30 Sweet Christmas Songs for a great holiday

Christmas is always a very upsetting period, because it is a reminder that we are growing older, that our dreams are getting further away from our grasp. It’s a time we begin to accept the harshness of reality, that magic is long dead. When I get down in this period, I have a playlist of Christmas songs that always lift up my spirits, and I want to share them with you. Some you know about, others, I hope, you are hearing for the first time and will bring a smile to you. Some of these songs contain images that I can’t relate too, like mistletoe and like snow, but the melodies are always beautiful, and even if you don’t know what exactly they are singing about, you just enjoy 🙂

Before we kick off the list, let me share with you the lyrics of this cheeky song. It’s not really a Christmas song, and I don’t know under which category to put it, but well, it’s a fun one to listen to.

“Be Claus I Got High” Bob Rivers

Hey man, just roll me another Christmas blunt.

I was gonna trim the tree, until I got high

I was gonna buy you a DVD, but then I got high

My presents ain’t wrapped up, and I know why

‘Cause I got high

Because I got high

Because I got high

Philly Bongole Lutaaya and Christmas in Uganda

Philly Lutaaya.
Image source: Wikipedia

First, let’s talk about Philly Bongole Lutaaya, because you can’t talk about Christmas music without mentioning one of Uganda’s greatest musicians of all time. He was a very popular musician back in the day, I think one of the first Ugandan musicians to make it big on the international stage. At that time, most Christmas songs were in English, or other colonial languages, and they included images that Ugandans could not related to, like mistletoe and snow. (I remember we used to put cotton on Christmas trees to imitate snow, and toilet paper to imitate Christmas decorations) So Lutaaya releasing an album, titled Christmas Album, in 1986, hit the right note with Ugandans. Now they had Christmas music that they could call their own. He sung in Luganda, and I can’t wait for the day when every ethnic group will have a popular Christmas song in their own language.

Lutaaya died of Aids, in December, and, he being the first public figure to talk openly about the disease, somehow December has come to be associated with Lutaaya. You know it is the end of the year when the radios start playing his songs. They are available on amazon and other platforms, but I see you can also get it from this website, DJ Erycom. I’m not sure if this website offers the downloads legally. It is has the largest downloadable collection of Ugandan music, and if the musicians are not complaining….. The only problem is that he puts his adverts on some of the songs. Not cool.

On that site, I saw many other Ugandan musicians with Christmas music. There is a song from Bobi Wine and from Chameleon, among others, but they are mediocre at best. If you know of a really good Ugandan Christmas song, let me know in the comments below.

Songs that mark the passage of time

“Happy Christmas (War is Over)” John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Well, I have to mention the original version, but I love the Damien Rice cover, because, well, I think Damien Rice is the sweetest thing with a guitar. This song officially kicks off my lists because it asks you to reflect on the year that has passed, the resolutions you made, the goals you set. The lyrics say it all;

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

           “Mistletoe and Wine” Cliff Richard.

The child is a king, the carolers sing

The old has passed, there’s a new beginning

“Thank God It’s Christmas” Queen

Oh my love

We’ve had our share of tears

Oh my friends

We’ve had our hopes and fears

Oh my friends

It’s been a long hard year

But now it’s Christmas

Yes, it’s Christmas

Thank God it’s Christmas

Christmas songs that will make you cry

“25th December” Everything but the Girl I’ve never figured out what this song is about. I think it’s a Christmas song simply because it’s titled “25th December”. I want to think it’s about regret, about a heartbreak, about growing up and wishing for your lost childhood, but the meaning keeps eluding me. I believe it’s a song about family, and you know how family can make you depressed during Christmas? Well, this song, if you play it while you are sad, will surely bring a tear to your face. It’s one of my favorite Christmas songs, I must say, because the melody is just sad and depressing, and what better way to spend Christmas than play a sad and depressing song on an endless loop?

And I’m sitting, sitting on the top of the stairs,
And you’re crying out on the towpath by the river
With all the swans and all the people walking by.

And all of a sudden I´m stuck with an urge to unlock a door
With a key that’s too big for my hands
And I drop it, and it falls at your feet.

Come on, come on, it’s there at your feet.
And I never, no I never ever realised.
And I never, no I never ever realised.

