By: Aaron Siebert
I’m making a list, I’m checking it twice (or more), and I’m gonna find out which Christmas songs are overrated or nice. Ok, that’s a lie. I’m not gonna “find” anything out, because I already know the top 25 best Christmas songs objectively. This is the “definitive” list.
As a matter of fact, I’ve been lying to everybody for years now. Everybody knows me as Aaron Siebert, a standard senior dude who moved here from Kansas in the 8th Grade, but I’m afraid this isn’t true. In fact, I moved here from The North Pole. I was kicked out for being the only six foot five elf, but they were too late, I had already learned all of Saint Nick’s secrets.
One of these secrets is finally being released right here right now. So grab your hot chocolate and read this article quickly before Rudolph breaks open my door and takes it down. It’s time for the top 25 Christmas songs of all time coming directly from Santa’s spotify “wrapped” (wrapped, heh, like Christmas wrapping, keep reading for more hilarious jokes such as these).
Ok, so 25 is a big number and nobody wants to read all of that, so let me speed through the first 15 songs. This is no dishonor to these songs though; in a world with thousands of Christmas songs the top 25 is no small feat.
25. “Little Saint Nick” – The Beach Boys. This song is great, but the lyrics feel too beachy for a Christmas song. Who would’ve expected from a band called the “Beach Boys?”
24. “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” – Michael Buble. This is the part where I add a disclaimer. A lot of these songs have been covered by a lot of different artists, so I will be considering each different artist’s version a different song. That being said, Michael Buble’s voice works best for this, again, objectively.
23. “The 12 Days of Christmas” – Straight No Chaser. I do not like the original version of this song, but this is a hilarious take on it. Unfortunately it is acapella so it’s not perfect.
22. “Happy Xmas (War is Over) / Wonderful Christmastime” – John Lennon / Paul McCartney. The first song is almost good enough to make me forget Yoko Ono is involved. But I always listen to both of these together so they share this spot, they make me feel like I’m getting a Beatles Christmas album.
21. “Elf’s Lament” – Barenaked Ladies [feat. Michael Buble]. Not even 5 songs in and Michael Buble has made a second appearance. This song is about Elves forming a union and suing Santa, so that should be enough to sell it.
20. “Last Christmas” – Wham! Don’t shoot me, but…this song is kinda overrated. Now it’s still really good, don’t get me wrong. But it lacks traditional Christmas instruments and goes on way too long. Still, George Michael does great.
19. “Peace on Earth / The Little Drummer boy” – Bing Crosby & David Bowie. You get to hear Bing Crosby and David Bowie harmonize. That’s it.
18. “Jingle Bells” – Frank Sinatra. There are way too many versions of this song, but the backup singers add an extra element to this song.
17. “Silver Bells” – Bing Crosby [feat. Carol Richards]. This sounds like two grandparents singing to you in the best possible way.
16. “Jingle Bell Rock” – Bobby Helms. Alright all the “bell songs” are out of the way. Let’s move on.
15. “Feliz Navidad” – Jose Feliciano. There’s no greater joy than completely jamming out to the parts of this song when they sing “Feliz Navidad” and “I wanna wish you a merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart,” then completely butchering the rest of the song’s spanish parts.
14. “Blue Christmas” – Elvis Presley. This makes me feel like I’m in Hawaii and the North Pole at the same time somehow.
13. “All I Want for Christmas is You” – Mariah Carey. I know this song is overplayed by everyone, but let’s be honest, there’s a reason it’s on constantly. It may be the bane of mall employees, but I’m a mere mall shopper so I can still enjoy it.
12. “The Christmas Song” – Nat King Cole. The vocal embodiment of a warm blanket during a snowstorm.
11. “Underneath the Tree” – Kelly Clarkson. Absolute banger, it was an inch away from making the top 10. Or at least that’s what Santa said.
Alright let’s get to the big ones.
Before I start, I would just like to remind everyone that this is objectively correct and cannot be debated.
“Run Rudolph Run” – Chuck Berry
This song is great. If you want some genuinely great music above all else this is the perfect Christmas song for you. Chuck Berry was a master of the guitar and you can feel his energy all throughout the song’s fast paced runtime. It’s an ideal Christmas driving song and one you can’t stay still while listening to. It also left a permanent impression on me after it’s use in Home Alone.
