The Country Source's Favorite Country Christmas Songs

Did Your Favorite Songs Make Our List?


     The smell of gingerbread and pine intertwine in the air and “Carol of the Bells” echoes through the air.  The Christmas season is upon on us. With it usually comes a debate over some of the best Christmas songs over the years. You cannot deny the silky smooth voice of Bing Crosby as he sings White Christmas or the way Elvis’s deep unforgettable voice sang “Blue Christmas”.  Country artists from all generations have all put their mark on all the Christmas songs we love.

     We looked at country artists from all generations and picked the ones that what we felt kept the original feeling of the song alive while being sung by country artists. We have artists that every generation will love. We have The Man in Black, Dylan Scott, and what list would be complete without at least one song from the queen of country, Reba McEntire.


“White Christmas” by William Michael Morgan

Album: White Christmas

Fun fact about “White Christmas” there is an opening verse to the song that is nearly always dropped. It goes.

White Christmas
Warner Bros.

“The sun is shining, the grass is green,

The orange and palm trees sway.

There’s never been such a day

In Beverly Hill, L.A.

But it’s December the twenty-fourth –

And I am longing to be up North –“

     William Michael Morgan really took on a big one when he decided to sing “White Christmas” This song has been recorded an estimated 500 times. Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Loretta Lynn, Blake Shelton, and Rascal Flatts and more have all put their stamp on this song.  If you love the original and love country than this is the version you want. His lovely baritone voice is reminiscent of Bing Crosby, but with the added slide guitar you are reminded that this is song is for all the country music lovers out there.


“Let it Snow” by Scotty McCreery

Let It Snow
Mercury Nashville/19 Recordings/Interscope

Album: Christmas with Scotty McCreery

America met Scotty all at the same time, on the show American Idol (which he won).  He was only 16 when he auditioned but he was an instant fan favorite. He had a wholesome country heart and kept true to his country roots. His version of “Let it Snow” is everything you love about Christmas, Scotty and country music all rolled into one giant holiday ball of festiveness.


“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Chris Young

Album: It Must Be Christmas

It Must Be Christmas
RCA Records Label Nashville

The 10 years between 1940 to 1950 was an amazing time for Christmas songs.  It was the decade that brought all of us “White Christmas”, “Frosty the Snowman”, “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow”, “Here Comes Santa Claus”, “The Christmas Song”, and of course “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Judy Garland was the first to sing it in 1944 in the musical “Meet Me in St. Louis”. Chris Young (Nashville Star winner) starts the song out with just him and a piano, a beautiful way to let both the song and Chris Young shine.


“Winter Wonderland” by Jerrod Niemann

Album: Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland
Curb Records

 

“Winter Wonderland” was written in 1934 and has reportedly been recorded by over 200 different artists. It was not written to be a Christmas song but has since been adopted as a holiday song. Whether you live in the warm and sunny wine country of California or in the frozen tundra it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without “Winter Wonderland”.


“Frosty the Snowman” by George Strait

Album: A Holiday Collection

 

“Frosty the Snowman” was originally recorded by another great country star Gene Autry and the Cass Country Boys, who also sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.  Some versions have the song stating, “I’ll be back some day” and others say “I’ll be back on Christmas Day”.  The incomparable George Strait added some violin and slide guitar for his 1986 version of the holiday classic.  However, the song is kept to its jovial roots and is sure to make your Christmas a little more country. 


“O Holy Night” by Lauren Alaina

Album: Christmas Country

O Holy Night
UMG Recordings, Inc.

 

“O Holy Night” originally started off as a French Christmas poem called “”Midnight Christians” in 1843.  In 1847, it was made into a song.  Lauren Alaina was the runner-up on the 10th season of American Idol.  She was a judge favorite and with such a beautifully pure voice, fans can see why.  Her recording of this very classic Christmas song is kept simple with her voice taking center stage and shining the whole way through.


“The First Noel” by Brett Eldredge

Album: Glow

Glow
Atlantic Nashville

 

“The First Noel” is of Cornish origin and is from the late 1400’s to early 1800’s. Although it is rumored that it could be even earlier. Brett Eldredge has had 3 number 1 hits. In his version of “The First Noel,” you can see why. He starts the song with just his voice. Eventually, a harmony of instruments softly join him and this song shines and with it keeps the feeling of the original.


“Jingle Bell Rock” by Dylan Scott

Album: Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas (EP)
By Dylan Scott

 

This song entered the American airwaves in 1957 and has become an American Christmas mainstay since then.  The original was sung by Bobby Helms and hit number #13 on Billboard’s Most Played C&W which was a predecessor to the Hot Country Songs chart. Twenty-seven year old Dylan Scott keeps all the fun in the song with a little-added country rocking.


“Up On The Housetop” by George Strait

Album: A Holiday Collection

A Holiday Collection
MCA Nashville

 

     You might be surprised to know that “Up on The Housetop” is not a modern Christmas carol. It was written in 1864 and recorded by the country legend Gene Autry almost a century later in 1953.  This song is the second oldest nonreligious Christmas song, coming in second to “Jingle Bells”.  George Strait included it on his 1986 holiday album ‘A Holiday Collection’.  With a slide guitar and jingle bells accompanying him on the track the song is jovial and feels modern year after year.


