The 70 best Christmas songs of all time to add to your 2023 playlist

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

For pretty much everyone, just hearing Mariah Carey croon the opening lines of "All I Want For Christmas" is enough to bring on the Christmas spirit.

And once you start, it's almost impossible to stop listening to Christmas songs because along with welcoming the winter season, they're often the soundtrack to some of our most treasured holiday memories.

For instance, who doesn't recall listening to "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" while decorating the tree with the family? Or getting a little misty-eyed hearing the "Peanuts" gang sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" at the end of "A Charlie Brown Christmas"?

Whether your preference skews toward traditional hymns or runs a bit more contemporary, we've gathered a list of the best Christmas songs of all time to help ensure your holiday playlist is fully stocked with all the essential tunes of the season.

Among these Christmas classics you'll find favorites like Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and Burl Ives' "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas." There are also plenty of sentimental songs that make the cut as well, including the Pretenders' "2000 Miles" and Bing Crosby's memorable duet with David Bowie in "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy."

Whatever your musical taste is, you're sure to find all your favorites right here and, perhaps, discover a few new ones while you're at it.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa or festive Christmas cocktail and warm up your chops because we're about to fa, la, la you right into 2024.

'All I Want For Christmas Is You' by Mariah Carey

Released in 1994, this Mariah Carey remains one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time. To date, the song has sold more than 10 million units, making it one of only 85 songs to earn a Diamond certification.

‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ by Brenda Lee

We dare you to find even one person who doesn’t love this holiday classic. And if they need to be reminded of its magic, just show ‘em the iconic scene from “Home Alone” where the song plays in the background as Kevin parties with mannequins and cardboard cutouts.

'Peace On Earth / Little Drummer Boy' by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

This one tugs at everyone's heartstrings. Old-school crooner Bing Crosby and ‘60s rocker David Bowie team up to sing “Peace On Earth / Little Drummer Boy,” which they performed together in 1977.

“What Christmas Means To Me” by Stevie Wonder

Candles burnin’ low and lots of mistletoe are what make this Stevie Wonder Christmas classic so much fun. The festive holiday song has been covered by several artists and even earned a spot on the “Elf” soundtrack.

‘Jingle Bell Rock’ by Bobby Helms

What a bright time, it’s the right time to rock away to Bobby Helms’ 1957 Christmas song, “Jingle Bell Rock.”

'Twelve Days of Christmas' by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters

Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters join forces in this jaunty, harmony-filled version of "Twelve Days of Christmas."

‘O Tannenbaum’ by Vince Guaraldi Trio

We can practically feel snowflakes falling and hear the crackling fire in this jazzy version of “O Tannenbaum” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

'The Christmas Waltz' by Harry Connick, Jr.

It's that time of year, when the world falls in love and Harry Connick, Jr. sings all about it in this enchanting version of 'The Christmas Waltz."

'The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)' by Alvin and the Chipmunks

This oldie-but-goodie goes all the way back to 1958 and is guaranteed to make adults a bit nostalgic for days gone by. And kids? Well, they'll be giggling at this silly but catchy tune.

'Merry Christmas Baby' by Otis Redding

Otis Redding is feelin' mighty fine in this 1967 Christmas song that serenades his girl and has him dreaming of stealing a kiss beneath the mistletoe.

'Merry Christmas' by Ed Sheeran and Elton John

Ed Sheeran and Elton John team up for this ear-worm of a duet that instantly became a classic Christmas song after being released just in time for the holidays in 2021.

'Christmas Wrapping' by The Waitresses

A would-be couple spends an entire year trying to set up a date in this '80s song by The Waitresses. Finally, the duo serendipitously meet up at the grocery store on Christmas Eve. You mean, you forgot cranberries, too?

'The Christmas Song' by Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole delivers the best version of this nostalgic Christmas song, which has been covered by countless artists through the years.

'Have a Holly Jolly Christmas' by Burl Ives

We don't know if there'll be snow, but one thing's for sure: "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" is full of Christmas cheer.

'Feliz Navidad' by José Feliciano

José Feliciano wants to wish everybody Feliz Navidad, or a very Merry Christmas, in this tune that has remained a holiday staple since its release in 1970.

'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year' by Andy Williams

Not everyone agrees that the holidays are, in fact, the most wonderful time of year. Even so, it's impossible to not single along to this infectious Andy Williams tune.

'Last Christmas' by Wham!

George Michael of Wham! wrote, produced and recorded all the instruments and vocals for this 1984 treasure, then went on to donate the proceeds to victims of the Ethiopian famine.

