For decades, music artists of every genre have put pen to paper to tell us one thing: what they want for Christmas. No, it’s not just Mariah Carey, although her most famous Christmas song definitely does that. Christmas music is almost always about what makes people happiest over the festive season.
Some of the tunes can even be melancholy, but then, the artist is telling us what they’re missing at Christmas. Whether that’s being together with loved ones, celebrating Christmas with kids, or having a holiday party, there’s at least one Christmas song covering it.
To make it easy for you, we’ve put together our definitive list of the best Christmas music of all time. All you need to do is click play.
1. Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You (Official Video)
It might not seem like it, but for a while artists recording new Christmas music fell out of favor. But then Mariah Carey came along and breathed life back into the season’s music.
2. Wham! – Last Christmas (Official Video)
It’s difficult to tell whether this Wham! single is an upbeat Christmas song or a downbeat one. Either way it’s so beloved it’s never going away.
3. Glee Cast – Jingle Bell Rock (Official Yule Log – Christmas Songs)
If you’re looking for swinging Christmas music, look no further!
4. John Legend – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Official Video)
John Legend and Esperanza Spalding prove that it’s possible to improve even the most timeless Christmas music classics.
5. Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas (Official Animated Video)
Elvis Presley’s take on this popular Christmas country tune is nothing less than iconic.
6. Luther Vandross – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Luther Vandross’ “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” might be our favorite version of this song.
7. Whitney Houston – One Wish (For Christmas) (Official Video)
Whitney Houston’s vocals are as powerful as ever on this Christmas song from her 2003 release ‘One Wish: The Holiday Album.’
8. Gene Autry with The Pinafores – Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Christmas Songs – Yule Log)
You know this one! The Christmas song named after the reindeer who needs no introduction at all.
9. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Jingle Bell Rock (Daryl’s Version – HD)
Daryl Hall and John Oates released two versions of “Jingle Bell Rock.” Don’t tell John we’ve only included Daryl’s version…
10. Glee Cast – Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Glee Cast Version)
Have we got any Gleeks out there waiting for their take on “Baby It’s Cold Outside?”
11. Pentatonix – Where Are You, Christmas? (Official Video)
Pentatonix put their a cappella spin on this Faith Hill original from the 2000 movie, ‘The Grinch.’
12. Perry Como – It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Official Audio)
While “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” has been covered many times, this version by Perry Como is the most popular, with more than 200 million plays on Spotify.
13. Tony Bennett – Winter Wonderland (Official Audio)
Tony Bennett’s take on this holiday classic is pure Christmas through and through!
14. Alan Jackson – Let It Be Christmas (Official Yule Log – Christmas Songs)
This sweet song has a country spin to remind us why people get together to celebrate Christmas day.
15. Elvis Presley, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Blue Christmas (Official Audio)
Though he never toured in the UK, Elvis Presley’s iconic “Blue Christmas” was teamed with the legendary Royal Philharmonic Orchestra posthumously in 2016.
16. Kelly Clarkson – Underneath the Tree (Audio)
As usual, Kelly Clarkson gives it her all in this Christmas song with lyrics that have a similar theme to Mariah Carey’s classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
17. jacksoul – Can’t Wait Till Christmas (Yule Log Version)
Jacksoul comes through with their unique, soul/R&B take on what Christmas music should sound like. Get ready to sit back and chill with this one.
18. José Feliciano – Feliz Navidad
We don’t think anyone can really say it’s Christmastime unless they’ve heard this song at least five times.
19. Pentatonix – Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Yule Log Audio)
You’ve not really listened to this holiday song unless you’ve heard Pentatonix’s a cappella version.
20. Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (Official Audio)
You better watch out, you better not cry, The Boss is here to tell you why!
21. Andy Williams – Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season (Medley)
Andy Williams really did corner the swingin’ Christmas music market and cemented it with this two-for-one classic.
22. Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (Official Audio)
Being separated from the ones you love may be worse at Christmas than any other time of year. Darlene Love has turned that heartbreak into an all-time Christmas classic that anyone can relate to.
23. Pentatonix – Hallelujah (Official Video)
Technically this isn’t really a Christmas song, but we’re sure glad Pentatonix put it on their Christmas album to give us an extra reason to listen to it.
24. Leona Lewis – One More Sleep (Official Video)
Christmas day is fun, but it’s true that sometimes the night before is just that bit more exciting.
25. Frank Sinatra – Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (78rpm Version) (Audio)
The Sultan of Swoon really knew how to make any kind of song his own, as displayed here.
26. Keshia Chanté – Last Christmas (Yule Log Version)
One of the beautiful things about Christmas music is that so many artists of different genres breathe new life into classics like this one.
