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The Best Christmas Pop Songs of All Time

Decorative trees, gift-giving, all out brawls at the dinner table—sound familiar? But who could forget another iconic tradition associated with this celebratory time of year: Christmas music. Not only does a great Christmas pop song set the mood, it also makes you excited about the holiday season, even if it entails a six-hour flight, a crowded airport, or staying at home on your own on the 25th (which, in pandemic times, is likely more common than ever).

From classics songs by ’80s pop duo Wham! to the extremely overplayed but still very enjoyable ones by Mariah Carey, Christmas pop is a subgenre on its own and a damn good one at that. Below, 24 of the best Christmas pop songs ever to get you in the holiday spirit. (Our gift to you.)

1

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey

It’s been 26 years since this legendary song debuted on the airwaves. Still, it remains a classic to this day (and a chart-topper every December). If this doesn’t get you in the seasonal spirit, check your pulse now.

Stream it here

2

“Snow in California” by Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande’s Christmas songs are, rather inexplicably, one of the best parts of her discography. This standout single from her 2013 EP. “Christmas Kisses,” is the gift that keeps on giving.

Stream it here

3

“Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande

Another iconic Christmas classic by Ariana Grande that isn’t overtly sentimental, if you tend to fall into the camp that hates weepy holiday music.

Stream it here

4

“Last Christmas” by Wham!

This tune about holiday heartbreak has been covered by many, but nothing can beat the OG song. It might only be October but this song can make you feel like it’s snowing outside.

Stream it here

5

“Happy Xmas (War is Over) by Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson ft. Sean Ono Lennon

Cyrus, accompanied by Ono Lennon, covers this Christmas classic that also doubles as a protest song, originally performed by Lennon’s parents. With themes revolving around peace and harmony, there’s never been a more fitting song to close out 2020.

Stream it here

6

“Winter Song” by Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles

Sometimes, you do need a good cry this time of year. (No judgment.) Let this quiet, but beautifully sung holiday tune be your soundtrack.

Stream it here

7

“Ho Ho Ho” by Sia

If you couldn’t tell by now, most Christmas songs fall into two camps: the sad and the cheesy. But this track of Sia’s 2018 Christmas album is actually just plain fun and probably the song you need in this exact moment.

Stream it here

8

“Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber

Let this 2011 Christmas hit transport you to a time where you didn’t have to stand six feet apart from your holiday crush (and a time when Bieber’s bangs were all the rage).

Stream it here

9

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by John Legend and Kelly Clarkson

Two powerhouse singers and Voice coaches crooning a classic, sans the creepy lyrics. (“It’s your body and your choice.”) We stan.

Stream it here

10

“Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt

This classic song by Eartha Kitt has been often imitated, but never duplicated. It’s Eartha Kitt, after all.

Stream it here

11

“Christmas in Harlem” by Kanye West ft. Teyana Taylor and Cyhi the Prince

It’s not quite a pop song, but this 2010 song by West is an underrated holiday hit.

Stream it here

12

“Blackout Christmas” by Vérité

Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Vérité delivers one hell of a Christmas tune with lyrics about accidentally getting too drunk on the special day to get over heartbreak.

Stream it here

13

“8 Days of Christmas” by Destiny’s Child

The trio’s take on “12 Days of Christmas” is simply superior to the original. Who the hells wants a bird in a tree when you can have diamond jewelry, sings Beyonce?

Stream it here

14

“Christmas Makes Me Cry” by Kacey Musgraves

The pop-country queen wrote this masterpiece that perfectly encapsulates the holiday blues. Who needs joy and holiday cheer when you can sulk for the entirety of December?

Stream it here

15

“Christmases When You Were Mine” by Taylor Swift

This song about being alone during the holidays has never been more fitting for 2020. And while you’re at it, might as well stream the entirety of Swift’s Folklore, a perfect album for sorting through those holiday blues.

Stream it here

16

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Sam Smith

Smith’s 2014 cover of the classic Christmas gets us every time. Their velvety vocals elicit an emotion that can only be drawn out by the voice of a real-life angel.

Stream it here

17

“Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson

Clarkson’s original Christmas song reminds us of the true importance of the holidays: gifts. (And love and stuff.)

Stream it here

18

“This Christmas” by Christina Aguilera

If there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that Christina will always deliver powerful vocals, particularly in one of the most iconic Christmas songs of them all.

Stream it here

19

“Snowflakes of Love” by Toni Braxton

Listen to Braxton’s voice just a few lines in and you’ll realize why this tops our list. A holiday classic in the making.

Stream it here

20

“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by *NSYNC

Bring the Christmas spirit home with this festive tune and say bye bye bye to your holiday blues. (GET IT?)

Stream it here

21

“Oh Santa!” by Mariah Carey

Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” overshadows the rest of her spectacular holiday discography, especially this song, which features her distinct whistle notes, accompanied by a choir in the background.

Stream it here

22

“Silent Night” by Destiny’s Child

Destiny’s Child is back on our list because they deserve it and Queen Bey’s vocal runs live in our heads rent-free.

Stream it here

23

“Sleigh Ride” by TLC

The 90’s girl group created the best holiday jam that’s sure to be a hit at all your Christmas zoom parties (or virtual ones).

Stream it here

24

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” by Michael Buble

Grab a cup of eggnog and curl up while the undisputed modern king of Christmas serenades you.

Stream it here

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