So you know when you come home for the holidays and your mom puts the same Christmas playlist she’s locked away for the last three decades (with nary a modern Christmas hit find), and you’ve pretty much heard every song about 10,000 times? Well, it’s not that list, lol. Don’t fight us on this: some of the best and most upbeat modern Christmas music of all time has been recorded over the last three decades or less, truth be told. Please come with us and let us shock / amaze / delight you with new holiday favorites.
It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: Of Classes, there are also classic songs here. There’s no doubt that the classics make the holidays what they are. (Number one is probably the most classic of them all! It’ll be stuck in your head for weeks!) But you’ll be surprised how many modern artists who sat down with a glass of eggnog a year and thought , Wow, I love vacations. I really should record a Christmas song myself. And then a ~surprising~ amount of them have been absolute bangers.
So here’s our (biased, totally individual) list of Christmas favourites, old and new. You may not have heard of all of them – a bunch of them are underrated hits – but this gives the *classic holiday playlist* a much-needed update. Try putting this on and see what your mom thinks. I bet she will like some of them!!
In no particular order, except for number one, which is exactly where it’s supposed to be.
1. “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, by Mariah Carey
The gold standard of Christmas songs, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” is able to get you in the holiday mood within the first five seconds of listening. You could hear that in mid-July without even getting upset.
2. “As if it were Christmas”, by the Jonas Brothers
This song will be your new favorite, trust me. “You make every day feel like Christmas.”
3. “Let’s Go Until Christmas”, by Alessia Cara
There are so many new songs to add to your holiday playlist this year, and this is one of the best!
4. “Christmas wrap”, by the waitresses
The timeless story of a cute encounter at the checkout.
5. “A Hand for Mrs. Claus”, by Idina Menzel feat. Ariana Grande
A hymn for Mrs. Claus sung by two angels, what more could you ask for?
6. “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays”, by NSYNC
It’s physically impossible not to think about it every time it happens at a Starbucks in December.
7. “Drummer Boy”, by Justin Bieber featuring. Busta Rimes
Sorry to everyone else who recorded this song, but Justin’s version is by far the best version offered (and the only one that includes a verse where Busta Rhymes sends holiday wishes to his Twitter followers).
8. “Last Christmas”, by Carly Rae Jepsen
The Wow original! version is great too, but it’s so hard to resist this sax.
9. “All I Want (For Christmas)”, by Liam Payne
An angelic ballad about making things work during the holidays.
10. “What Christmas Means To Me”, by Stevie Wonder
Two and a half minutes of pure holiday joy.
11. “8 Days of Christmas”, by Destiny’s Child
Destiny’s Child’s Christmas Album, also titled 8 days of Christmasis an underrated gem, but this track stands out for its oh-so-2001 Christmas wish list: dirty jeans, a diamond belly ring, and “a gift certificate for my favorite CDs.”
12. “Frost the Snowman”, by the Ronettes
Ronnie Spector’s New Yawk accent makes the word “frosty” a hundred times cooler.
13. “Santa Claus, Tell Me”, by Ariana Grande
Ariana asks Santa for something that really matters: an opinion on whether or not a man is worth his time.
14. “Silent Night”, by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
The late Sharon Jones adds soul and swing to a ubiquitous standard.
15. “No place like home for the holidays”, by Perry Como
I literally can’t imagine Christmas without this song.
16. “My only wish (this year)”, by Britney Spears
It’s a travesty that the world never had a full Britney Christmas album. (There’s still time, Britney!)
17. “Sleigh Ride”, by TLC
Only TLC could make a sleigh ride in the freezing cold sexy.
18. “Jingle Dem Bells”, by RuPaul feat. Big Freedia and Ellis Miah
If only the rebound had existed when James Lord Pierpont wrote the original “Jingle Bells.”
19. “Christmas Is Here”, by Vince Guaraldi Trio
Guaranteed to fill humans of all ages with uncontrollable nostalgia.
20. “Everybody knows Christmas”, by Hanson
snowy it was good, okay? Don’t fight it.
21. “Santa Baby”, by Eartha Kitt
What good is Santa Claus if he can’t bring you something extravagant?
22. “I wish it was Christmas today”, by Julian Casablancas
What started as a joke on Saturday Night Live is now a new classic perfect for those times when you just can’t stand another playthrough of “Winter Wonderland.”
23. “Christmas in Hollis”, by Run-DMC
One of those times you can say “iconic” and mean it.
24. “Hard Candy Christmas”, by Dolly Parton
Nothing like a tearful country song to make you want to spend time with your family.
25. “I’m the Grinch”, by Tyler, the Creator
A family Christmas song in Tyler’s signature style. That’s what dreams are made of.
26. “The Christmas Song”, by Ella Fitzgerald
You don’t even care that you’ve heard this song a thousand times when Ella Fitzgerald sings it.
