“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” At least, according to all the best Christmas songs, it is! With the holly jollies and the decking of halls, every carol and tune focused on the holiday season is bright, lovely, and sweet—even the sadder ones.
So, grab a cup of cocoa, wrap up in your scarf and mittens, and hit play on the best Christmas songs list you’ll hear this year, with tons of artists making their way through charming tunes, sweet ballads, and humorous songs. ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and a happy new year!
Table of Contents
- Winter Wonderland – Bing Crosby
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra
- Feliz Navidad – José Feliciano
- It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
- The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
- Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
- Maybe This Christmas – Ron Sexsmith
- It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Michael Bublé
- Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee and Johnny Marks
- Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town – Bruce Springsteen
- White Christmas – Bing Crosby
- Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry
- Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Frank Sinatra
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Hozier
- Merry Christmas Darling – Carpenters
- Silent Night – The Temptations
- Jingle Bells – Perry Como
- Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
- Christmas Don’t Be Late – Norah Jones
- Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
- Deck the Halls – Nat King Cole
- Christmas Time is Here – Vince Guaraldi
- Baby, It’s Cold Outside – She & Him
- The First Noel – Andy Williams
- Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
- The Twelve Days of Christmas – Perry Como
- I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Frank Sinatra
- Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy – David Bowie and Bing Crosby
- Happy Xmas (War is Over) – John Lennon and Yoko Ono
- Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Gene Autry and The Pinafores
- What Christmas Means to Me – Stevie Wonder
- Pretty Paper – Willie Nelson
- Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
- Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes
- Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
- Cool Yule – Louis Armstrong
- Hard Candy Christmas – Dolly Parton
- Step into Christmas – Elton John
- Frosty the Snowman – Jimmy Durante
- Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
- If We Make It Through December – Pistol Annies
- Santa Stole My Lady – Fitz and The Tantrums
- Don’t Shoot Me Santa – The Killers
- Father Christmas – The Kinks
- Mele Kalikimaka – Jimmy Buffett
- Adeste Fideles – Nat King Cole
- Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande
- Merry Christmas Baby – Otis Redding
- Christmas in New Orleans – Louis Armstrong
- Santa’s Beard – The Beach Boys
- Underneath the Tree – Kelly Clarkson
- You Make It Feel Like Christmas – Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani
- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Jackson 5
- Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) – Ramones
- Last Christmas – Wham!
Winter Wonderland – Bing Crosby
There’s nothing quite as magical as a snow-laden field with icy boughs and frosted window panes. And ‘Winter Wonderland’ by Bing Crosby captures the essence of that magical mood of the winter season surrounding Christmas and into the new year. The fun little love song is one anyone can celebrate with, too, even if they’re not super into Christmas themselves, thanks to the seasonal lyrics that allude to Christmas merely by the seasonal pull.
Related: Bundle up and enjoy the best songs about winter weather.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra
Originally written as a solo for Judy Garland in the musical Meet Me in St. Louis, the melancholy and sweet ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ has become a seasonal staple. You’ll find loads of artists have recorded the song, each giving the piece their own vibe, and none could be truer with that than Frank Sinatra. Old Blue Eyes puts his jazzy twist on the Broadway classic, bringing the season a bit of brightness we can all appreciate.
Related: A version of this song is one of the most popular Broadway songs.
Bringing a little more cultural diversity to the season, ‘Feliz Navidad’ is a Spanish song celebrating the season with the simple message of “we want to wish you a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.” The song has English and Spanish lyrics, helping it bridge the gaps between the two languages and making it accessible for even more folks. But overall, it’s just a fun song that everyone can sing and dance along to as you celebrate the holiday!
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ is a Christmas classic that many of us share the sentiments of completely. With wrapping gifts, sharing a meal together, playing in the snow, singing carols together, or even attending holiday services at our faith community of choice, the holiday offers many splendid ways to celebrate family, love, and joy, even in the middle of winter when otherwise we might feel a bit blah thanks to the weather. What a magical time!
Related: Hear this song on our House of Gucci soundtrack list.
