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Top 100 Christmas Songs

Pop Performances


Christmas and holiday music are an indispensable part of pop music. These are 100 of the top Christmas and holiday songs of all time with details on each and links to pop performance videos. The list is an admittedly subjective one. Please enjoy comparing with your own favorites.

1. "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" - John Lennon (1971)

Courtesy Apple Records

One of Beatle John Lennon's dreams in the music industry was to create a classic Christmas song. Undoubtedly, he was successful with the song "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" that is simultaneously a holiday song and plea for world peace.

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2. "The Christmas Song" - Nat King Cole (1961)

Nat King Cole - Christmas Song
Courtesy Capitol

Co-written by singer Mel Torme, "The Christmas Song" became one of the defining performances of the career of Nat King Cole. He recorded the song at least 3 times of which the 1961 recording is often considered the best. Sometimes the song is referred to as "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" from the lyrics in the song's first line.

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3. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Judy Garland (1944)

Meet Me in St. Louis
Courtesy MGM

This song was introduced by Judy Garland in a poignant moment in the 1944 movie musical Meet Me In St. Louis. The filmmakers complained that the first version of the song's lyrics was too depressing and commissioned a rewrite that became the most popular interpretation.

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4. "O Holy Night" - Celine Dion (1998)

Celine Dion - These Are Special Times
Courtesy Columbia

"O Holy Night," composed in 1847, has become a favorite carol for solo vocal performances. Celine Dion applied the huge sound of her voice to the classic song on the 1998 collection These Are Special Times.

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5. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" - Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi (2003)

Bruce Springsteen - Barack Obama Inaugural Celebration 2009
Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" was written in 1934 and first performed on the Eddie Cantor radio show. It was an instant hit. Bruce Springsteen has made it a traditional part of his live concerts during the holidays.

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6. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" - U2 (1987)

Various Artists - A Very Special Christmas
Courtesy A&M

"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" was first recorded by Darlene Love in 1963 for the legendary Phil Spector album A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spactor. U2 put together their cover of the song for the 1987 Special Olympics benefit A Very Special Christmas.

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7. "Jingle Bell Rock" - Billy Idol (2006)

Billy Idol - Happy Holidays
Courtesy Bodog Music

"Jingle Bell Rock" was first released by Bobby Helms in 1957. It became a hit and has become a Christmas standard. Billy Idol recorded a version for his 2006 album Happy Holidays.

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8. "The Little Drummer Boy" - David Bowie and Bing Crosby (1977)

David Bowie and Bing Crosby - Little Drummer Boy
Courtesy RCA

Katherine K. Davis composed "Little Drummer Boy" in 1941. It was popularized in an arrangement by the Harry Simeone Chorale. An animated TV special was created based on the song's story in 1968. David Bowie and Bing Crosby collaborated for a version televised on a Bing Crosby Christmas special in 1977.

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9. "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" - Jewel (1999)

Jewel - Joy
Courtesy Rhino Atlantic

The story of Rudolph, Santa's 9th reindeer, was created by Montgomery Ward employee Robert L. May in 1939. The story was adapted into song and turned into a hit by Gene Autry in 1949. Singer-songwriter Jewel recorded "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" for her own holiday collection.

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10. "White Christmas" - Bing Crosby (1942)

Bing Crosby - White Christmas
Courtesy MCA

"White Christmas" was introduced in the 1942 movie musical Holiday Inn. It went on to win an Academy Award for Best Song From a Motion Picture. Bing Crosby's version from the film has sold over 50 million copies.

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