Although the lyrics of Christmas songs might suggest that the festive season is the most wonderful time of the year (and it certainly can be), it’s often the most chaotic because there’s so much to accomplish between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. There are family gatherings to attend, events to plan, and gifts to buy — and that’s not even half of it.
This year, keep your Christmas fresh by listening to a playlist full of the best Christmas songs while checking everything off your holiday to-do list.
After all, everything sounds more fun and festive when you listen to Mariah Carey sing the big note at the end of “All I Want for Christmas is You” or Jimmy Durante sing the timeless tale of “Frosty the Snowman.”
Since there are so many traditional songs and new releases to browse, we turned to the Billboard Holiday 100 chart (which ranks singles based on streams, radio airplay, and sales) to compile a list. of the most popular Christmas songs of all time.
You might be surprised at which classics make the cut — and which ones didn’t, including the waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping,” which we’re completely bah, pranksters on.
Read on to see how your favorites stack up.
“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 over 10 million units, making it one of only 85 songs to achieve Diamond certification.
‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ by Brenda Lee
We challenge you to find just one person who doesn’t love this holiday classic. And if they need to be reminded of its magic, just show them the iconic scene from “Home Alone” where the song plays in the background as Kevin celebrates with mannequins and cardboard cutouts.
‘Jingle Bell Rock’ by Bobby Helms
What a bright moment, it’s a good time to rock out to Bobby Helms’ 1957 Christmas song, “Jingle Bell Rock.”
“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 over the years.
‘Have a Holly Jolly Christmas’ by Burl Ives
We don’t know if there will be snow, but one thing is for sure: “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” is full of Christmas cheer.
Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano
José Feliciano wants to wish everyone Feliz Navidad, or a very Merry Christmas, in this song 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 the year. Even so, it’s impossible not to sing along to this infectious Andy Williams tune.
“Last Christmas” from Wham!
George Michael of Wham! wrote, produced and recorded all the instruments and vocals for this 1984 treasure, then donated the proceeds to Ethiopian famine victims.
Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”
Even 80 years after its release, this Bing Crosby favorite continues to top the charts. According to Guinness World Records, it has sold over 100 million records worldwide, 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 can be dreadful, but at least this Dean Martin tune will give you the warm fuzzies (or, you know, make you dream 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 lights around the world – and for good reason.
‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ by Gene Autry
Much like good old Rudolph himself, this 1949 tune goes down in history as one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time.
‘Mary did you know?’ by Pentatonix
This solemn cover of the Pentatonix is a masterful blend of vocals and celebration of Christmas Day.
“It’s Starting 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, there’s no doubt that Christmas is here. At least according to this holiday classic.
Ronettes ‘Sleigh Ride’
This version of “Sleigh Ride” is by far the most popular and we’re ringing-a-ling-a ding-dong-ding-ing with it!
“Merry Christmas (The War Is Over)” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono
We can’t help but cry a little every time we hear John and Yoko sing with the Harlem Community Choir. It’s truly timeless.
“The Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber
You’re sure to find us playing in the winter snow at Christmas, but not Justin Bieber. He will rather wait under the mistletoe for his “fly”.
“Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley
“Blue Christmas” clearly makes many of us happy to feel sad: it’s the fourth most-streamed Elvis song on Spotify.
“Christmas Canon” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra gives Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” a makeover in this fiery version with a full chorus and new lyrics.
“Wonderful Christmas” by Paul McCartney
Charming and British, Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” is just what every Christmas party playlist needs to lift the spirits.
“Santa Claus, Tell Me” by Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande wants Santa to know she doesn’t want to fall in love again if her boyfriend doesn’t stick around until next year. We hear you, Ariana, and totally plan to ask for gift cards.
“You’re Mean, Mr. Grinch” by Thurl Ravensroft
All the Whos of Whoville better watch out for the Grinch because he’s a villain who plans to steal their Christmas cheer. Spoiler: He becomes a hero at the end.
‘Happy Holidays / 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 say it.
“Under the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson
Christmas was cold and gray before the release in 2013 of this toe tapping by Kelly Clarkson. The song’s message is just as powerful as its voice, reminding us all that the only gift worth loving 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 the sleigh full of toys for good boys and girls) in this 1947 song.
Hallelujah by Pentatonix
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” gets the acapella treatment in this jaw-dropping cover of the 1984 song.
“Please Come Home For Christmas” by Eagles
The Eagles had us singing the blues on “Please Come Home for Christmas,” but we can’t even be mad about it because it’s such a catchy track.
“Christmas Has Arrived” by Vince Guaraldi Trio
The “A Charlie Brown Christmas” theme is guaranteed to make you feel more than 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 piece 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 famine victims in Ethiopia.
‘Santa Baby’ by Eartha Kitt
We love Eartha Kitt’s sassy take on Santa Baby…and 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 upbeat piano track (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” was given a movie update in 2000, its theme song did the same. Faith Hill launches “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.
Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix
Pentatonix’s version of “Little Drummer Boy” became an instant classic. In other words, we’ve been listening to it since its release in 2013.
Beach Boys’ ‘Little Saint Nick’
Dream of sunnier days as you listen to this original 1963 Beach Boys holiday song.
“Jingle Bells” by Frank Sinatra
It’s not officially Christmas until Ol’ Blue Eyes sing this version of “Jingle Bells” and ring everyone’s bobtails!
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 voice totally own “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, a holiday tune that implores her baby to please, pleasejust go 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, just like in the animated feature of the same name, Jimmy Durante’s song is also the magic of Christmas.
‘Do you want to build a snowman?’ by Kristin Bell, Agatha Lee Monn and Katie Lopez
Anyone who’s seen “Frozen (so, everyone?) knows this lovely call for companionship.
‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ by Frank Sinatra
Good luck finding someone who didn’t cover that Christmas song. Everyone from Judy Garland to Kelly Clarkson has a version of this song, but Frank Sinatra’s is the one on Billboard’s Top 100 list.
Merry Christmas Darling by Carpenters
Karen Carpenter’s rich, warm voice invites us to share a Christmas with that special someone in this song.
“This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway
Donny Hathaway sets the stage for a very special Christmas, starting with the hanging everything the mistletoe.
‘Sleigh Ride’ by Leroy Anderson
Even though we promised no duplicates, the Ronettes’ version of “Sleigh Ride” sounds totally different from this instrumental recording. For this reason, we are 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 new song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” has remained popular since its release in 1953.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé
Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé refresh this old man on a duet which jokes while saying good evening with more family lyrics.
“I Saw Mommy Kiss Santa” by Jackson 5
A young Michael Jackson and his brothers put a Motown twist on this holiday favorite.
“Deck the Halls” by Nat King Cole
It’s the season to be merry and this song is just what you need on your playlist for fa, la, la, la all season long.
‘O Tannenbaum’ by Vince Guaraldi Trio
You can practically feel the snowflakes falling and hear the fire crackling in this jazzy version of “O Tannenbaum” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
‘Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays’ by ‘N Sync
N Sync pretty much sums up the spirit of the season in this sweet ballad, which reminds everyone that it’s time to celebrate and put worries aside.