'White Christmas' by Bing Crosby

Even 80 years after its release, this Bing Crosby favorite continues to top the charts. According to Guinness World Records, it's sold over 100 million records around the globe, making it the best-selling Christmas single of all time.

'Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!' by Dean Martin

The weather outside might be frightful, but at least this Dean Martin tune will give you the warm fuzzies (or, ya know, have you dreaming of snowier days).

'Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)' by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" is the soundtrack to Christmas light displays around the world — and for good reason.

'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' by Gene Autry

Just like good ol' Rudolph himself, this 1949 tune goes down in history as one of the most popular Christmas songs ever.

'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' by Vince Guaraldi

Grab a couple of tissues because this classic from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is sure to get fans of the animated special feeling sentimental over the "Peanuts" gang holding hands and singing around the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.

'Ave Maria' by Harry Connick, Jr.

For those who prefer a more traditional Christmas hymn, this version of "Ave Maria" by Harry Connick, Jr. is sure to please.

'Mary, Did You Know?' by Pentatonix

This solemn cover by the Pentatonix is a masterful mix of vocals and celebration of Christmas Day.

'It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas' by Michael Bublé

When you spot a sturdy Christmas tree (the kind that doesn't mind the snow) at the park or the Grand Hotel, then there's no doubt that Christmastime is here. At least according to this holiday classic.

'Sleigh Ride' by The Ronettes

This version of "Sleigh Ride" is by far the most popular and we're ring-a-ling-a ding-dong-ding-ing right along with it!

'Happy Xmas (War is Over)' by John Lennon and Yoko Ono

We can't help but get a little weepy every time we hear John and Yoko singing with Harlem Community Choir. It's truly timeless.

'Mistletoe' by Justin Bieber

You're sure to find us playing in the winter snow come Christmastime, but not Justin Bieber. He'll be waiting under the mistletoe for his "shawty" instead.

'Blue Christmas' by Elvis Presley

"Blue Christmas" clearly makes a lot of us happy about feelin' sad: It's the fourth most-streamed Elvis song on Spotify.

‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’ by Pentatonix and Whitney Houston

The late Whitney Houston and a cappella powerhouse group Pentatonix combine their considerable talents on this classic Christmas carol that celebrates the arrival of a certain mighty king.

'Christmas Canon' by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra gives Pachelbel's "Canon in D" a makeover in this spirited version with a full choir and new lyrics.

'Wonderful Christmastime' by Paul McCartney

Charmingly British, "Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney is exactly what every Christmas party playlist needs to get spirits up.

'When My Heart Finds Christmas' by Harry Connick, Jr.

The title track of Harry Connick, Jr.'s 1993 Christmas album, "When My Heart Finds Christmas" is the perfect romantic holiday song for that special someone.

'Santa Tell Me' by Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande wants Santa to know that she doesn't want to fall in love again if her beau isn't going to stick around until next year. We hear you, Ariana, and totally plan to ask for gift cards.

'You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch' by Thurl Ravenscroft

All the Whos in Whoville better watch out for the Grinch because he's a mean one who plans to steal their Christmas joy. Spoiler: He becomes a hero in the end.

'Happy Holiday / The Holiday Season' by Andy Williams

Andy Williams really delivers the holiday spirit in this cheerful tune from his 1963 Christmas album. Admit it: You can't help but belt it out.

'Underneath the Tree' by Kelly Clarkson

Christmas was cold and grey before this Kelly Clarkson toe-tapper was released in 2013. The song's message is just as powerful as her voice, reminding us all that the only present worth having is love.

'Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)' by Gene Autry

Gene Autry heralds the arrival of everyone's favorite man in red (and sleigh full of toys for good girls and boys) in this 1947 tune.

'Hallelujah' by Pentatonix

Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" gets the acapella treatment in this breathtaking cover of the 1984 song.

'Please Come Home for Christmas' by Eagles

The Eagles have got us singing the blues in "Please Come Home for Christmas," but we can't even be mad about it since it's such a catchy tune.

'Christmastime is Here' by Vince Guaraldi Trio

The theme from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is guaranteed to make you feel more than just a little nostalgic for Charlie, Snoopy and the rest of the gang.

'Do They Know it's Christmas' by Band Aid

Here's a little tidbit of history: In 1984, some of the most popular British and Irish musicians formed a band called Band Aid and released this song to benefit the victims of famine in Ethiopia.

