Christmas is three days away, and that means that the socially acceptable time period to listen to Christmas music is rapidly dwindling away. I’m here to help you make the most of the time you have left to unashamedly and unabashedly blast Christmas carols from every corner of the house. So I present to you a list of 25 songs to listen to before the holiday season ends, complete with my favorite versions of said songs. Whether you like mellow classics or jubilant new releases, you’re sure to find something here that suits your fancy. Just click on the blue highlighted song/artist names, and you’ll be taken directly to Youtube to listen. Grab some hot chocolate, sit by the Christmas tree, and unapologetically play these holiday songs ’til the season ends.
- The First Noel by Tobymac ft. Owl City – This song is great as a classic, but Tobymac’s hip-hop style and Adam Young’s techno vocals just knock this remix out of the park. It’s a bit unconventional, what with Toby’s rapping and all, but the charm is unavoidable.
- I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day by Casting Crowns – You say “Christmas”, and I hear this song. It’s just always been something I love hearing around Christmastime, and the song itself is beautiful. I’ve never listened to anyone sing this, and I probably never will.
- Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix – Not only is Pentatonix an a cappella group, which is awesome, but their arrangement utilizes all of their unique voices and talents while still maintaining the original integrity of the song. It’s not too far from the original song, but yet it’s still modernized, in a way.
- O Holy Night by Danny Gokey – Danny Gokey’s voice is easily distinguishable due to its sound and texture, and it’s so pretty. I’m excited to have discovered his music, and his version of O Holy Night is pretty much flawless.
- Jesus, Savior by Chris August – Another recognizable voice and sound, Chris August’s original song Jesus, Savior is bouncy, catchy, and super fun to sing when you’re home alone…or when you’re out in public…any time, really.
- How Many Kings by Downhere – This is one of my most favorite Christmas songs. Both the music and the message are powerful, and may I add, the harmonies in the chorus are wonderful. I can’t even put into words all that I love about this song.
- Jesus Is Alive by Josh Wilson – Josh Wilson happily proclaiming that “Jesus is alive” gets me into such a joyful mood. He IS alive! Sing it out proudly! Go tell everyone you know!
- Mary, Did You Know? by Pentatonix – You’ll find that Pentatonix steals several spots on this list. They’re so talented (they won “The Sing-Off” for a reason, after all). I just really like how they orchestrate this arrangement. Also Mitch’s sweeping vocals.
- Just A Girl by Brandon Heath – We don’t really think much about the innkeepers of Bethlehem, but Brandon Heath decides to take a journey back in time to see what it might have been like to be the person who turned away the mother of the son of God that holy night in Israel. The song has a nice pace, and Brandon’s vocals are perfect for it.
- You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch by Boris Karloff – This song is everything: fun to sing, fun to listen to, and fun as you try to achieve the impossible feat of getting your voice deep enough to match Karloff’s. A Christmas classic? Definitely.
- O Come O Come Emmanuel by Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp, and Aaron Shust – I actually have three favorite versions of this song! I’ve always loved this song, and it’s one of the few that I won’t allow to be extremely altered. Jeremy Camp and Aaron Shust do speed the song up a little, but they both do so well that I overlook that. Additionally, I adore the verses in Latin at the beginning of Shust’s version. However, the instrumental version from Casting Crowns might possible be my favorite ever. The violin adds such a beautiful, dramatic effect to the overall song and story.
- Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi – You may not know the artist at first, but take a listen and you’ll immediately recognize the iconic piano song from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. Can it get any more Christmas than this?
- Our Lullaby by MercyMe – The band themselves described this song as a “weird mix of Elvis and Beach Boys”, but I think the sweet, soulful melody is perfect just the way it is. It does have sort of an older feel to it, but that makes it even better.
- O Come All Ye Faithful by Third Day and Casting Crowns – It’s sort of amusing that my two favorite versions of this song are complete opposites. Third Day ops for an electric guitar, quickened, rock approach, while Casting Crowns sticks with an acousic guitar and a slower pace. Regardless of their differences, I love both.
- Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives – Bouncy and best sung by Burl Ives, nothing can make this Christmas classic any better than it already is.
- Baby Boy by For KING & COUNTRY – For KING & COUNTRY achieve the most gorgeous harmonies, and there’s no short of those in this song. It’s got a great sound, amazing voices, and well-written lyrics. I may or may not play this over and over because I love it so much.
- Sleigh Ride by Amy Grant – I’ve always loved this version the best, but I only found out yesterday that Amy Grant is the one who sings it. I feel she does it really well, and hearing this version makes me feel all Christmassy.
- Deck The Halls by Tenth Avenue North – Tenth Avenue North is my favorite band, and for good reasons, too. They’re not only insanely talented, but they have a great sense of humor. If you do anything today, watch their video of Deck The Halls. It’s ridiculous and hilarious and I promise you won’t regret it.
- Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer by Burl Ives – Anyone can tell you that I’m obsessed with Rudolph. I love the movie, and I love this song. Of course, it’s only acceptable if Burl Ives is singing it.
- We Three Kings by Tenth Avenue North ft. Britt Nicole – This song doesn’t seem to be as popular as some others at Christmastime, but Tenth Avenue gives it new life with help from Britt Nicole.
- Put One Foot In Front Of The Other by Mickey Rooney and Keenan Wynn – From the Christmas classic movie “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, this is a potentially overlooked song, but it’s my favorite! I’m so happy when this song comes up in the movie, and I almost always sing along to it. It promotes goodness and kindness, and it’s so. Catchy.
- God Is With Us by Casting Crowns – I have memories of driving home from church on Christmas Eve with this playing, and it’s such a beautiful song. It gives me a special feeling that I just can’t explain.
- Carol Of The Bells by Pentatonix – And here Pentatonix makes one last appearance. This song is so fun to begin, but Pentatonix gives it a great new sound. Mitch also gets most of the solos, which makes my heart happy. Is there any Pentatonix song that isn’t completely awesome?
- God With Us by Jeremy Camp – Not to be confused with Casting Crown’s song of a similar name, Jeremy Camp’s original song rocks the acoustic sound as well as a good tune. It definitely has a cabin-campfire-snow feeling to it, if that makes any sense.
- Camoflauge and Christmas Lights by Reed Robertson – The eldest son of one of the stars on the hit show Duck Dynasty, Reed Robertson has such a beautiful voice that I fell in love with at first listen. His solo song on the Christmas album recognizes the sacrifices our military go through during the holidays. I love this version because of his amazing voice and his alteration of a few lyrics in order to make it clean. Although Reed does not yet have a CD out yet (and I am unsure if he is planning to), I am ready to buy one the moment he does.
I think you’re all set to get to some holiday listening! So, what are you waiting for? Merry Christmas, and have a Happy New Year!
It’s your turn! What are some of your favorite Christmas songs and your favorite versions? Do tell!