27. John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
Not just a Christmas song that’s become a standard, John Lennon wrote this as a protest of the Vietnam War.
28. *NSYNC – Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays (Official HD Video)
Whatever happened to boy bands releasing Christmas albums? Maybe they heard this one from *NSYNC and realized there was no point competing.
29. Platinum Blonde – Father Christmas (Yule Log Version)
Canadian rockers Platinum Blonde’s take on Christmas music literally couldn’t sound any more ‘80s!
30. John Legend – What Christmas Means to Me (Official Audio) ft. Stevie Wonder
It doesn’t matter what your name is, if you’re recording a song with Stevie Wonder, you’re not the only legend in the room.
31. Dean Martin – Silver Bells (Official Audio)
Despite releasing more than 50 albums, Dean Martin’s son wrote in a biography of his father that the album this featured on, ‘The Dean Martin Christmas Album,’ was the only one they would play at home.
32. Chris Brown – This Christmas (Official HD Video)
Chris Brown exhibits exceptional vocals on his version of this Christmas classic.
33. Johnny Mathis – It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (from Home for Christmas)
At first, not a massive hit – this version of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” really took after it was featured in ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.’
34. Pentatonix – O Come, All Ye Faithful (Official Video)
It’s impossible to not get into the groove when you hear Pentatonix’s beatbox/a cappella version of this Christmas carol.
35. Mariah Carey – Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (Official Audio)
Mariah Carey starts this one off with a rendition of “Silent Night” before the sleigh bells start ringing and her inimitable voice breaks through to begin the real song.
36. Britney Spears – My Only Wish (This Year) (Official Audio)
Maybe one of the last modern true classics of the Christmas season, Britney Spears’ “My Only Wish This Year” is definitely one to spin at your Christmas party.
37. John Denver – Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Official Audio)
Whether you’re at the store, in traffic, or just sitting at home, there’s no doubt you’ll hear this upbeat take on Rudolph’s story over the holiday season.
38. Willie Nelson – Frosty the Snowman (Official Audio)
Willie Nelson puts a slight country tinge to this Christmas classic for all your singalong needs.
39. Mariah Carey – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (Official Audio)
Not content to have just sung the original Christmas hit of all modern Christmas hits, Mariah Carey seems to be making it her mission to record covers that blow all other originals out of the water.
40. Holidays Are Coming (Coca-Cola Christmas Campaign) [feat. Camélia Jordana & Namika]
It may be featured in an iconic Coca-Cola Christmas campaign, but the song is a beautiful ballad about togetherness that needs to be heard.
41. Elvis Presley – Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) (Official Audio)
Gene Autry, who originally wrote and performed this Christmas song, had the idea for it after people were calling “Here comes Santa Claus” as he rode his horse in the 1946 Santa Claus Lane Parade in Los Angeles.
42. Pentatonix – Mary, Did You Know? (Official Video)
This Pentatonix version of “Mary, Did You Know?” is one of literally hundreds of covers since the original song’s release in 1991.
43. Tamar Braxton – Sleigh Ride (Official Audio)
“Sleigh Ride” featured as the first song on Tamar Braxton’s 2013 Christmas album, ‘Winter Loversland.’
44. Fifth Harmony – All I Want for Christmas Is You (Official Video)
If we’re being honest, all we want for Christmas is for Fifth Harmony to get back together – maybe that could be our Christmas miracle!
45. John Legend – Bring Me Love (Official Audio)
John Legend brings his own brand of funk and R&B to Christmas music with his song about longing for a loved one for Christmas. Hopefully Santa brought him want he wanted.
46. Tyler, The Creator – LIGHTS ON featuring Santigold and Ryan Beatty
If you’d told early Odd Future fans that Tyler, The Creator would be releasing this kind of laid back, upbeat, PG Christmas song, they’d never have believed you. Like so many classic Christmas songs, Tyler and co. just want to make sure they’re home for Christmas.
47. John Legend – Merry Christmas Baby / Give Love on Christmas Day (Official Audio)
The only thing better than one John Legend Christmas song is a John Legend Christmas medley.
48. Mariah Carey – Miss You Most (At Christmas Time) (Official Video)
This song’s title and lyrics make a lot more sense when you realize it follows other songs on Mariah Carey’s ‘Merry Christmas’ album like “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
49. The Crystals – Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers (Official Audio)
This song has become a Christmas music standard covered by everyone from The Crystals to Harry Connick, Jr.
50. Kelly Clarkson – My Favorite Things (Kelly’s ‘Wrapped in Red’ Yule Log Series)
Originally from the musical ‘The Sound Of Music,’ this song has become a Christmas hit despite never mentioning Christmas.