50 Christmas Songs That Will Definitely Put You In The Holiday Spirit
Christmas songs are a huge part of the holiday season for many of us. There's just something special about listening to holiday tunes under the glow of the Christmas tree, so we got the scoop on Pandora's 50 most thumbed songs for the holiday season. If you're looking to update your playlist too, then keep reading!
Along with Christmas classics like "Jingle Bells," we love to listen to more recent releases, like Ariana Grande's "Santa Tell Me" and Taylor Swift's "Christmas Tree Farm." This rise in shimmery, upbeat Christmas music follows the religious hymns (like "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,") and the novelty songs ("I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas") that were hugely popular in earlier generations.
Art is often a response to the culture and events that are happening at the time, and Christmas music is no exception. While the production of new Christmas songs died down around the end of the 19th century, the period from the Great Depression until the end of World War II saw a boom in secular, American Christmas songs, says Psychology Today. These songs featured themes of home, peace, and love that provided relief from the specific difficulties of the time.
While this boom gave us some of our favorite Christmas tunes, it can be frustrating to hear hundreds of covers that sound relatively similar to one another. However, there's actually a scientific reason behind why those covers are so successful.
"Our brains feel rewarded when they correctly predict what happens next [in a song], and if a prediction is wrong, we feel momentarily discombobulated," music neuroscientist Brian Rabinovitz told The Washington Post.
That's why covers of popular Christmas songs don't stray too far from the original.
"If the surprise is not too drastic [in those covers] our brains might decide they like the change — and then they are often happier than if there had been no surprise in the first place."
The songs that our parents introduced us to can also affect our music picks as adults because we naturally lean toward the music from our childhoods, Paul Carr, University of South Wales' professor in popular music analysis, told WIRED. This nostalgia, paired with the rise of streaming, makes it super fun and easy to listen to music that was released before we were born, or that we associate with positive past experiences (we're looking at you NSYNC's Home For Christmas!).
Pandora's got more than 60 stations dedicated to holiday music, and from Today's Christmas to Hipster Holidays and Holiday Hits, the playlists that cover these 50 Christmas songs are sure to help you discover something you'll love for years to come.
Pandora's Top 50 Christmas Songs
- "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey
- "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee
- "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" by Thurl Ravenscroft
- "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms
- "Holly Jolly Christmas" by Michael Bublé
- "Underneath the Tree" by Kelly Clarkson
- "Overture And A Holly Jolly Christmas (From "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" Soundtrack) (feat. Vidocraft Orchestra)" by Burl Ives
- "The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)" by Nat King Cole
- "Happy Holiday / The Holiday Season" by Andy Williams
- "Sleigh Ride" by The Ronettes
- "Where Are You Christmas (From "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas" Soundtrack)" by Faith Hill
- "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby
- "Please Come Home for Christmas (Single Version; 2018 Remaster)" by Eagles
- "It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas" by Michael Bublé
- "Christmas Eve / Sarajevo 12/24 (Instrumental; 2016 Remaster)" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- "Santa Baby" by Eartha Kitt
- "Believe" by Josh Groban
- "Baby, It's Cold Outside" by Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone
- "A Holly Jolly Christmas (Single Version)" by Burl Ives
- "Christmas Is Coming" by Vince Guaraldi Trio
- "Run Run Rudolph" by Chuck Berry
- "Someday at Christmas" by Stevie Wonder & Andra Day
- "Winter Wonderland" by Michael Bublé
- "We Three Gentlemen" by Lindsey Stirling
- "It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas" by Bing Crosby
- "Santa Tell Me" by Ariana Grande
- "When You Believe (with Maren Morris)" by Pentatonix & Maren Morris
- "(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays (1954 Version)" by Perry Como
- "This Christmas" by Donny Hathaway
- "Carol Of The Bells/Sing We Now Of Christmas" by Barlowgirl
- "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by The Navidettes
- "Up On The House Top (Ho Ho Ho)" by Gene Autry
- "Jingle Bell Rock" by Brenda Lee
- "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Michael Bublé
- "O Holy Night" by Katharine McPhee
- "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" by Jackson 5
- "Do You Hear What I Hear" by Carrie Underwood
- "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" by Gene Autry
- "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (Medley / Remastered 2006)" by Bing Crosby
- "O Tannenbaum" by Vince Guaraldi Trio
- "Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy" by Lindsey Stirling
- "Cold December Night" by Michael Bublé
- "A Mad Russians Christmas (Instrumental)" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- "Baby It's Cold Outside (Duet With Michael Buble)" by Idina Menzel
- "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by Darlene Love
- "Blue Christmas (with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)" by Elvis Presley
- "Like It's Christmas" by Jonas Brothers
- "Here We Come a-Caroling / We Wish You a Merry Christmas" by Perry Como
- "The First Noel" by Carrie Underwood
- "O Holy Night" by Mariah Carey
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B+C Editorial Assistant, Swiftie | Chloe is originally from the Outer Banks (yes, like the Netflix show!). When she isn't writing or updating her blog Pastels and Pop Culture, Chloe enjoys watching Marvel movies or texting her sister about the latest celebrity news. Say hi at @thechloewilliams on Insta and @popculturechlo on Twitter!