“Silent Night” by Reba McEntire, Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood

Album: Christmas Country

 

For many “Silent Night” is the quintessential Christmas carol. It was first performed on Christmas Eve in 1818 at St. Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, Austria.  Three powerhouse vocalists belt out this song and keep it classic. Besides being on the album ‘Christmas Country’ it is also featured on Kelly Clarkson’s Christmas album ‘Red’.


 “Joy To The World” by George Strait

Album: A Holiday Collection

Classic Christmas
MCA Nashville

 

      “Joy To The World” is based on Psalm 98, 96:11-12 and Genesis 3:17-18, in the Bible. It was first published in 1719. It has since become the most published Hymn in North America. That makes it only perfect that George Strait is the one to sing it. Over the course of George Strait’s 33-year career, he has had 61 number 1 hits. More than any other artist in any genre. 


“Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” by Brooks & Dunn

Album: Hear Something Country Christmas

 

When “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” was first sung on the radio in 1934 it became an instant hit. So, it is only fitting that a legendary duo like Brooks & Dunn tackle such a hit. They too had almost instant success after joining forces in 1990. They hit the charts only a year later.  With an addition of a slide guitar, they turn a classic Christmas song into a classic country Christmas song.


“The Christmas Song” by Chris Young

Album: It Must Be Christmas

It Must Be Christmas
RCA Records Label Nashville

 

“The Christmas Song” was supposedly written on a blistering hot California summer day. One of the writers Bob Wells was trying to stay cool so he started to write this song to stay cool by thinking cool. Mel Torme saw the lyrics and he immediately loved it. The rest is history. Nashville Star winner Chris Young keeps the song classic with his voice and a piano out in the front for most of the song. 


 “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” by Reba McEntire

Album: My Kind of Christmas

 

     There have been many people who are attributed to being involved with the writing of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” over the centuries. Included with that are the many different versions and additional verses that are sometimes included or omitted while singing.  Reba McEntire has been a vocal dynamo since her first single being released in 1976. Her voice is unmistakable.  That remains the case in her rendition of this classic Christmas carol.


 “Run Run Rudolph” by Luke Bryan

Album: Country Christmas Greatest Hits

Run Run Rudolph
MCA Nashville

     

      “Run Run Rudolph” is a fun and jovial song that is loved by children and adults all over. It was popularized by Chuck Berry under the name of “Run Rudolph Run”. It was also written by the same man who wrote “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.  Luke Bryan keeps Chuck Berry’s blues guitar feeling while adding in some fiddle. All the around Luke Bryan keeps the song fun, vibrant, and relevant.


“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by George Strait

Album: A Holiday Collection

A Holiday Collection
MCA Nashville

Many forget that the song has an added introduction,

“You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,

Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen,

But do you recall

The most famous reindeer of all?"

This song was the first number 1 hit of the 1950’s and that honor belonged to Gene Autry. From one country great to another. George Strait doesn’t forget to mention all the reindeer right after the unmistakable sound of a country guitar.


“Jingle Bells” by Merle Haggard

Album: Hag’s Christmas

Hag's Christmas
By Merle Haggard

     

     “Jingle Bells” was originally written to be sung around Thanksgiving. However, it quickly became associated with Christmas. The first title of the song was “One Horse Open Sleigh”. On Hag’s Christmas, you’ll find all the great songs “Silver Bells”, “White Christmas”, “Winter Wonderland” and “Jingle Bells”.  While Mr. Haggard had a history of singing songs about hard times and political issues he leaves that all behind in this uplifting Christmas Carol.


“Blue Christmas” by Johnny Cash

Album: Christmas with Johnny Cash

Besides the original done by Elvis, there is no one that could do this song like The Man in Black, Johnny Cash. Even though we mainly hear Elvis’s version during the holiday it is was country legend Ernie Tubbs that hit Billboards magazines Most-Played Juke Box (Country and Western) Records.   What Elvis’s version was for Rock ’n’ Roll, Mr.Cash’s version is for country. With nothing but a simple arrangement of instruments, a choir and his voice the song makes you believe that he will truly be having a blue Christmas. 


“Away in a Manger” by Randy Travis

Album: Songs of the Season

Songs Of The Season
By Randy Travis

 

     This song is another Christmas carol that has numerous variations. It is very popular in English speaking countries and is argued to be the most popular carol in Great Britain. With 16 number 1 hits, there are few male artists that have voices that resonate like Randy Travis’s do.  He keeps his version of “Away in a Manger” simple and clean. Just the way it was intended.


“Silver Bells” by Garth Brooks

Album: Garth Brooks & the Magic of Christmas

 

     “Silver Bells” was originally titled “Tinkle Bells” until one of the writer's wives informed him of the double meaning of the word tinkle.  There are conflicting reports about the inspiration for the song. One writer said it was the bells that the Salvation Army and outdoor Santa Clauses rang and the other writer said it was the bell that sat on his desk. Either way, it has become a mainstay of the holiday. Of course, who else could have sung it better than Garth Brooks?