51 of the Best Christmas Songs to Get You in the Holiday Spirit
Call us eager, but we think it’s about time we start thinking about our Christmas playlist. (Hey, considering the year we’ve had, it’s never too early to get a cheerful holiday soundtrack ready.)
Whether you’re thinking about family visits, planning a holiday party, starting your shopping list or simply just looking to get into the Christmas spirit, there’s just something about the right songs that are guaranteed to have you feeling festive. Below, 51 of the best Christmas songs you’ll be playing on repeat from now until December.
1. ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ by Andy Williams (1963)
While it was written specifically for his debut Christmas album, Williams made sure to include this happy tune on all seven (!) of his holiday albums to follow.
2. ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ by Bing Crosby (1945)
Michael Bublé also released a gorgeous rendition in 2003...but Crosby still holds the number one spot in our book.
3. ‘A Holly Jolly Christmas’ by Burl Ives (1965)
This one was actually written by Jewish Composer Johnny Marks. Surprisingly, Marks went on to write a handful of other popular Christmas songs, including “Run Rudolph Run.”
4. ‘Santa Baby’ by Eartha Kitt (1953)
Not only is it the ultimate anthem about what women really want for Christmas, the song also jumpstarted Kitt to fame.
5. ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ by Bing Crosby & David Bowie (1982)
The track was recorded in 1977 for Crosby's TV special, Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas. When asked why Bowie decided to do the special he stated, “I knew my mom liked him [Crosby],” according to Smooth Radio.
6. ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues (1988)
According to The Guardian, the song was created on a wager made by Elvis Costello. Per the outlet, Costello bet Shane MacGowan that he couldn't write a Christmas duet to sing with bass player Cait O'Riordan. We bet he’s happy he took that one. .
7. ‘I saw mommy kissing santa clause’ by The Jackson Five (1970)
Original performer James Boyd recorded the song when he was just 13. And as it turns out, Michael Jackson was just on the cusp of his 12th birthday when his family did this rendition.
8. ‘Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ by Frank Sinatra (1948)
The song was originally introduced by Judy Garland in her musical Meet Me in St. Louis. But four years later, Sinatra released this gem.
9. ‘Wonderful CHristmastime’ by Paul McCartney (1980)
McCartney wrote this one about his own experience and feelings about the most wonderful time of the year. And we would have to agree with him.
10. ‘Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto’ by James BRown (1968)
Brown’s hit appeared on his 22nd studio album (yes, you read that correctly) titled “A Soulful Christmas.”
11. ‘Let it snow!’ by Dean Martin (1959)
When the weather outside is frightful, stay in and turn this one up loud.
12. ‘Run Rudolph Run’ by Chuck Berry (1969)
The track was used in the 1990 movie Home Alone during the dramatic airport scene where the family rushes passed security and almost misses their flight. Minus little Kevin, of course.
13. ‘Do you hear what I hear?’ By Bing Crosby (1986)
The lyrics were written by Gloria Shayne Baker in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis when the USSR was spotted constructing bases for ballistic nuclear missiles in Cuba. It was essentially written as a cry for peace.
14. ‘Sleigh Ride’ by The Ronettes (1963)
The American girls group managed to land their cover of the song on the Billboard's Top Ten U.S. Holiday 100 (multiple times). And did we mention it earned the 26th spot in the Hot 100 back in 2018?
15. ‘Christmas Time is Here’ by Vince Guaraldi Trio (1965)
Apparently, the song was intended to be an instrumental piece written to open A Charlie Brown Christmas. Not too long before it was set to air, producers decided to add some lyrics.
16. ‘MIstletoe’ by Justin Bieber (2011)
One of the newer songs on this list, “Mistletoe” isn’t just a favorite of pre-teens (now adults) with Bieber fever. The song instantly became a hit and now makes its way onto radios and karaoke machines every year.
17. ‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby (1942)
We’re not surprised that Guinness World Records named this song the best-selling single of all time.
18. ‘The Christmas Song’ by Nat King Cole (1946)
This beautiful tune is so popular that it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974.
19. ‘Silver Bells’ by Bing Crosby (1951)
This number was originally sung by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the the 1950s film The Lemon Drop Kid. A year later, Crosby recorded his version.
20. ‘Here Comes Santa Clause’ By Gene Autry (1947)
Rumor has it that Autry got the idea for the song after riding in the 1946 Santa Claus Lane Parade in Los Angeles. Per Song Facts, while Autry was riding close to the big man himself, all he could hear were kids chanting “Here comes Santa Claus.”
21. ‘8 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS’ by DESTINY’S CHILD (1999)
Their album of the same name tends to not get the recognition it deserves. But this song in particular (think of it as a 21st century “12 Days of Christmas”) is sure to get stuck in your head.
22. ‘All I want for Christmas is You’ by Mariah Carey (1994)
Leave it to Carey to create a song that scores number one on the Billboard charts 25 years after it was originally recorded. Play this for any crowd and watch them go wild.
23. ‘O Holy Night’ by Celine Dion (1998)
There’s plenty of decent renditions of this classic out there. But in our opinion, nothing compares to Dion’s version.