The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
Snuggle up by the fireplace with a blanket and a cup of cocoa, and lean into the warmth of ‘The Christmas Song’ by Nat King Cole. The lyrics perfectly capture the mood of Christmas Eve with the colorful, warming imagery of toys and chestnuts, Santa’s sleigh, and the sweet reminder, too, that we don’t have to be children to love the season.
Related: This was one of the top 1940s songs.
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
Hosting a Christmas party? The comic song by Eartha Kitt is the perfect way to infuse some extra sparkle of fun into the night. Eartha’s smooth vocals and the funny themes of the “Christmas list” song make for some silliness the whole crowd can enjoy. You might even get some karaoke singers chiming in.
Related: Here are some more funny songs to sing at karaoke.
Maybe This Christmas – Ron Sexsmith
A more recent Christmas song from Ron Sexsmith, ‘Maybe This Christmas’ leans into the acoustic vibes of a homey Christmas. The song was on the compilation album that helped raise funds for Toys for Tots. If you’re not already familiar with this heart-warming song, you just might find it to be a new favorite, thanks to the inviting lyrics. “Maybe this Christmas will mean something more. Maybe this year, love will appear deeper than ever before.”
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Michael Bublé
A mood-setting song, ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,’ as sung by Michael Bublé, is the perfect way to open your home to the season. Whether you’re hosting an early Christmas party or getting out the boxes of ornaments, this warm, inviting song encourages the holiday to take over with its joy, whatever you’ve been facing up to that moment. Because, well, it’s true: “The prettiest sight you’ll see is the holly that will be on your own front door.”
Related: Keep your good mood going with these songs of joy and happiness.
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee and Johnny Marks
Open up the dance floor at the Christmas party with Brenda Lee and Johnny Marks as they sing ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ by Eartha Kitt. It’s a fun song to crank up to get that dance floor opened up! The cheerful little tune will get the feet moving as guests sing and celebrate the fun of the holiday season.
Related: Change up your Christmas party playlist with these catchy dance songs.
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town – Bruce Springsteen
The charming holiday song ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ was originally rejected by some producers because it seemed too much like a kids’ song. J Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie wrote the song, and they did manage to get it recorded in 1934 by Eddie Cantor, who helped to make it a hit on his radio show. There are over 200 covers of the song at this point. Apparently, people wanted the “kids’ song,” after all!
White Christmas – Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby originally sang ‘White Christmas’ in the Irving Berlin film Holiday Inn in 1942. The song was completely different back then, though, as the film was set as someone daydreaming of a white Christmas away from LA. Now, the sweet song encompasses far more lines and lyrics than the original 8-liner tune and is rich with imagery of Christmas card writing and sleigh bells of memories past.
Related: You’ll hear this tune on our list of whistling songs.
Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry
A high-energy Christmas song destined for the dance floor, ‘Run Rudolph Run’ is a super fun classic rock song you and your whole group are bound to enjoy playing all season long. The song was based on the story of ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ and gives him a bit of attitude. Because of the original copyright for the character of Rudolph, though, Chuck Berry had to give publishing rights to Johnny Marks, the writer of the original song featuring the red-nosed reindeer.
Related: Are you on the run? Check out these songs about wanting to run away.
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Frank Sinatra
Ready for the holiday season to come in full? Then ‘Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! is probably your song of sentiment. The song invites the season of white powder, cozy fires, and romantic moments that the holiday season welcomes with mistletoe and wintry cuddles. So grab some “popcorn for popping” and hold each other tight as you enjoy the holiday season inside while the “weather outside is frightful.”
Related: Celebrate snowfall with these chilly songs with snow in the lyrics.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Hozier
An English carol that dates back to as early as the 16th century with its first actual publication in 1833, ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ has become one of the most familiar Christmas carols of all time. You’ve probably heard many versions of the song over the years, but Hozier’s version is a lovely rendition even the most die-hard traditionalists can enjoy while having a bit of a style twist on the classic.
Merry Christmas Darling – Carpenters
On their first approach to holiday music, the Carpenters recorded ‘Merry Christmas Darling’ with Karen singing the sweet, romantic lyrics reflecting on the joy of the season when you’re together with the one you love. Richard Carpenter composed the song for the choir the pair was in at the time at California State University. Eventually, they released the song in 1978 on their album Christmas Portrait.
