Love them or hate them, Christmas songs are unavoidable at this time of year. Blaring from speakers everywhere, they bring back memories of Christmases past and possibly serve as a constant reminder of how late you are with your holiday preparations. They can drive you crazy, but they can also cause your brain to go into “pleasure overload” if you really like a song; music we enjoy activates our reward system. So if holiday music really can make us happy, which are the consensus best Christmas songs according to the experts? And which Christmas song is the best of all time?
Just like Christmas movies, there are so many great holiday hits to choose from. In fact, we recently learned that “It’s A Wonderful Life” is the best Christmas movie of all-time, according to expert reviews. Yet when it comes to viewers’ favorites, one survey reports that “A Christmas Story” ranks as the top holiday film. Certainly, it’s hard to say that there truly is one best classic from all the iconic titles over the years.
Interestingly, though the iconic Andy Williams’ tune “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” celebrates the festive feeling and holiday cheer in the air, a 2019 survey shows the opposite. According to a survey of 2,000 Americans, the holidays are also the most stressful time of the year. In fact, 59% of respondents describe the holiday season as “chaotic.” Perhaps that’s why this song somehow didn’t make the list of top five best Christmas songs.
Well, here’s hoping that your favorite Christmas song is merry and bright! Christmas can be tough on singles, but it’s a great opportunity to spend time and bond with loved ones. After all, enjoying time with friends and family is what the holidays are all about. Keep that in mind before you lose sleep over buying too many expensive gifts.
So instead of hours of Christmas shopping, may we suggest you make some time to relax and listening to some good Christmas songs that are surely playing non-stop on a a local radio station near you. Now, you came here wondering which songs are beloved the most by the “experts.” Study Finds reviewed 10 “best of” lists by leading pop culture sites to find the very best songs for you to put on your playlist. Are you surprised by the results? Did your favorite make the list? Tell us in the comments below the post.
The List: The 5 Best Christmas Songs of All Time, Compiled from Expert Websites
5. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You), Nat King Cole (1946)
Our number five is in the Grammy Hall of Fame and probably the coziest song on the list. It’s so warm and fuzzy that it’s hard to believe that “Bob Wells and Mel Tormé wrote this song in 1945 during a blistering hot summer […] in an effort to ‘stay cool by thinking cool,'” notes Smooth Radio.
The Christmas Song is an “instant Christmas nostalgia hit,” says For The Win. It’s a shoo-in for the list because it “wraps listeners up in a thick wool blanket as they sit fireside roasting chestnuts […] It perfectly encapsulates the best of Christmas music with its sense of homey familiarity and cozy warmth,” writes Billboard.
4. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, by Brenda Lee (1958)
Like our number two on this list, Rockin’ wasn’t an immediate hit, believe it or not. “Rock ‘n’ roll was still a new genre in 1958, which made the notion of rockin’ around that old tree fairly inventive,” explains Today, and maybe too unheard of for a hit.
People had to get used to it first, but eventually, the “easy-on-the-ear rock ’n’ roll tune” (TimeOut) caught on.
“It was magic, and I think we all knew it,” Lee explains to Glamour. “It took a few years to take off, but once it did, it really did.”
3. White Christmas, by Bing Crosby (1942)
Number three on our list is a record-breaking record with historical significance. “Bing Crosby’s classic hit about a picturesque Christmas scene is one of the most popular holiday songs ever — the Guinness World Records even named it the best-selling single of all time,” Good Housekeeping writes.
White Christmas was written by Irving Berlin in the early 1940s and featured in the 1942 musical film Holiday Inn (which, unlike the song, hasn’t aged well), making it the oldest song on our list.
”Probably the most iconic Christmas song of them all,” says For The Win, White Christmas “provided solace to overseas U.S. troops during World War II. In other words, it’s not just an exemplar of Christmas music, but of America at its best,” adds Billboard.
2. Last Christmas, by Wham! (1984)
Apparently, the very best Christmas songs need romance; failed romance will do just fine. Girl returns boy’s unwanted Christmas gift, boy tops charts – but only decades later: “Fun fact: Released in 1984, [Last Christmas] didn’t top the charts until 2017,” shares Country Living.
Nevertheless, it’s in the top three of most of our consulted lists now, and for good reason: “George [Michael of Wham!] had performed musical alchemy, distilling the essence of Christmas into music. Adding a lyric which told the tale of betrayed love was a masterstroke and, as he did so often, he touched hearts,” Glamour quotes Michael’s bandmate Andrew Ridgeley (he may be a little biased, though), as saying
1. All I Want for Chrismas Is You, by Mariah Carey (1994)
And finally, the best of the best! OK, perhaps not much of a surprise after all, but certainly a controversial list-topper for the old school folks. Carey’s holiday hit is an “inescapable ear worm,” says TimeOut.
But that’s not a bad thing, because the song embodies what really matters at this time of year – spoiler, it’s love, not presents. The song “has charted every holiday season since its original release,” in 1994 notes Today – that’s 28 years in a row!
It’s “one of the best-selling Christmas songs ever (Glamour)” and a solid first on seven out of the 10 consulted lists (and a second or third on the three remaining lists). Mariah, all we want each Christmas is you!
- Rolling Stone
- Smooth Radio
- Country Living
- Good Housekeeping
- For The Win
You might also be interested in:
- Best Christmas Movies
- Best Fake Christmas Trees
- Best Headphones
- Best Surround Sound System
- Best Earbuds
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.