'Santa Baby' by Eartha Kitt

We love Eartha Kitt's saucy rendition of Santa Baby ... along with all the presents on her Christmas list. A '54 convertible in light blue? Yes, please.

'Linus and Lucy' by Vince Guaraldi Trio

When you think of Charlie Brown, this jaunty piano tune (aka the Peanuts' theme song) is often the first thing that comes to mind.

'Where Are You Christmas?' by Faith Hill

When Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" got a movie update in 2000, so did its theme song. Faith Hill belts out "Where Are You Christmas?" — and you probably will, too.

'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen gets in the ho-ho-holiday spirit with this cover of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," jingle bells and all.

'2000 Miles' by Pretenders

Christmas can be a bit blue when you're missing the one you love and Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders perfectly capture the bittersweet feeling in "2000 Miles."

'Little Drummer Boy' by Pentatonix

Pentatonix's take on "Little Drummer Boy" became an instant classic. In other words, we've been listening to it ever since it was released in 2013.

'Little Saint Nick' by The Beach Boys

Dream of sunnier days by listening to this 1963 original holiday song by The Beach Boys.

'Jingle Bells' by Frank Sinatra

It's not officially Christmas until Ol' Blue Eyes sings this version of "Jingle Bells" and gets everybody's bobtails a-ringing!

'Run Rudolph Run' by Chuck Berry

Rudolph has never been more rock 'n roll than in this Chuck Berry classic.

'(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays' by Perry Como

There really is no place like home for the holidays and Perry Como's song reminds us exactly that.

'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' by Darlene Love

Darlene Love and her big vocals totally own "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," a holiday tune that implores her baby to please, please, just come home.

'Frosty the Snowman' by Jimmy Durante

There must have been some magic in that old black hat that brought Frosty the Snowman to life. And, much like the in the animated feature by the same name, Jimmy Durante's song is Christmas magic, too.

'Do You Want to Build a Snowman?' by Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn and Katie Lopez

Anyone who's seen "Frozen (so, everyone?) knows this charming plea for company.

'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' by Frank Sinatra

Good luck finding someone who hasn't covered this Christmas song. Everyone from Judy Garland to Kelly Clarkson has a version of this tune, but Frank Sinatra's is the one that lands on Billboard's top 100 list.

'Merry Christmas Darling' by Carpenters

Karen Carpenter's rich, warm voice invites us to share in some Christmas-ing with that someone special in this song.

'This Christmas' by Donny Hathaway

Donny Hathaway sets the scene for a very special Christmas, starting with hanging all the mistletoe.

'Snowman' by Sia

Sia serenades winter's unofficial mascot – the snowman – in this sweet song from 2020.

'Sleigh Ride' by Leroy Anderson

Even though we promised no duplicates, The Ronettes' version of "Sleigh Ride" has an entirely different sound than this instrumental recording. For that reason, we're breaking our own rule and adding it to the list.

'I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas' by Gayla Peevey

Recorded by 10-year-old Gayla Peevey, the novelty song "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" has remained popular since it's release back in 1953.

'8 Days of Christmas' by Destiny's Child

Beyoncé, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland give "The 12 Days of Christmas" a whole new spin with this contemporary tune that celebrates how lovely it is to feel that Christmas spirit.

'Baby, It's Cold Outside' by Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé

Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé refresh this oldie about a twosome who banter over saying goodnight with some more family-friendly lyrics.

'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus' by Jackson 5

A young Michael Jackson and brothers put a Motown spin on this holiday favorite.

'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday' by Wizzard

Your toes are sure to be a-tappin' along to this 1973 song by the British band Wizzard that pays homage to everyone's wish that Christmas would come more than just once a year.

'Deck the Halls' by Nat King Cole

'Tis the season to be jolly and this song is exactly what you need on your playlist to fa, la, la, la all season long.

'Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays' by NSync

NSync sum the spirit of the season up quite nicely in this sweet ballad, which reminds everyone it's time to celebrate and put worries aside.

'Christmas in Hollis' by Run D.M.C.

This 1987 song by Run D.M.C is funky rap that pays homage to Santa, family traditions and all the rest of the things that make the season special.

'Step into Christmas' by Elton John

Elton John released this upbeat Christmas song in 1974. Featuring John's signature vocals and piano sound, this one'll have you singing along whether you're listening in the car or decorating the tree.

'Pretty Paper' by Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson

Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson partner up to sing this melancholy country ballad about pretty wrapping paper, ribbons of blue and the lonely street vendor who sells them during the holidays.

This article was originally published on