Christmas songs are a thing, and as December 25 draws steadily closer, they become a thing that is more and more impossible to avoid. Whether you love them, despise them or just accept them as an unavoidable part of life, the best Christmas songs are just listed below!
And while a lot of forgettable novelty nonsense has been produced over the years, most Christmas songs are actually rather good. There are several Christmas records that have survived from the 1940s through the 1970s when they were at their artistic peak. However, later, even more, cynical eras of pop generated a lot of gold.
“All I Want For Christmas Is You” By Mariah Carey
When it was first published in 1995, the song fizzled out quickly but gained cultural cachet in the 2000s. Its popularity gradually increased each year until it ultimately topped the US charts in 2019 and the UK charts in 2020. Killjoys at bars have taken to whining about its pervasiveness, but it’s their loss because everything about this song is as ageless as it is perfect, from the twinkly opening to Mariah’s vocals.
“Last Christmas” By Wham!
Sleighbells and synthesizers are used in the lament of a failing romance, “Last Christmas,” which also has some pretty memorable knitwear in the music video. But what truly distinguishes “Last Christmas” is George Michael’s heartfelt performance, which has his sincere heartbroken terror and dreamy, seductive whispers. Never before had “Merry Christmas” sounded so seductive.
“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” By Darlene Love
Is this the warmest Christmas song ever? Most likely, the perfect pleading vocal of Darlene Love, Phil Spector’s fabulously glitzy production, and Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry’s enchanting music could melt even the biggest Scrooge. It’s the ideal holiday tune, hands down.
“Stay Another Day” By East 17
The all-time Christmas anthem from East 17 wasn’t even meant to be a holiday tune. The result is a masterful exercise in holiday gloom and the group’s stunningly somber four-part harmonies appear to absorb that raw emotion. Even the obligatory Christmas song sleigh bells seem to do the same.
“White Christmas” By Bing Crosby
Even more potent than actual recollections is the force of holiday nostalgia. Therefore, even if our genuine past is filled with heartbreaking failures, we can all look back with Bing on this Irving Berlin-penned 1940s song to a white Christmas exactly like the ones we used to know.
“Fairytale of New York” By The Pogues And Kirsty MacColl
When was the last time you gave Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues’ epic Big Apple-set narrative a thorough listening? If you try it with your eyes closed and aren’t a frightened mess by the time the music fades out, your heart is two sizes too small. Despite the profanity, “Fairytale” is a wonderful four-minute story of hope, despair, and sorrow that concludes with love.
“Christmas Wrapping” By The Waitresses
This is undoubtedly the Christmas song for you if you enjoy new wave bands like Blondie and Talking Heads. “I think I’ll miss this one this year,” the singer Patty Donahue says cynically before an unexpected romance blooms in the show’s closing moments and soothes her jaded cockles.
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” By Band Aid
With participation from Phil Collins, Sting, Macca, and Bono, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure’s response to the Ethiopian famine in 1984 was a PR machine of historic proportions. The biggest UK chart success of the decade was “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” which held the number-one position for five weeks. If you disregard everything else, it’s actually just a terrific pop song!
“Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” By Brenda Lee
Despite not celebrating Christmas because he was Jewish, Johnny Marks composed some of the finest Christmas songs ever throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Among them are “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “I Heard The Bells of Christmas Day,” and this, an unassuming easy-listening rock ‘n’ roll song performed by 13-year-old Brenda Lee.
“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” By John Lennon & Yoko Ono
John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s iconic holiday peace-on-earth song has exceeded its intended anti-Vietnam War intent to become a Christmas classic. It is euphoric and piercing, as optimistic as it is sad.
And a soon-to-be Christmas classic…
“Rum Chata” By Resse P
An “ugly sweater-themed” music video has all the classics you want to laugh about during the holidays; a grinch, sneaking shot glasses under the table, and a family roll-call. This is going to be an instant classic this year and stands to hit big with the season soon to dawn.
Christmas songs are the best way to get into the festive spirit. So when you hear that Santa Claus is coming to town and it starts to seem a lot like Christmas, just press play on the above songs and have a good time!
Make sure you check our blog for more music-related topics. We regularly post key artist content so don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for more music marketing-related updates.
Subscribe To Our Music Marketing Newsletter!
News about music marketing strategies to the music business and beyond.
Delivered to your inbox once a week.