“We Need a Little Christmas” – Johnny Mathis.
No song is a better way to ring in the Holiday season than this classic by Johnny Mathis. His voice is the perfect melodramatic take on the famous Christmas spirit taking over. The orchestral backing in this song is also on-point at all times. It’s one I know all the words to and plan on listening to right after finishing this article. My only issue with it is the fact it’s not long enough.
“Believe” – Josh Groban (The Polar Express)
I was gonna steal the list of the best Christmas movies, but what would be the use? We all know the top spot belongs to The Polar Express. But I’m not here to sing the praises of the movie, I’m here to sing the praises of it’s singing. Now, the entire soundtrack is perfect, but the original song by Josh Groban is the show stealer. His voice matches the grandiose vibe of the song and the music itself sounds like an angelic church band. We’re all gonna have this masterpiece to hear when the end credits to The Polar Express start scrolling.
“O Tannenbaum” – Vince Guaraldi Trio (A Charlie Brown Christmas)
There’s something about The Charlie Brown Christmas special, something that keeps drawing us back. It’s small, but with an enormous personality. This could also be said for it’s Jazzy take on a Christmas classic “O Tannenbaum.” It doesn’t need lyrics and it doesn’t even demand attention. It’s the ideal background music for any Christmas gathering. But for those who do pay attention, they will be rewarded with a humble arrangement of beautiful jazz that makes you wish the holiday never ended.
“A Holly Jolly Christmas” – Burl Ives
I don’t think Burl Ives needs an introduction. His voice is synonymous with the holiday on the same level as fruit cake and annoying cousins, but his voice is actually something we all look forward to. This song sounds like everyone’s favorite Grandpa with a talent for singing. As he sings you can somehow hear the big smile on his face. It’s a comforting song that nobody skips when it starts playing, and for good reason.
“Christmas Wrapping” – The Waitresses
There is nothing wrong with this song. I don’t even need to say anything else but I will. Knowing every word to Christmas Wrapping is a badge of honor and turning it off once it starts is a mortal sin. I don’t know how the singer manages to sound both passionate and uninterested at the same time. I wish I could accurately describe the emotion it brings me but I really can’t, you just need to listen to it right now.
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Andy Williams
I wish I was as dedicated to anything as Andy Williams is to singing this song. Every lyric is treated as the best piece of music ever written by the man and it comes through in the best way possible. Hearing the bombastic intro and his booming voice is the ideal way to start your day every morning in december. There’s no other word to describe the feeling this song brings me other than “joy.” I know you’ve already heard it, but do yourself a favor and play it again.
“What Christmas Means to Me.” – John Legend
I was conflicted at first, as in the grand scheme of things this is a very new song. Not only that, but it’s not even the original. But with great respect to the original by Stevie Wonder, I think this is the perfect version of this type of Christmas song. It’s not trying to be super respectful or deep, and it’s certainly not “epic” in any sense of the word. But it’s more of one thing than any other song on this list: fun. John Legend is loving life in this, the saxophone player is able to show off, and the chord change comes at just the right moment. If I’m being honest, I’m listening to it right now.
“Carol of the Bells” – William Joseph
Speaking of “epic,” this might be the most epic song of all time, let alone Christmas. But I know how many versions of this song have existed since Mykola Leontovych first wrote it in 1914, but I’m specifically talking about the William Joseph version. The continuous bells are done better here than anywhere else, and every member of the orchestra is playing like their life depends on it. But it doesn’t forget to be a Christmas piece, as the second half of the song becomes a triumphant melody of softer notes with a bell arrangement that could only be for one time of the year.
“Do You Hear What I Hear?” – Bing Crosby
This song isn’t big, in fact it’s the opposite. It’s not fast, instead it takes it’s time. It’s not played at every mall in America 24/7. But, no other song captures the true essence of Christmas like Bing Crosby’s perfect “Do You Hear What I Hear?” His voice is larger than life, but soft at the same time. The background vocals are heavenly. There is something about the song that feels more humble than any other, but it still feels like it’s a part of something larger than life. The seemingly contradictory elements of the song that work harmoniously are what earns it this top spot on the list.
Well, that’s what Santa says at least, but I’d say his word on this topic is law. So next time you’re arguing the better Christmas song with your friend just know that this list is here for any fact checking.