Christmas music is such an integral part of the holiday season, so we put together a list of the 8 greatest Christmas songs, and why we think they're so magical:
8 All I Want for Christmas is You (1994)
by Mariah Carey
Although this is a relatively recent tune as far as Christmas songs go, it’s made its way to the mainstream holiday playlists ever since its release. The song is catchy, upbeat, and full of energy - you can’t help but tap your toes and sing along. The peppy jingle bells, punchy piano melody, and Mariah’s voice make a wonderfully festive combination that will get stuck in your head for hours, in a good way.
7 Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1963)
by The Crystals
This lively 60s-era Christmas song is both a radio and listener favorite. It begins with a quiet piano rendition of Brahms’ famous lullaby, accompanied by jingle bells, as one of the singers tells a story of Santa Claus’ workshop. The song then erupts into an energetic ensemble of vocals, horns, drums, bells, guitars, and chimes that’s impossible not to dance to. Honorable mentions of other versions include those by The Jackson 5, Bruce Springsteen, and Ella Fitzgerald.
6 Happy Xmas (1972)
by John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Happy Xmas is a celebratory and reflective song, inspired by the peaceful activism Lennon and Ono led in the previous two years involving America’s role in the Vietnam War. The song, at its core, is a political one, but it also carries a message of hope and peace. The song builds energy as it progresses, with its catchy melody and beautiful arpeggios sung by the children of the Harlem Community Choir. The song inspires imagery of people from all walks of life, holding hands, singing, and coming together at Christmas to celebrate and love one another.
5 You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch (1966)
by Thurl Ravenscroft
This often forgotten-about Christmas song is a quirky and funny departure from the usual holiday playlist. Thurl Ravenscroft provides his impressively deep baritone voice to describe all that is wrong with the “vile” and “deplorable” Mr. Grinch. It’s a light-hearted and hilarious tune that’s as fun to listen to as it is to sing along with, especially if you try to imitate the tune of his voice!
4 Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (1948)
by Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra offers his soothing voice to this classic Christmas song to give list listeners well wishes this holiday season. He sings of gatherings among family and friends for the Christmas festivities, and it’s easy to reflect on your own memories as you listen along. There are many adaptations of this song (including this one, as it’s not the original), but there’s no denying the warm feelings and visions of a lovely Christmas morning that come with hearing Sinatra’s classic version.
3 Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (1958)
by Brenda Lee
Nobody sings Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree like Brenda Lee. This song can be found in almost every Christmas movie soundtrack, and you’re bound to hear it on the radio when the holiday season begins. It’s a fun little tune that’s both nostalgic and dancy, so you’ll be rocking out to this classic in no time. It’s especially fun to play while you’re decorating your own Christmas tree.
2 I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1943)
by Bing Crosby
This classic Christmas standard is a somber one, as it is sung in the point of view of an overseas soldier during World War II, writing home to his family. The song is sometimes hopeful, with the lyrics “I’ll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me”. The soldier asks the family to have presents, snow, and mistletoe ready for his return on Christmas Eve. He mixes in a sad twist, however, with the line “I’ll be home for Christmas… if only in my dreams”, which leaves the song on a melancholy note.
1 White Christmas (1954)
by Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby makes the list yet again for his classic rendition of White Christmas. This simple little tune is stripped of guitars, percussion, and all the frills of modern music. Bing gets down to the essentials, providing only his velvety voice, subdued strings, and the chorus of his backing vocalists. Throughout the song, Bing references classic Christmas themes such as sleigh bells, snow, Christmas cards and glistening treetops. The song is beautiful in its simplicity, and the aged, slightly muffled quality of the audio only adds to its vintage appeal.