue Christmas” wasn’t popularized until Elvis Presley released his own version in 1957. It’s a melancholy song for anyone who is missing their love over the holidays. If that’s you, put on a Lifetime Christmas movie, fill the commercials with Elvis’s crooning, and eat your weight in holiday cookies.
“Christmas Time Is Here” by Vince Guaraldi Trio
When you’re talking about the best Christmas movies, A Charlie Brown Christmas holds a special place in the hearts of many. “Christmas Time Is Here“ was written for the TV special by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi for the Vince Guaraldi Trio.
“The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” by Alvin and the Chipmunks
This silly song, from one of your kids’ favorite Christmas cartoons, can’t be beat. It won three Grammy awards, including Best Children’s Recording and Best Comedy Performance.
“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee
Your Christmas tree is the center of attention this time of year, so Brenda Lee’s danceable tune should be front and center on your playlist. It sold over 25 million copies and appeared in a number of TV shows and movies, most notably Home Alone in 1990.
“Silent Night” by Bing Crosby
This beloved Christmas carol was written in 1818, more than a century before actor/singer Bing Crosby ever got his hands on it. It’s the perfect song for closing out a lovely Christmas Day, though we love it for any time of the month, whether you’re browsing Christmas tree ideas, wrapping gifts, or lounging in front of the fire.
“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” by Jackson 5
The Jackson 5 released a Christmas album filled with holiday standards in 1970. Of all of the songs recorded for the album, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” was the biggest hit, peaking at No. 25 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Gene Autry
Based on the 1939 children’s story of the same name, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was written by Johnny Marks in 1949. Gene Autry was the first to record the Christmas song, which spawned an iconic ’60s TV special. Five decades later, and it still reigns as one of the top kids Christmas movies.
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams
Recorded by Andy Williams in 1963, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” has grown in popularity over the decades. Here’s a bit of Christmas trivia for you: It has ranked as one of the top 10 most downloaded and aired songs during the holiday season since 2010.
“Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt
Songwriters Joan Javits and Philip Springer wrote “Santa Baby” in 1953 for Eartha Kitt. It’s a playful song that pokes fun at Santa Claus’ Christmas list with breathy and smoldering vocals.
“Winter Wonderland” by Michael Bublé
Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith co-wrote “Winter Wonderland” in 1934. Since then, it has been covered over 200 times by popular recording artists, such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Kylie Minogue, and, of course, Michael Bublé. Play it when you’re browsing outdoor Christmas decoration ideas or hanging lights on your house.
“Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” by Dean Martin
Although Ella Fitzgerald also recorded the song, “Let It Snow” was popularized by Dean Martin. Interestingly, songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne wrote the song during a heatwave in July 1945.
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland
In 1944, Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane co-wrote the Christmas song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” for Judy Garland to sing in the film Meet Me In St. Louis. In 2004, the song was ranked No. 76 on AFI’s 100 Years …100 Songs. It pairs perfectly with your favorite Hallmark Christmas movies.
“The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)” by Nat King Cole
“The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)” was first made famous by Nat King Cole in 1946. It ranks as a classic Christmas song, though many people call it by another name: “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” Get inspired by this song and use chestnuts in your DIY Christmas decorations.
“O Holy Night” by Josh Groban
This is probably one of the most well-known Christmas songs ever made. In 1847, French composer Adolphe Adam wrote the song based on a poem by a wine merchant. The French version is known as “Cantique de Noël.”
“All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey
Released in 1994, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has been a go-to Christmas song for almost 30 years. Listen to it while browsing the best romantic Christmas movies to watch tonight.
“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby
This song is a classic! Crooner Bing Crosby popularized the tune on his NBC radio show on Christmas Day, and the song quickly became the best-selling single of all time. It sold more than 100 million copies around the world.
“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by ‘NSYNC
Yes, boy bands do belong on your Christmas songs list. This upbeat number from ‘NSYNC is such an earworm you’ll be singing it well into the New Year. Don’t say we didn’t warn you … and you’re welcome. It’ll appeal to people who also love the Christmas movies on Disney Plus.
“Dominick the Donkey” by Lou Monte
This oh-so-happy tune from Lou Monte about a spirited Italian Christmas donkey is so much fun, you’ll wonder why it hasn’t always been included on your holiday playlist. Chingedy ching, hee-haw, hee-haw! For a fun Christmas craft for kids, have little ones draw and color their own Dominick the Donkey.
“Mele Kalikimaka” by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters
An island spin on Christmas songs, “Mele Kalikimaka” is the Hawaiian way to say “Merry Christmas.” You’re really going to wish you knew how to hula to this song because dancing should definitely be a part of the musical experience.
