The DEFINITIVE Top Ten Holiday Songs


A little list to lift your spirits this exam season.


It’s officially December, a time of year normally associated with friends, family, food, and festivities. However, for students, the beginning of the month is often associated with a chill not related to weather-- the one caused by the uncertainty of exams, papers, projects, and undue stress.

While getting sleep, drinking tea, and other stress management activities can often remove some of the burden, one of the ways I try to change my mood during these tough weeks is by listening to some holiday tunes! So, I’ve taken it upon myself to compile my ten favorites, to start off your playlists (and your month) on a cheery note!


10. “Last Christmas” - Wham!

This one is a classic that’s been done time and time again, each time seemingly better than the last. Though I don’t think it has enough to top the list, it’s definitely a bop for the brokenhearted that always finds its way to radio playlists.


9. “Santa Tell Me” - Ariana Grande

I happen to love modern Christmas carols, because, even I, a holiday fanatic, can admit that sometimes the classics can get old. Santa Tell Me is a funky pop jam that puts a fresh spin on a market that nowadays, is rife with covers. Musical artists know they’ve made it when they’re asked to do a Christmas album, and variety is the spice of life!


8. “Wonderful Christmastime” - Paul McCartney

This song is divisive for some reason. I know a lot of people who don’t know or don’t care about this song, but I must say that I’ve always liked it. Plus, you’re talking to the girl that’s had “Hey Jude” on repeat for the last 48 hours, so I really can’t leave the Beatles off this list.


7. “Carol of the Bells” - Mykola Leontovych (composer)

This is undoubtedly my favorite instrumental holiday song. In fact, I used to listen to it while driving, because it has enough of a crescendo to motivate me, but is overall calming enough that I don’t start to road rage. True story.


6. “Believe” - Josh Groban

Josh Groban is a gift to this world, and this song is no exception. Who else thinks of The Polar Express as a defining moment of their childhood? Because, I do. I know I listen to this particular Christmas carol year-round. I have no regrets. This song does not get enough radio credit.


5. “Feels Like Christmas” - Panic! At the Disco

This song makes this list for a purely self-indulgent purpose (sorry not sorry). Okay, I’ll admit, I’m biased. I love Brendon Urie for his songwriting skills as well as his gorgeous voice (and face). Still though, this song was released last year, and I hope it becomes a classic someday.


4. “Hanukkah Song” - Adam Sandler

It wouldn’t be fair to make the list all about Christmas, now would it? Not to mention, a list of the best holiday songs would not be complete without the drunken masterpiece that is Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah Song. It honestly just gets funnier every time (and I’m not even Jewish!).


Okay, top three. Woo. Here we go.


3. “Someday at Christmas” - Jackson 5

There are some songs that get you unimaginably hyped for the holidays, and I think this is absolutely one of them. Plus, the message is super nice! Activism, woohoo! Get out there and change the world, we stan optimism here at HerCampus Oxford!


2. “Feliz Navidad” - José Feliciano

What’s better than a Christmas song in one language? You guessed it, one in two! This song has been my lifelong (personal) favorite. Even though many people don’t know how to pronounce the lyrics, they sing them anyway (which, to those of us who actually know Spanish, is kind of hilarious).


1. “All I Want For Christmas is You” - Mariah Carey

As overplayed and popular as this song becomes from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, it feels so wrong to give the top spot to anyone but Mariah Carey. This song has taken the world by storm, and if you don’t know it, I seriously have to question how you’ve managed to avoid it. It will forever be the top spot on so many people’s lists. Mariah is a queen, and everybody knows it.


A hearty Happy Holidays from me and mine to you and yours, and I’ll see you in 2019!