These Are, Hands Down, the Best Christmas Songs of All Time

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,” Mariah Carey

The gold standard of Christmas songs, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is capable of putting you in a holiday mood within the first five seconds. You could hear this in the middle of July and not even get mad about it.

2. “Like It’s Christmas,” the Jonas Brothers

This song will be your new fave, trust. “You make every day feel like it’s Christmas.” <3

3. “Make It to Christmas,” Alessia Cara

There are so many new songs to add to your holiday playlist this year, and this is one of the great ones!

4. “Christmas Wrapping,” The Waitresses

The timeless tale of a meet-cute in the checkout line.

5. “A Hand for Mrs. Claus,” Idina Menzel feat. Ariana Grande

An anthem for Mrs. Claus sung by two angels, what else could you want?

6. “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,” NSYNC

It’s physically impossible not to bob your head to this every time it comes on in a Starbucks in December.

7. “Drummer Boy,” Justin Bieber feat. Busta Rhymes

Sorry, every other person who’s recorded this song, but Justin’s take is far and away the greatest version on offer (and the only one that includes a verse where Busta Rhymes sends holiday wishes to his Twitter followers).

8. “Christmas in Harlem,” Kanye West feat. Cyhi the Prince and Teyana Taylor

A modern classic. In 20 years, your kids will hate it as much as you hate it when your dad puts on “Wonderful Christmastime.”

9. “Last Christmas,” Carly Rae Jepsen

The original Wham! version is great too, but it’s just so hard to resist that sax.

10. “All I Want (for Christmas),” Liam Payne

An angelic ballad about making things work through the holidays.

11. “What Christmas Means to Me,” Stevie Wonder

Two and a half minutes of pure holiday joy.

12. “8 Days of Christmas,” Destiny’s Child

Destiny’s Child’s Christmas album, also titled 8 Days of Christmas, is an underrated gem, but this track stands out for its oh-so-2001 list of Christmas wishes: dirty denim jeans, a diamond belly ring, and “a gift certificate to get my favorite CDs.”

13. “Frosty the Snowman,” The Ronettes

Ronnie Spector’s New Yawk accent makes the word “frosty” sound a hundred times cooler.

14. “Santa Tell Me,” Ariana Grande

Ariana asks Santa for something that really matters: an opinion on whether or not a man is worth her time.

15. “Silent Night,” Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

The late Sharon Jones adds soul and swing to a ubiquitous standard.

16. “No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” Perry Como

I literally can’t imagine Christmas without this song.

17. “My Only Wish (This Year),” Britney Spears

It is a travesty that the world has never gotten a full Britney Christmas album. (There’s still time, Britney!)

18. “Here,” Lukas Graham

A beautiful song about the feelings of loss and missing loved ones during the holidays.

19. “Sleigh Ride,” TLC

Only TLC could make a sleigh ride in the freezing cold sound sexy.

20. “Jingle Dem Bells,” RuPaul feat. Big Freedia and Ellis Miah

If only bounce had existed when James Lord Pierpont wrote the original “Jingle Bells.”

21. “Christmastime Is Here,” Vince Guaraldi Trio

Guaranteed to fill humans of all ages with uncontrollable nostalgia.

22. “Everybody Knows the Claus,” Hanson

Snowed In was good, okay? Don’t fight it.

23. “Santa Baby,” Eartha Kitt

What’s the point of Santa if he can’t bring you something extravagant?

24. “Mistletoe,” Ginuwine

Like “Pony” but for the holidays.

25. “I Wish It Was Christmas Today,” 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 one more round of “Winter Wonderland.”

26. “Pretty Paper,” Willie Nelson

Best consumed while tearing open presents you know your mom spent hours perfecting.

27. “Christmas in Hollis,” Run-D.M.C.

One of those times you can say “iconic” and mean it.

28. “Hard Candy Christmas,” Dolly Parton

There’s nothing like a weepy country song to put you in the mood for hanging out with your family.

29. “I’m the Grinch,” Tyler, the Creator

A family-friendly Christmas song in Tyler’s signature style. This is what dreams are made of.

30. “The Christmas Song,” Ella Fitzgerald

You don’t even care that you’ve heard this song a thousand times when Ella Fitzgerald sings it.

31. “Ribbons and Bows,” Kacey Musgraves

Sure, Kacey’s Christmas album only came out last year, but this peppy tune does what every good holiday song should do and gets stuck in your head immediately.

32. “O Holy Night,” Mariah Carey

Yes, there are two Mariah Carey songs on this list, but that’s because Mariah Carey excels at Christmas music. In lesser hands, this song is a melodramatic slog, but Mariah and her backup choir make it a truly religious experience.

33. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” Darlene Love

A song so emotionally effective that you’ll pine for your baby to come home even if he’s sitting right next to you.

34. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Cat Power

A gorgeous, understated interpretation of a holiday radio staple.

35. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Brenda Lee

It’s really the only way to behave around a Christmas tree.

36. “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” the Jackson 5

The jazz hands throw themselves in the air.

37. “Kiss,” Lil Peep

On a first listen, you may not be convinced this is an Xmas song, but let me tell you those jingle bells in the background and the reference to kissing by the tree say otherwise.