27. “Christmas (baby please come home)”, by Darlene Love
A song so emotionally effective, you’ll want your baby to come home even if they’re sitting right next to you.
28. “Have You a Merry Little Christmas”, by Cat Power
A beautiful, understated take on a holiday radio staple.
29. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, by Brenda Lee
It’s really the only way to behave around a Christmas tree.
30. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, by The Jackson 5
The hands of jazz are thrown in the air.
31. “Kiss”, by Lil Peep
On first listen, you might not be convinced it’s a Christmas song, but let me tell you, those bells in the background and the reference to the kisses by the tree say opposite.
32. “Scrooge”, by the Muppets
It’s hard to choose just one song The Puppet Christmas Carol (the greatest Christmas movie of our time, no arguments) but anyone born in the 80s can tell you it’s the one most likely to inspire a drunken carol when viewing the annual holiday . If you get dumped this season, it’s also going to be a great breakup song.
33. “Break Up Holiday”, by Dude York
Christmas is all about fun and games until you have to see your ex at a holiday party.
34. “Joy to the World”, by Earth, Wind & Fire
The most danceable version of this song ever recorded.
35. “Bring Me the Love”, by John Legend
TBH, John Legend’s Complete Christmas Album, A legendary Christmasshould be here.
36. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, by Bruce Springsteen
Aka, seven minutes of uninterrupted vacation fun from your dad’s favorite musician of all time.
37. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, by The Temptations
Do you remember the order of the reindeer? Let the Motown band take you back.
38. “It’s Not Christmas”, by Ne-Yo
How is Ne-Yo going to make a Christmas breakup song so sweet? Ugh.
39. “I Saw Mommy Kiss Santa,” by Jessica Simpson
So, uh… did dad find out that mom was adulterous, or?
40. “Jingle Bell Rock”, by Daryl Hall and John Oates
You know and love the original version of this song by mean girls, but try this 80s version for size. You won’t be sorry.
41. “Run Rudolph Run”, by Chuck Berry
Excuse me, the father of rock ‘n’ roll would like to no longer be left out of the Christmas conversation.
42. “Yule, Shoot Your Eye”, by Fall Out Boy
Am I going to be put on the naughty list for picturing Pete Wentz in a Santa costume? Ask… a friend.
43. “It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas”, by Michael Bublé
Can we agree that Michael Bublé is, like… the modern king of Christmas? Legitimately, every song on his Christmas album is just *the chef’s kiss*.
44. “I won’t be home for Christmas”, by Blink-182
Christmas…but make it pop-punk.
45. “Christmas Tree Farm”, by Taylor Swift
Sorry not sorry, but this track is infinitely better than his version of “Last Christmas”.
46. ”Happy Holidays”, by Peggy Lee
As a New York native, I can 100% say I’ve heard this more times than I care to admit while working at Macy’s 34th Street during the holiday rush. But is he getting old? Neverrrrr.
47. “Step into Christmas”, by Elton John
A criminally underrated Christmas bop, if you ask me! BRB, creating a petition to get this Elton classic played on all radio stations this year.
48. “Candy Cane Lane”, by Sia
The only thing more perfect than a Sia holiday song is the cute little stop-motion clay video it has to accompany. I mean, this snowman eating Christmas lawn decorations is just TOO ADORABLE.
49. “Cozy Little Christmas”, by Katy Perry
Legit can’t believe we had to wait until 2019 to get an official Christmas song from Katy, but god it was worth the wait.
50. “Wonderful Christmas”, by Paul McCartney
A local Lite FM classic, this Paul McCartney track is what sticks in my mind every year without fail.
51. “Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas”, by Carla Thomas
The queen of Memphis Soul blessed us with this track in 1963, and TBH… it still slams all these years later.
52. “I wish it was Christmas everyday”, by Leona Lewis
When she’s not “bleeding with love”, Leona Lewis wishes it was Christmas every day. To find? (Please laugh.)
53. “Let It Snow”, by Boyz II Men feat. Brian McKnight
If it’s not repeated on your szn vacation, what are you actually doing, my friend??? I’m not looking forward to Christmas – I’m looking forward to a time of year when it’s socially acceptable to blast “Let It Snow” anytime. Believe me, your vacation will be way more soulful and silky smooth with this one on the playlist.
54. “Joy to the World”, by Whitney Houston (The preacher’s wife soundtrack)
Let Queen Whitney take it! You! TO! Church! with this Christmas classic. The Georgia Mass Choir backs her up, and it truly is the most heavenly experience. Oh, and if you haven’t seen The preacher’s wife, fix it. Rapidly.
55. “Under the Tree”, by Kelly Clarkson
The OG American Idol star made his mark on the modern Christmas music scene with this absolute banger. It just makes you feel so good and comfortable, ugh. Where’s my cocoa and hallmark movie???
You might also like