Silent Night – The Temptations
Using pieces of other Christmas songs to introduce the unique take on the song, The Temptations give a whole new perspective on the 1818 carol ‘Silent Night.’ Interestingly, the song has some fun legends, too, including the one about the curate in then Oberndorf (now Salzburg, Austria) discovering that mice had eaten the church organ bellows. He told his woes to composer Franz Gruber who took the poetry gift from the curate to heart and crafted ‘Stille Nacht, ‘ which translates to the carol we’re familiar with.
Related: Have a peaceful evening with these songs about quiet.
Jingle Bells – Perry Como
What holiday celebration would be complete without the ever-bright, joyful ‘Jingle Bells?’ The fun, entertaining song has had many lyric iterations, parodies, and adaptations, but the classic version of dashing through snowfields in a sleigh remains the most popular. Funny enough, the song was written in 1857 as a Thanksgiving Day entertainment song in Savannah, Georgia—where it rarely snows—by the son of Unitarian Church minister James Lord Pierpoint. The peppy tune was quickly embraced and adopted as a Christmas song instead.
Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
Most of us know ‘Blue Christmas’ as an Elvis song recorded in 1957. The song actually was first recorded by Western film star Doye O’Dell in 1948 and then made more popular by Ernest Tubb when he covered it. Elvis’s first TV performance of the song was in 1968 and helped to revitalize his career at that point. That recording is the only visual recording remaining of Elvis singing a Christmas song.
Christmas Don’t Be Late – Norah Jones
A reimagined version of ‘Christmas Don’t Be Late’ by Norah Jones, the fun song might recall the old Chipmunks’ film because, well, they sang it back in the day. Jones’s version is a moody jazz piece with swoon-worthy horns and her magical, smooth voice playing with child-like lyrics referencing Christmas dreams for hula hoops and toy planes.
Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
During his experimentation with the electropop movement, Paul McCartney developed this fun Christmas song the world absolutely needed. ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ has sounds created by the early synthesizer Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, making it not just a fun song but an innovative one from which many other songs found inspiration later on. This is one of the few Christmas songs by any of the Beatles, and it continues to receive plenty of airplay each Christmas season.
Deck the Halls – Nat King Cole
Perhaps the most famous version of ‘Deck the Halls’ is that of Nat King Cole singing the Welsh carol in his recording from 1960. The melody of the famous secular carol has spanned many genres and works, from Mozart’s piano/violin duet to the Americanization of the lyrics supposedly created in the 19th century. The song was originally published as a New Year’s song by Welsh poet John Ceirog Hughes, though it’s believed that the lyrics we now know immigrated with Welsh miners to the USA and evolved from there.
Christmas Time is Here – Vince Guaraldi
If you’re a fan of Charlie Brown and Peanuts gang, you already know this song. The song appeared on A Charlie Brown Christmas in the TV special in 1965, the purpose for which the charming light jazz song was written. The use of jazz for a children’s song was an unusual choice, but it truly was a brilliant one for drawing both grown-ups and kids to the show with its unique charm.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside – She & Him
Coming from Tin Pan Alley duets, ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ has become a holiday staple. Frank Loesser originally wrote the song as a party piece for him and his wife, Lynn, to sing at their holiday parties. The couple found their guests loved the song, so they continued singing it for years, ultimately leading to its use in the film Neptune’s Daughter. The song has been used in many other film and television tracks, including as sung by Zooey Deschanel in the new Christmas classic with Will Ferrell, Elf.
The First Noel – Andy Williams
A traditional English carol estimated to have originated in the 16th or 17th century, ‘The First Noel’ has been a favorite for centuries. The word “noel” is the French term for Christmas, and the narrative of the song follows the details of the birth of the Messiah, Jesus. Johnny Mathis added the song to his 1958 album Merry Christmas which likely helped to boost the song’s popularity in the last several decades, now with many other covers done by famous artists like Nat King Cole, Pentatonix, Josh Groban, and Dolly Parton.
Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
A great piece to get the party to the dance floor, ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ is considered the first mainstream Christmas rock song. The song’s writer was a country artist in 1957, though, when he released the rock tune, just two days before Christmas. The fun song is easy to dance to, which didn’t hurt in its popularity gains, but having other artists cover it didn’t hurt either, especially with rock and pop artists like Hall & Oates, The Platters, 38 Special, and the Beach Boys putting their own twists into the song.
Related: Did someone say “rock?” Here are the most famous rock songs!
The Twelve Days of Christmas – Perry Como
The exact date that ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ came into existence isn’t so certain, but it is believed to have been around since before the 16th century when traditions were already forming around the song in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe. Some historians think the various components of the song were coded messages meant to share the message of faith through the persecution of either Protestant Christians or Roman Catholics, depending on the era in which it originated.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Frank Sinatra
If you’ve ever spent the holidays far away from family, you probably thought about this song and maybe even sang it all season long. The classic tune was written to honor soldiers away during World War II. Bing Crosby recorded the original version in 1943, at the height of the fighting. The song is sung from the point of view of a soldier writing a letter home, with requests for all the wonderful things that sing of the holidays for him: mistletoe, gifts, and snow.
Related: If you’re excited to see the family again, check out our playlist of songs about going home.
Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy – David Bowie and Bing Crosby
When you think of duets, your first thought for a Christmas song probably isn’t David Bowie and Bing Crosby. But the pair will surprise you if you haven’t already heard the unique and amazing collaboration between the two widely varied styled singers on the work ‘Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy.’ The song was recorded as a Christmas Special in 1977 and later released as a single in 1982.
Happy Xmas (War is Over) – John Lennon and Yoko Ono
John Lennon wasn’t known for “going with the flow,” so having a distinctive Christmas song as one of his biggest hits probably won’t surprise you. The essence of ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ is the mission Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, had for the world: peace. The pair wrote the song in a New York City hotel, recording it the next morning. Initially, the song didn’t get much of anywhere in the charts, but after some success in the UK, it eventually became a quintessential choice for Christmas songs in the USA.
Related: Keep the good vibes going with our playlist of world peace songs.
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Gene Autry and The Pinafores
“You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen…” The famous lineup for Santa’s reindeer is familiar to most of us, but the story of how the red-nosed one might not be so familiar. The story of Rudolph started as a piece used in a booklet as a promotional gift for Montgomery Ward department stores, written by a copywriter, Robert L. May. Seven years later, his brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, turned the story into the song we all know and love today.
Related: Listen to more of the best songs with animals in the title.
What Christmas Means to Me – Stevie Wonder
This Motown holiday song, ‘What Christmas Means to Me’ by Stevie Wonder, was on the artist’s eighth album when he was only seventeen. The upbeat song is a great choice for your dance floor moments at the office party or home celebration of the wonder of Christmas. “Candles burnin’ low, lots of mistletoe. All these things and more, that’s what Christmas means to me, my love.”
Related: If you want more songs with this style, here is our list of popular Motown songs.
Pretty Paper – Willie Nelson
‘Pretty Paper’ has been covered by heaps of artists over the decades in many different styles. The song was written by Willie Nelson as a simple country-esque holiday song with a message. The lyrics reflect on the pretty things we often focus on at Christmas and how hard the holidays can be for others, particularly those living on the streets. The singer doesn’t know what to do and so goes on with life but reflects on this moment. It’s a great song for those clarifying moments in the holiday season.
Related: Here are some songs about having no money for when you’re down on your luck.
Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
From the opening chords, ‘Fairy Tale of New York’ immediately tells you this song is a Christmas tune. But the message of the evocative song might be a bit surprising for some. It’s all about the struggles of Irish immigrants coming to America in the 19th century, escaping the potato famine, and winding up homeless on the streets of New York. The unusual song isn’t the most cheerful, but it is one of great reflection during the season when so many need extra care and love.
Related: Sing about the Big Apple with our New York songs list.
Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes
You probably couldn’t find a more classic holiday song than ‘Sleigh Ride,’ the popular song that was written, funny enough, during a heatwave in July 1946 by Leroy Anderson. The gorgeous song many of us know with both lyrics and without was premiered as an instrumental piece by Arthur Fielder with the Boston Pops. Four years later, Mitchell Parish added the lyrics we now know, helping the song become a Christmas classic.