“Christmas Day” Dido Who doesn’t love Dido and her dark songs? In this one, she talks of the worst kind of heartbreak, someone makes you fall in love with them, and they promise they will love you, and you wait, and wait, and wait, and the pain never ends, and though people say nice things to you, deep down you feel they are laughing at you behind your back. It’s a song about broken promises, and if you want to grieve about all the promises that the year did not deliver to you, play this song and feel so sad and cry your heart out :-))

And the last words

I heard him say

Were the last words

I ever

Heard him say

I shall return

For you, my love

On Christmas Day

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Christmas songs about brokeness and tough times

Christmas is a terrible time to be broke. The neighbors who have some cash will make you feel guilty for being poor, when they begin slaughtering chicken and buying crates of beer and blasting music at top volume. Your wife will walk away from the marriage because you haven’t bought her a new gomesi. Your husband will beat you up because you slaughtered the hen he was keeping for Christmas and he doesn’t have money to buy another bird. Your children will not talk to you because they don’t have new shoes. Well, if you find yourself in this situation, just turn on the radio and play these songs.

“Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto” James Brown

Santa Claus, oh Lord, go straight to the ghetto

Fill every stocking you find

The kids are gonna love you so

Fill every stocking you find

You’ll know that they need you…

“Kentucky Homemade Christmas” Kenny Rogers

They shut down the mine last summer, we’re gettin’ by on welfare

It’s Christmas Eve, I’m walkin’ home, not a dollar to my name

Night is almost on me, a night I’m almost dreading

No store bought gifts to open, but there’ll be Christmas just the same.

“Hard Candy Christmas” Dolly Parton

I’ll be fine and dandy

Lord it’s like a hard candy Christmas

I’m barely getting through tomorrow

But still I won’t let

Sorrow get me way down


“Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” The Darkness

Feigning joy and surprise at the gifts we despise over mulled wine with you

On the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month

The sleigh bells are in time, ringing true

How we cling each day long to the snowflakes and hope in hell

That it won’t end

Don’t let the bells end

Christmas time just let them ring in peace

Songs that announce the time

I like to listen to Connie Talbot. I guess she has now grown up and her voice has changed, but the songs she did when she was still a child are my favorite. I can’t get enough of her child voice, and Christmas, to me, is never complete without hearing her say “It’s beginning to Look a lot like Christmas”

Everywhere you go

Take a look in the five and ten glistening once again

With candy canes and silver lanes aglow

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Toys in every store

But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be

On your own front door

Of course, you may want to wish people happy holidays by sending them Christmas songs. We used to do it in the past, sending dedications, and this one is one of my favorite to send someone on Christmas, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Bing Cosby

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Let your heart be light

From now on, our troubles will be out of sight

Broken hearts during Christmas

Ah, Christmas is a time when you get really sad, especially if you don’t have someone to love you, or if you are going through a heartbreak. There are some sad Christmas songs that I play every year, and top on the list is “Every Year Every Christmas” by Luther Vandross. Is there any playlist I can make without Luther Vandross in it? No way. He is my all-time favorite musician.

I don’t know how love could do this to me

I’ve waited and waited for someone I never see

But I’m so sentimental, and I’m so hopeful you’ll be there

So, here I am every year, every Christmas

I’ve wished for you in my heart and in my head

And I got my answer that first moment that we met

And, oh yes, I believed you as you told me, as you said

You’d be here every year, every Christmas

Luther sung a couple of other Christmas songs that I love, they are more uplifting that this one. The two I enjoy very much are “The Christmas Song” and “May Christmas Bring You Happiness”. Both are great for dedications.

Then, there is “Blue Blue Christmas” Elvis Presley. Oh my. It’s a sweet sad song.

I’ll have a blue
Christmas without you

I’ll be so blue
just thinking about you

Decorations of
red on a green Christmas tree

Won’t be the same
dear, if you’re not here with me

Michael Bublé did a cover for this song. Is there any song that he has not done a cover for? The one I pick for my list is “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. It is sad in many ways. It paints a picture of loneliness without mentioning the words. Christmas is that time when you are supposed to be with your family, the time when you pack up all your bags and go to the village to see your grandmother after a long time. Here Michael Bublé longs to be home for Christmas, but he knows it might be only in his dreams.

