The Best Christmas Songs to Really Get You in the Holiday Spirit
Music| | By Jason Owen
Each year on Thanksgiving (well, sometimes before), radio stations across the nation begin their annual tradition of switching to Christmas music for 24 hours a day. Understandably, this drives some mad, but there’s plenty of reason to enjoy this time of year – and it actually might make you happier.
While there are certainly some poor and downright annoying Christmas songs, there are plenty of songs that can only help make your heart grow three sizes when listening. From classics to contemporary, these are our picks for the best Christmas songs ever.
Nat King Cole – “Deck the Halls”
Mormon Tabernacle Choir – “Carol of the Bells”
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has produced a number of incredible holiday songs throughout the years, but this classic version of “Carol of the Bells” might have you doing a double-take to check if actual angels are singing.
Elvis Presley – “Blue Christmas”
The King of Rock n’ Roll might have a legitimate claim as the King of Christmas Music, and “Blue Christmas” might be his best. Its quintessential Elvis crooning is somehow a holly-jolly tune that seems perfect for a Hawaiian luau.
Bruce Springsteen – “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”
The Boss gets into the Christmas spirit with his version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” and it’s hard to miss the joy he infuses into this beloved classic.
The Ronettes – “Sleigh Ride”
The Grammy-winning Ronettes are known for their mainstream, chart-topping ’60s hits, but they rocked the holidays on more than one occasion, including the pep-in-your-step “Sleigh Ride.” Veronica Bennett’s lead vocals worm their way into your ears and before you know it you’ll be singing right along with her.
John Lennon – “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”
What better reminder of Christmas than a potent message of love, kindness, and peace to ring in the New Year. Lennon’s classic is not only the perfect holiday song, but an anti-war call that seems more relevant year after year with its repetition of “War is over (if you want it).”
Mariah Carey – “All I Want for Christmas Is You”
Sorry to any haters out there, but Carey’s pop masterpiece “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is fitting for any best Christmas songs list. Her incredible vocals glide smoothly over the jingle of sleigh bells and soon you’re belting out the chorus while cruising down the highway and find yourself in an infinitely better mood.
Darlene Love – “A Marshmallow World”
Love was featured on the Christmas favorite A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, and her upbeat “Marshmallow World” will warm your soul no matter how cold it is outside.
Stevie Wonder – “Someday at Christmas”
Like Lennon’s “Happy Xmas,” Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas” dives into the true spirit of Christmas with its call for peace and hope for a time when “men won’t be like boys playing with bombs like kids play with toys.”
The Jackson 5 – “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
If teenage Michael Jackson belting out “Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night” doesn’t give you goosebumps all over your body, you might be related to the Grinch.
Bing Crosby/David Bowie – “The Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth)”
When classic Christmas singer Bing Crosby teams up with David Bowie, you’re bound to get a new holiday classic. Their rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy” soars to new heights with the addition of the “Peace on Earth” verse.
The Pogues (feat. Kirsty MacColl) – Fairytale of New York
The lyrics are antagonistic, but the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s collaboration of “Fairytale of New York” serves as a spirited love letter to New York City during the holidays.
Honorable Mention – Best Christmas Songs
The Ramones – “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”
You don’t often think of The Ramones when it comes to best holiday songs, but their “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” is a pertinent reminder of the spirit of love during the holidays, and it’s unapologetic punk hits even the most anti-Christmas song-individual right in the feels.