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ was one of those songs that was released during some challenging times and wound up getting lost in the troubles. That is until Phil Spector and Darlene Love re-recorded the song and re-released it in the 1980s (it was originally written in the 60s). The song quickly rose in popularity upon its new introduction and got plenty of radio air time. Now, the song has been covered by tons of artists, including U2 and Mariah Carey.
Cool Yule – Louis Armstrong
A holiday tune by Steve Allen, ‘Cool Yule’ was released in 1953, with Louis Armstrong singing the lyrics and a strong horn section backing it up, as you’d expect from the musician’s discography. The jazzy Christmas song has been covered by multiple artists since and has made it into film scores, including the 2001 movie “Serendipity” starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack.
Hard Candy Christmas – Dolly Parton
The sentimental Christmas song ‘Hard Candy Christmas’ has become one of Dolly Parton’s holiday classic songs. Interestingly, the song was written by Carol Hall for the Broadway musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Dolly Parton later featured in the film version, singing the solo for the song. She released her own version of the song in 1982. The song isn’t technically a Christmas song in the traditional sense, but the sweet sentiment is an uplifting one for the season.
Related: Here’s our sweet playlist of songs about sugar.
Step into Christmas – Elton John
The peppy tune, ‘Step into Christmas’ by Elton John, invites each listener to come into the joyful holiday season, with the snow falling around us, merry-making with drink and food, and other holiday-specific tones of mistletoe and sleighs. The song was written one Sunday morning and then recorded that same afternoon.
Frosty the Snowman – Jimmy Durante
Songwriters Steve Edward Nelson and Walter “Jack” Rollins wrote this famous ballad of a snowman come to life, ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ in hopes of finding commercial success after other non-religious songs found their own great successes. Gene Autry recorded the song, helping to bring it into the limelight the writers hoped for, and the song remains a holiday classic to this day, complete with multiple stories and films based on the characters of the song.
Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
A joyful song for the Christmas season, ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’ was written by Johnny Marks, a songwriter who’d found success with other Christmas songs prior. For this fun (now) classic, Burl Ives recorded the original track in 1964 with a full orchestra and backing vocalists for a full sound that many of us have come to know as the sound of the season.
If We Make It Through December – Pistol Annies
Written by Merle Haggard, ‘If We Make It Through December’ is a unique examination of the holiday season that can be a challenging time of year for many people. The Pistol Annies give a different honky-tonk-vibe to the song with a slow tempo, sonorous guitar, and organ. The song is a sweet but painful look at hard times with a light of hope in the lyrics, that if you can just “make it through” the season, everything is going to be all right.
Santa Stole My Lady – Fitz and The Tantrums
When you put ‘Santa Stole My Lady’ on to listen to, you might mistake the indie rock song for a classic era song. But the piece by Fitz and the Tantrums was released in 2010. The classic vibe isn’t hurt by the 7-inch vinyl the band released of the song, either. Technically, the song is considered a neo-soul song, and as you listen, you’ll hear those elements come out in the instrumentation with the horn section and rhythm.
Don’t Shoot Me Santa – The Killers
‘Don’t Shoot Me Santa’ is a unique take on the Christmas season, as written and performed by the Killers. The song examines violence in the world and how it impacts the views of kids on the world. The singer depicts a child who’s trying hard to be a “good kid” for Santa and expresses the challenges of life. It’s an interesting look at the world through the lens of the holiday season.
Father Christmas – The Kinks
In the UK, Australia, and other commonwealth countries, ‘Father Christmas’ is a popular reference for Santa Claus. The Kinks wrote the song about Santa with a fun kid-focused narrative that interestingly examines violence and struggles with bullying among kids. The song is true to form for the Kinks in their instrumentation and distinctive vocals.
Mele Kalikimaka – Jimmy Buffett
The Hawaiian-themed Christmas song, ‘Mele Kalikimaka,’ was written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson. The title translates as “Merry Christmas” in the Hawaiian language. The songwriter was born in Hawaii and wrote many successful Hawaiian songs that made it into the mainstream. The version of this song that’s probably best known is the recording by Bing Crosby in 1950, though Jimmy Buffet, Bette Midler, and KT Tunstall have also all recorded it with success.