I’ll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have some snow and mistletoe
And presents by the tree

Christmas eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas

If only in my dreams

Michael Bublé has a lot of Christmas songs. Well, he became famous from singing covers, and I list his versions rather than the originals because I like his voice, and I like what he did with these songs. His Christmas songs that I like are “Grown-Up Christmas List,” “White Christmas,” and “The Christmas Song.”

“Last Christmas” Wham! closes off this section nicely.

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart

But the very next day you gave it away

This year, to save me from tears

I’ll give it to someone special

Christmas songs to play for your loved one

Of course, all Christmas songs are about love, but my favorite is one you’ve heard, and one you probably also play every Christmas. “All I Want for Christmas is You” Mariah Carey.  Or the version by Alan Jackson. Both are good. Yes, you can’t make a playlist of Christmas songs without including this hit.

 I don’t want a lot for Christmas

There is just one thing I need

I don’t care about the presents

Underneath the Christmas tree

I just want you for my own

More than you could ever know

Make my wish come true oh

All I want for Christmas is you

 I like “This Christmas Time” Lonestar for celebrating love. It’s a perfect one to play for your boyfriend, or girlfriend, if you are too lazy to tell them how they make you feel.

Oh this Christmas time

Is the best one ever

The greatest gift in life

Is you and me together

And I thank heaven for sending you here tonight

This Christmas time

How can you not put “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” by Dean Martin on a list of Christmas songs? The poetry in this song is playful, cheesy, and  it just makes you fall in love :-))

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

But the fire is so delightful

And since we’ve no place to go

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Now this one, “8 Days of Christmas” by Destiny’s Child, well, I don’t know if to put it here. It’s about a man spoiling his girl with gifts. I’ll put it here, because what is Christmas if you don’t buy gifts that make people you love feel so special?

On the eighth day of Christmas my
baby gave to me
A pair of Chloe shades and a diamond belly ring
On the seventh day of Christmas my baby gave to me
A nice back rub and he massaged my feet

The remix of traditional hymns and carols

If you are like me and love old music in new bottles, then you’ll love this collection of remixed Christmas songs. Little Drummer Boy seems like it is very, very old, but it’s a song from the 1950s. According to Wikipedia, Twentieth-Century Fox Records contracted Harry Simeone to make a Christmas album, and he assembled a group he called “The Harry Simeone Chorale”. After being introduced to an obscure song by friend and credited song co-author Henry Onorati, titled “Carol of the Drum”, Simeone changed the title to “The Little Drummer Boy” and recorded it under that title for his album Sing We Now of Christmas. In spite of its ‘recentness’, I think of it as a traditional Christmas song because I first heard it sung in church 😀

Listen to BeBe & CeCe Winans do “Jingle Bells” and your day will be happier. They used to be my favorite gospel duo, way back in time when I had a lot of time for music. You can’t go wrong with Harry Belafonte’s “Mary’s Boy Child.” His voice is just gorgeous! There is also Enya’s Silent Night, a haunting rendition of the classic.

Bonus Christmas songs

I don’t  quite know how to categorize these Christmas songs, but holidays don’t feel right without them, so I’ll share them with you as ‘bonus’ to this list :-))

“Better Days” Goo Goo Dolls

And you asked me what I want this year

And I try to make this kind and clear

Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

‘Cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings

And designer love and empty things

Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

“Driving Home for Christmas” Chris Rea

I’m driving home for Christmas

Oh, I can’t wait to see those faces

I’m driving home for Christmas, yea

Well I’m moving down that line

And it’s been so long

But I will be there

I sing this song

To pass the time away

Driving in my car

Driving home for Christmas

“Feels Like Christmas” Cyndi Lauper

Hey Louie, can’t you see

I couldn’t leave you if I tried

Hey Louie, listen to me

We got a thing so dignified

It don’t matter if we lived in a shack

Or in a shiny cadillac

It don’t matter rich or poor

When love is knocking at your door

It feels like Christmas

Just like Christmas

It feels like Christmas with you…

“Someday at Christmas” Stevie Wonder

Someday at Christmas men won’t be boys

Playing with bombs like kids play with toys

One warm December our hearts will see

A world where men are free

Someday at Christmas there’ll be no wars

When we have learned what Christmas is for

When we have found what life’s really worth

There’ll be peace on earth

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