“I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” by Gayla Peevey
The heart wants what the heart wants. Back in 1953, 10-year-old Gayla Peevey really, really wanted a hippopotamus. It’s a silly little song that will bring a smile to your face and festive fun to your playlist. And little ones with similarly grand Merry Christmas wishes will appreciate the fact that Peevey later met a hippo (though she didn’t get to keep it).
“Merry Christmas, Baby” by Otis Redding
Christmas can feel all kinds of romantic when you spend it with the one you love, kind of like the special lady Otis Redding sings about in this soulful holiday tune.
“Frosty the Snowman” by Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante wasn’t the first to record “Frosty” (that honor goes to Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys), but he’s the most familiar voice associated with the song. Durante’s version is featured in the stop-motion holiday special of the same name, which airs annually on television. For more holiday cheer, watch these kids’ Christmas movies on Netflix.
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” by Frank Sinatra
Sometimes it can feel like making it home for Christmas is filled with obstacles, but being with family and friends is the greatest holiday gift anyone can receive. Many have recorded “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” but this version by Ol’ Blue Eyes certainly strikes a sentimental chord.
“Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” by Bruce Springsteen
Obviously, Bruce Springsteen didn’t originate this popular holiday tune, which dates back to 1934, but his rendition has to make it onto your holiday playlist—it’s just so much fun. Recorded during a live concert, this song from The Boss delivers on Christmas cheer. Amp up the festivity with these Christmas movie quotes.
“Little Saint Nick” by The Beach Boys
If you’re in a snowy wonderland but want to feel like you’re at the beach enjoying the sand and surf, “Little Saint Nick” is one of those Christmas songs you’ll need for your playlist.
“Please Come Home For Christmas” by Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi croons about missing an estranged love at the holidays in this moody Christmas ballad. It’s a good one when you’re feeling a little blue yourself during the winter season. Another way to lift the mood is to take part in family Christmas games.
“Funky, Funky Xmas” by New Kids on the Block
Silly? Yes. Catchy? Most definitely. At their peak, New Kids on the Block released a Christmas album, and this “funky” jam is one of its highlights. If you don’t love it, you’ll certainly laugh about it.
“Deck the Halls” by George Strait
If your holiday playlist is in dire need of country music, you must check out George Strait’s rendition of “Deck the Halls.” It has just the twang you’re looking for. Put it on, the let the Christmas party games commence!
“The First Noël” by Josh Groban, featuring Faith Hill
This collaboration between Josh Groban and Faith Hill may actually bring tears to your eyes—it’s just that good. So if you’re deciding which version of the song to add to your playlist, we vote for this one. Another way of telling young ones the Christmas story is through Christmas books for kids.
“Do You Hear What I Hear?” by Whitney Houston
Among the more stunning arrangements of the Christmas classic “Do You Hear What I Hear?” is Whitney Houston’s rendition. The song will be a breathtaking addition to your holiday playlist, bringing you back to the heart and soul of the season.
“The Little Drummer Boy” by Bing Crosby
When it comes to timeless Christmas songs, we always return to the late, great Bing Crosby. It’s a tune that’ll appeal to every generation at your holiday gathering.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” by Perry Como
We don’t know about you, but we can never remember all of the items gifted in the 12 days of Christmas song. Let Perry Como refresh your memory with his sweetly simple take on the song.
Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Various Artists
Back in 1984, a group of music superstars—think Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Bono, George Michael, and more—collaborated on this song to raise money for anti-famine efforts. You’ll still hear it in heavy rotation on the radio around the holidays.
“Cozy Little Christmas” by Katy Perry
Who doesn’t want a cozy Christmas snuggled up by a crackling fire? Katy Perry gets it all right in this cute little holiday ditty. It’ll put you in the mood for some eggnog, a gingerbread cookie, and one of these Christmas movies on Hulu.
“Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses
Walk into any department store during the holidays, and you’ll likely hear this boppy Christmas song from new wave ’80s band The Waitresses. Their other big hit? “I Know What Boys Like.”
“Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande
All Ariana Grande wants from Santa is to know whether or not her love interest’s feelings are true. Too bad Santa, while magical, isn’t psychic. This year, Grande should take a page from our book and check her horoscope for the holiday instead.
“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono
This hauntingly beautiful tune will give you chills during the Christmas season. The Harlem Community Choir joined John Lennon and Yoko Ono for the chorus, giving it a lot of dimension.
“You Make It Feel Like Christmas” by Gwen Stefani, featuring Blake Shelton
If you haven’t listened to Gwen Stefani’s entire Christmas album, you’re missing out. Get started with this fun duet she recorded with husband Blake Shelton. You know what else makes it feel like Christmas? DIY Christmas ornaments.