Adeste Fideles – Nat King Cole
‘Adeste Fideles’ is Latin for “all ye faithful,” and the song is the Latin version of the popular Christmas carol ‘O Come All Ye Faithful.’ Nat King Cole gave us a stunning orchestrated version of the song blending the two languages, and titling it with the Latin name.
Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande
Released on Ariana Grande’s second Christmas album, ‘Santa Tell Me’ is an upbeat song that can add some rhythm and excitement to the Christmas party. Grande said in an interview that the song was a feeling of being “fed up with Santa because he doesn’t necessarily pull through all the time.” That is, expectations aren’t always met at Christmas, but she really just wants someone to love.
Merry Christmas Baby – Otis Redding
Written by Charles Brown, a Texas-born blues musician, ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ leans into the early stylings of early R&B music. It adds a bit of something “different” to the Christmas playlist. The song was written based on the title, according to Brown. He started with the title, then the lyrics, then figured out how it would sound. Other artists since have added their own twists and takes on the song, each version a unique experience with the chill Christmas song.
Christmas in New Orleans – Louis Armstrong
This Christmas jazz standard, ‘Christmas in New Orleans’ has become a favorite over the decades as fans appreciate the vocals and playing of Louis Armstrong. And those in the South—particularly in Louisiana—can particularly appreciate the lyrics, as the song draws out the ways the bayou country celebrates a little differently than in the north, opening with the line, “Magnolia trees at night sparkling bright. Fields of cotton look wintery white when it’s Christmas time in New Orleans.”
Santa’s Beard – The Beach Boys
Pretty much every artist out there has put out some kind of holiday album in their own tradition. The Beach Boys are no different, with their classic surf rock style playing it up on their unique take on the season. In ‘Santa’s Beard,’ the group explores childhood and the discovery of the “real Santa” versus the one at the mall. It’s a cute, fun song that can brighten up the party playlist with a different vibe from some of the more traditional pieces.
Related: Need more beachy tunes? Surf over to our yacht rock songs playlist.
Underneath the Tree – Kelly Clarkson
When you listen to ‘Underneath the Tree,’ you might actually think that Phil Spector wrote the upbeat, merry tune. But the song was written by Kelly Clarkson with collaborator Greg Kurstin. She released it as the single for her first Christmas album, though it wasn’t her first Christmas song. The vibrant song is a great way to celebrate both the season and the love of your life as you spend the holidays together.
Related: This song features on our list of songs about forests.
You Make It Feel Like Christmas – Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani
Sung by Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, ‘You Make It Feel Like Christmas’ has become a recent classic Christmas song focused on romance and fun. The verse trades off lines between the two singing the duet, with harmonies together on the bridge and chorus. Apparently, Shelton wrote the song while on a bus somewhere. He sent the song to Stefani over text, and she instantly recognized it as a hit.
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Jackson 5
Many of us know the Jackson 5 version of ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ as soloed by a young Michael Jackson. But the song was originally recorded by Jimmy Boyd in 1952 when he was thirteen. Funny enough, at the time, it was considered a bit too risqué when it was released in 1953, so some radio stations actually banned the song! Columbia Records sent Boyd to plead with the Council of Churches, which helped get the song unbanned and back on the airwaves.
Related: Here are some more mushy songs with kisses.
Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) – Ramones
Punk might not be the first genre you think of for a great Christmas song, but ‘Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)’ by the Ramones is definitely a choice worth adding to the playlist. The message is clear: Christmas is a season for peace and joy with family. The song has the Ramones’ signature punk rock vibe to it, so it adds an extra appeal for some who want a little musical variety in their playlist.
Last Christmas – Wham!
Whether you play “Wham-aggeddon” each Christmas season or not, you’re bound to hear this song playing on practically every station. ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham! is one of those newly classic Christmas tunes that have an upbeat backing, fun vibe, and oddly deep lyrics of longing for things to be better while getting rid of the bad. “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day, you gave it away.”