38. “Scrooge,” the Muppets

It’s tough to pick just one song from The Muppet Christmas Carol (the greatest Christmas movie of our time, no arguments), but anyone born in the ’80s can tell you this is the one most likely to inspire a drunken sing-along at the annual holiday viewing. Should you get dumped this season, it’ll also double as an excellent breakup song.

39. “To Heck With Ole Santa Claus,” Loretta Lynn

Santa Claus is basically just a home invader who steals food and lets his reindeer poop all over your yard. Loretta Lynn gets it.

40. “Break Up Holiday,” Dude York

Christmas is all fun and games till you have to see your ex at a holiday party.

41. “I Do Not Care for the Winter Sun,” Beach House

It’s only a Christmas song in the sense that the lyrics are about snowflakes and there are jingle bells, but that’s all you really need, right?

42. “This Gift,” 98 Degrees

The gift is sex, right?

43. “Joy to the World,” Earth, Wind & Fire

The most dance-inducing version of this song ever recorded.

44. “Christmas in New York,” Lea Michele

Just one of the many amazing tracks off Lea Michele’s new album Christmas in the City.

45. “Mistletoe,” Justin Bieber

There are too many Bieber Christmas songs, said no one ever.

46. “Bring Me Love,” John Legend

TBH, John Legend’s entire Christmas album, A Legendary Christmas, should be on here.

47. “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” Bruce Springsteen

Aka seven minutes of uninterrupted holiday fun from your dad’s favorite musician of all time.

48. “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late),” Alvin and the Chipmunks

Long before NSYNC, there was Alvin and the Chipmunks—the adorable, animated vocal trio who performed under the guidance of their human, Dave, who kept everyone in line.

49. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” The Temptations

Do you remember the order of the reindeer? Let the Motown group take you way back.

50. “Just Ain’t Christmas,” Ne-Yo

How is Ne-Yo going to make a Christmas breakup song sound so smooth? Ugh.

51. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” Jessica Simpson

So uh…did daddy ever find out that mommy was an adulterer, or?

52. “Jingle Bell Rock,” Daryl Hall and John Oates

You know and love the original version of this song from Mean Girls, but try this ’80s version on for size. You won’t be sorry.

53. “Run Rudolph Run,” Chuck Berry

Excuse me, the father of rock n’ roll would like to stop being excluded from the Christmas conversation.

54. “Yule Shoot Your Eye Out,” Fall Out Boy

Am I gonna be placed on the naughty list for imagining Pete Wentz in a Santa suit? Asking for…a friend.

55. “Please Come Home for Christmas,” Jon Bon Jovi

Forever wishing I looked half as good as Cindy Crawford while decorating a Christmas tree. 🙁

56. “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” Michael Bublé

Can we agree that Michael Bublé is like…the modern king of Christmas? Legit every song on his X-Mas album is just *chef’s kiss*.

57. “Won’t Be Home for Christmas,” Blink-182

Christmas…but make it pop punk.

58. “Christmas Tree Farm,” Taylor Swift

Sorrynotsorry, but this track is infinitely better than her version of “Last Christmas.”

59. “Happy Holiday,” Peggy Lee

As a native New Yorker, I can 100 percent say that I heard this more times than I’d care to admit while working at Macy’s 34th Street during the holiday rush. But does it get old? Neverrrrr.

60. “Step Into Christmas,” Elton John

A criminally underrated Christmas bop, if you ask me! BRB, creating a petition for this Elton classic to be played on alllll the radio stations this year.

61. “Merry Christmas Everyone,” Shakin’ Stevens

What do you get when you combine jingling bells, a campy synthesizer, and the occasional saxophone? A solid ’80s Christmas song, like this one.

62. “Candy Cane Lane,” Sia

The only thing more perfect than a Sia holiday song is the cute little stop motion claymation video she has to go with it. I mean, that snowman eating Christmas lawn decorations is just TOO ADORABLE.

63. “Cozy Little Christmas,” Katy Perry

Legit cannot believe that we had to wait until 2019 to get an official Christmas song from Katy, but God was it worth the wait.

64. “Wonderful Christmastime,” Paul McCartney

A local lite FM classic, this Paul McCartney track is what gets me into the spirit every single year without fail.

65. “Christmas Tree,” Lady Gaga

Yes, Gaga does indeed have a Christmas song. But uh…you might not wanna play it around your fam, if you catch my drift.

66. “Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas,” Carla Thomas

The Queen of Memphis Soul blessed us with this track back in 1963, and TBH…it still slaps all these years later.

67. “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday,” Leona Lewis

When she isn’t “bleeding love,” Leona Lewis is wishing it’s Christmas everyday. Get it? (Please laugh.)

68. “Deck the Halls,” Relient K

You know and love them from “Be My Escape” and “Sadie Hawkins Dance,” right? Now give their Christmas stuff a try and prepare to be transported back to the 2000s!

69. “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” Little Big Town

Is it a Christmas song? Is it a church song? Is it both??? Who’s to say really, but your rotation of X-Mas tunes could use another dash of country regardless.

70. “Man With the Bag,” Jessie J

Admit it: You’ve probably have slept on Jessie J’s music career throughout the 2010s. Make up for that by streaming this classy, quality, party-worthy song during Christmas time when it counts.

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