“I Am the Grinch” by Tyler, the Creator
For a truly original take on the mean old Grinch determined to ruin Christmas, check out this song from the soundtrack to the 2018 movie The Grinch. For an unexpected twist on the usual Christmas party themes, center your gathering on The Grinch.
“Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney
All you need to hear are those first few synthesizer notes to know that Paul McCartney’s “Wonder Christmas Time” is here for your enjoyment. It’s happy, it’s simple, and it’s a holiday staple.
“Believe” by Josh Groban
This song appears in the modern animated holiday classic The Polar Express and perfectly depicts the magic of Christmas in its lyrics. It’s one of the greatest Christmas movies on Amazon Prime.
“‘Zat You, Santa Claus?” by Louis Armstrong
Everybody’s waiting for the man of the hour on Christmas Eve, including jazz great Louis Armstrong with this highly underrated holiday song.
“One More Sleep” by Leona Lewis
It’s so hard to fall asleep the night before Christmas when you know all the fun in store the next day. Leona Lewis captures the excitement of December 24 in this pop-infused Christmas song. Make listening to it one of your Christmas Eve traditions.
“Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson
There hasn’t been a happier Christmas tree–inspired tune since Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Kelly Clarkson brings festive fun in this upbeat tune. Add the two to your playlist when you’re doing Christmas activities like trimming the tree and baking cookies.
“Father Christmas” by The Kinks
Rev up your playlist with some rock ‘n’ roll from The Kinks—and a decidedly different approach to Christmas songs. The band members want cold, hard cash for the holidays, and they aren’t afraid to sing about it.
“Last Christmas” by Wham!
Many have tried to duplicate what Wham! created with this iconic Christmas song, but none have achieved the same result as George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. The covers aren’t bad, but it’s the original that you should add to your holiday playlist. For more holiday cheer, check out these funny Christmas movies.
“Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” by Ramones
The Ramones get it so right with this alternative Christmas song. If you’re heading into what could be a tense family holiday gathering, just play this to let everyone know you don’t want to fight (tonight).
“Carol of the Bells” by Manheim Steamroller
Is it even the holidays if you don’t hear Manheim Steamroller? Add some dramatic flair to your Christmas playlist with this epic instrumental. Listening to it at least once a season is a Christmas tradition up there with unwrapping presents and cooking a turkey.
“This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway
As soon as you hear the horns at the beginning of this song, you immediately start feeling Christmas cheer. Full of emotion and nostalgia, this is a holiday party pleaser. For more holiday fun, print out Christmas bingo cards for a rousing family game.
“8 Days of Christmas” by Destiny’s Child
The ladies of Destiny’s Child don’t need 12 days of Christmas. They’re totally cool with just eight of ’em. This R&B Christmas song name drops labels and reminds us of how much we love the girl groups of the early aughts.
“Christmas in Harlem” by Kanye West
Add another hip-hop track to your Christmas songs collection, courtesy of Kanye West, Cyhi da Prynce, and Teyana Taylor. The lyrics capture the holiday shopping rush and are backed by a smooth, relaxing beat. Browse the best artificial Christmas trees to find the best one before you head out into the crowds.
“Driving Home For Christmas” by Chris Rea
Crank this one up in the car when you’re heading home for the holidays. Its super loungy vibe will put you in a delightfully mellow mood.
“Step Into Christmas” by Elton John
As far as Christmas songs go, this one feels like a musical Christmas card. It has that classic Elton John styling, inviting everyone to step right this way into the holiday season. Speaking of cards, make sure you send your season’s greetings by mailing one of these printable Christmas cards.
“Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” by James Brown
James Brown just wants everyone to have a very merry Christmas, including those who feel overlooked. That is, after all, one of the biggest Christmas themes. Everyone deserves to feel the man in red’s kindness and generosity.
“Hallelujah” by Carrie Underwood, featuring John Legend
Settle in for a quiet holiday evening at home with only the dramatic sounds of this soaring ballad from Carrie Underwood and John Legend—a dynamic duo if there ever was one!
“Silver Bells” by Dean Martin
Feel transported to holidays gone by with Dean Martin’s version of “Silver Bells.” This Rat Pack member brings out all of the beauty in this Christmas standard. Keep the seasonal cheer going by reading some of your favorite Christmas books.
“Underneath the Mistletoe” by Sia
Sia’s romantic, sweeping ballad doesn’t get nearly enough recognition over the holidays. Play this one when you’re near someone you’d like to meet underneath the mistletoe.
“Christmas Time Is Here” by John Legend
We love John Legend’s jazzy take on “Christmas Time Is Here.” It’s perfect for a holiday cocktail party but works just as well when you’re baking up Christmas sweets or crafting Christmas tree toppers.