Top 10 Christmas Songs


Naming the top 10 Christmas songs can be challenging as the criteria for the selection can vary. One good way to determine which songs to put in this category is to list the most popular songs of the season.  Some people will want only Christian-themed songs on such a listing while others would include any music that is appropriate during the festive season.

My Top 10 Christmas Songs Selection 

Since many churches have some kind of Christmas celebration or fellowship not in the sanctuary on Sunday, I’ve found that including a few secular top 10 Christmas songs with regular Christmas hymns is a great way to enliven the party.

These top 10 Christmas songs are popular during the yuletide season in many countries across the globe.


White Christmas

Credit for this goes to Irving Berlin but Bing Crosby made it popular. So enduring is this 1941 hit that it remains the best-selling single to this day. The lyrics start with:

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
 Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree-tops glisten and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

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Jingle Bells

This was first a Thanksgiving song by James Lord Pierpont, but quickly became a Christmas favorite. The exact origins of the song remain murky, but most sources suggest that he wrote it in 1850 under the title One Horse Open Sleigh. Everyone knows the chorus to this one:

Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way.
Oh! what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh.


Silent Night

This worldwide favorite is the brainchild of two Austrians, Jospeh Mohr, a priest, and Franz Xaver Gruber, a teacher and church organist. In 1818, Mohr wrote the lyrics, before asking Gruber to create a melody for the song for them to perform during together during mass on Christmas Eve. This almost always makes a top ten Christmas songs list.

Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in Heavenly peace
Sleep in Heavenly peace


Joy to the World

Hymn composer Isaac Watts’s inspiration for this song was a Psalm. This early 1990s song was not a Yuletide melody, but to signify the second coming of Jesus. For this reason some of the Watts’ original lyrics are not in the version we know today.

Joy to the world
The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heav'n and nature sing
And heav'n and nature sing
And heav'n and heav'n and nature sing!


Deck the Halls

This song dates back to the late 1800s, and uses the melody for a Welsh New Year’s eve carol. Thomas Oliphant, a Scottish musician is responsible for the lyrics we know today by changing the words in the original song to:

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la la la la la.

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Oh Come All Ye Faithful

The translation of this popular 13th Century song, Adeste Fideles from Latin to English is thanks to a Catholic priest, Frederick Oakeley Everyone knows these ending verses to all the stanzas:

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord


The Twelve Days of Christmas

Popular among adults and children alike, this song originated in England in 1780. The entertaining lyrics continue to entertain through the years:

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree


O Holy Night

A French poem was the inspiration for this holiday classic. Composed by Adolphe Adam, it has won the hearts of generations, and many popular singers have released their own versions over the years. The simple chorus is well known:

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
Oh night divine, Oh night when Christ was born;


Away in a Manger

Some sources state that Martin Luther was the responsible for penning the lyrics. Other sources claim that the writer of the first two stanzas is anonymous, but credits John T. McFarlane as the writer for the third verse which he did in 1904. In 1885 it was put in witting in a Lutheran Sunday school publication. Just about everyone knows the first verse:

Away in a manger
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down His sweet head


We Wish You a Merry Christmas

This English song originated in the sixteenth century and captures the spirit of the custom of sharing with the less fortunate at Christmastime. It is also notable for the fact that it directly refers to the New Year, one of the few Yuletide songs to do so. The first catchy lines are:

We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year.
Glad tidings we bring
To you and your kin;
Glad tidings for Christmas
And a happy New Year!

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Of course, not everyone will agree that all of those in the above list deserve to be in a top 10 Christmas songs list for a church. However, since a Christmas party held in the fellowship hall is a great way to invite non-churched family members to celebrate the season, including secular favorites with a few religious Christmas songs will make everyone feel at home.

It would be hard to have a top 10 Christmas songs list that does not contain mostly older music, but quite a few from modern times could easily make such a top 10 Christmas songs list.

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