24. ‘Frosty the Snowman’ by Gene Autry (1947)
Although it’s not the original, there’s just something about Autry’s country voice that adds a little something extra to this tune you’ve been singing your whole life.
25. ‘Believe’ by Josh Groban (2004)
Why yes, this is the one featured in the popular animated film, The Polar Express.
26. ‘Blue Christmas’ by Elvis Presley (1957)
Elvis recorded “Blue Christmas” in 1957 for his Christmas Album, but didn’t release it as a single until 1964. Four years later, he performed it for the first time on the TV special, Elvis.
27. ‘Silent Night’ by Celtic Woman (2006)
Even live, these four Irish women can make us want to listen to an 19th century Austrian Christmas carol on repeat.
28. ‘Rocking around the christmas tree’ by Brenda Lee (1958)
Fun fact: Brenda Lee was only 13 when she recording this classic.
29. ‘Santa Tell Me’ by Ariana Grande (2013)
According to Song Facts, Grande told her fans the song is "sort of about being fed up with Santa because he doesn't necessarily pull through all the time.” Who doesn’t love a little holiday cynicism?
30. ‘Jingle Bells’ by Ella Fitzgerald (1960)
Per the Smithsonian, a harmonica version Fitzgerald’s rendition was the first song ever played in space.
31. ‘Winter Wonderland’ by Dean Martin (1966)
Although it wasn’t an original, Martin’s “Winter Wonderland” was one of the many poplar hits off of his Christmas album.
32. ‘Feliz Navidad’ by José Feliciano (1970)
Different language, same message.
33. ‘Happy Xmas’ by John Lennon and Yoko Ono (1971)
Also popularly known as “The War is Over,” Lennon and Ono enlisted the help of the Harlem Community Choir for this one.
34. ‘Santa Claus is Coming to town’ by Bruce Springsteen (1985)
While Crosby has an impressive version of this hit, Springsteen gives him a run for his money with this energetic one.
35. ‘It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas’ by Michael Bublé (2011)
You didn’t think we’d go this entire list without including at least one song from the king of Christmas himself did you? It’s like his voice was made for this holiday.
36. ‘Christmas in Hollis’ by Run DMC (1987)
The music video for this hip hop holiday song, about the group’s run in with Santa in Queens, is also quite entertaining.
37. ‘Joy to the World’ by Aretha Franklin (2006)
As of the late 20th century, “Joy to the World” was the most-published Christmas hymn in North America. And Frankin’s upbeat and soulful version just made it even more popular.
38. ‘Underneath the Tree’ by Kelly Clarkson (2013)
Leave it to the American Idol alum to release her own holiday original that (not-surprisingly) became a holiday pop staple.
39. ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS’ by NSYNC (1998)
Our favorite boys really outdid themselves with their first and only original Christmas single. Plus, the video is worth the watch just for its totally over the top use of a green screen.
40. ‘Do you Hear what I hear’ by Whitney Houston (1987)
Houston donated her recording of “Do You Hear What I Hear” for the first A Very Special Christmas benefit album in 1987, raising money for the Special Olympics.
41. ‘Last Christmas’ by WHAM (1986)
Even though George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley released this song in the 80s, it didn't hit the top of the charts until 2017.
42. ‘My Favorite Things’ by Julie Andrews (1965)
It wasn’t intended to be a Christmas song but "My Favorite Things," from the Sound of Music has become one of the classics. Not to mention, Andrews’ version will always be our favorite.
43. ‘Christmas’ by Darlene Love (1963)
Love sang her hit, which is also referred to as “Baby Please Come Home,” for 28 straight years in a row on the David Letterman show. Letterman even dubbed her the “Queen of Christmas.”
44. ‘The Chipmunk Song’ by Alvin & The Chipmunks (1959)
Sure, many find the chipmunks to be, well, annoying. But there’s simply something about when Alvin hits his high note that has kids and parents alike singing along to the tune.
45. ‘HARD CANDY CHRISTMAS’ by DOLLY PARTON (1982)
Even though the song was originally written for a play, who said country can’t be Christmas?
46. ‘Grandma got run over by a reindeer’ by Elmo & Patsy (1979)
The married couple (who divorced a year later) debuted the song in ‘79 and 20 years later it was made into a TV special of the same name.
47. ‘CHRISTMAS WRAPPING’ by THE WAITRESSES (1982)
The song is literally about a meet-cute between two people at a checkout line. Need we say more?
48. ‘Must Be Santa’ by Bob Dylan (2009)
It’s the accompanying accordion that really sold us on Dylan’s up-tempo version.
49. ‘NO PLACE LIKE HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’ By PERRY COMO (1959)
Is it even Christmas time if you don’t hear this at the mall at least five times?
50. ‘MY ONLY WISH (THIS YEAR)’ by BRITNEY SPEARS (2000)
While we never quite got a entire Christmas album from the pop sensation, she was generous enough to give us this single (about her lack of love during the holidays) almost 20 years ago.
51. ‘Happy Holiday’ by Peggy Lee (1965)
Originally performed by (you guessed it) Bing Crosby in the movie Holiday Inn, there’s just something about Lee’s version that gets us in the mood to do our Christmas shopping.