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10 of the Best Christmas Songs of All Time (and Why We Love Them)

Image representing students learning about the best Christmas songs of all time

It might be nearly a month until Christmas – and December hasn’t even started yet – but in the UK, the USA and many other English-speaking countries, radio stations are already overloaded with Christmas-themed pop songs!

Here in the UK, we LOVE our Christmas songs. Sometimes it’s because they are happy tunes that remind us of the fun of Christmas morning when we were kids, sometimes it’s because they make us cry, and sometimes it’s because they are witty or bitter-sweet (meaning they make you happy and sad at the same time).

Here’s a roundup of 10 of the most popular Christmas songs in the UK, and why we love them so much.

 

  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day (Wizzard)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CNFnkbwdZM

No one from the UK can hear this song without getting a huge smile on their face! It’s one of those things that reminds you of the excitement of opening your presents on Christmas morning. How could that fail to make you happy?

 

  • Merry Christmas Everybody (Slade)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A8KT365wlA

This is another one that gets everyone dancing along, whether they want to or not. Perhaps it’s the catchy tune, maybe it’s Noddy Holder’s ridiculous facial hair, or perhaps it’s just that it brings back so many memories of Christmas when we were kids, but 44 years on, it’s still as popular as ever.

 

  • Last Christmas (Wham)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8gmARGvPlI

George Michael was a much loved English singer with plenty of hits, but this is one of his most popular songs of all. Although the tune sounds happy, the lyrics are quite sad – they’re about having your heart broken at Christmas time, and looking for love again. Maybe we love it because it reminds us that Christmas can be an emotional time and you don’t always feel as happy as you want to… or maybe we just like dancing to that cheesy 80s melody. Who knows?

 

  • Stop the Cavalry (Jona Lewie)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HkJHApgKqw

Weirdly, this wasn’t actually supposed to be a Christmas song. It’s actually an anti-war protest song! However, there’s a line in the song that says “Wish I was at home for Christmas”, and the brass band gives it a winter feel, so the band decided to released it in December and it became an unexpected Christmas hit. If you listen to the words, it’s a depressing story about a soldier who is sick of the war and just wants to go home.

 

  • Santa Baby (Eartha Kitt)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOMmSbxB_Sg

This song has remained a firm favourite since it came out in 1953 thanks to the funny, clever lyrics. In it, Eartha Kitt asks Santa Claus for more and more expensive presents until, at the end, she asks for an engagement ring. It’s cheeky and fun to sing along to, and that’s why we love it.

 

  • The Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth (David Bowie & Bing Crosby)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9kfdEyV3RQ

As British people, we naturally have to love everything Bowie has ever recorded, so of course this is one of our favourites! Two musical heroes meet in this beautiful song, which gave a traditional tune a new twist when it first came out.

 

  • Let it Snow

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQzlJRjXSGY

Anyone that grew up in the UK spent every winter of their childhood desperately hoping for snow. Snow days meant school would be closed and you’d be able to stay at home and build snowmen in the garden or have snowball fights in the street, and what could be more fun than that? In fact, the moment that a few flakes of snow falls from the sky, expect to see everyone in your office or classroom run to the window and start shouting in excitement. Even as grown ups, we’re all just big kids that love playing in the snow!

 

  • Driving Home for Christmas (Chris Rea)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THcbQyFtCqg

When you’ve been away from home for a while, this is one of those songs that can bring a tear to your eye. It’s about going back home to see the people you love at Christmas time and remembering all the happy Christmases you’ve had before.

 

  • All I Want for Christmas Is You (Mariah Carey)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXQViqx6GMY

This is the ultimate karaoke song! Right from the dramatic opening that makes you want to sing into your hairbrush in the mirror, it’s physically impossible to stop your inner diva from taking over the moment you hear this song start playing. The fact that it appeared in Love, Actually (one of the UK’s favourite Christmas films) makes us love it even more.

 

  • Fairytale of New York (The Pogues)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwHyuraau4Q

All the songs on this list are really popular in the UK, but this Irish hit is ALWAYS voted the best Christmas song of all time! Which is strange, because it’s about a couple who both love and hate each other remembering the ways they ruined each other’s lives. But what can I say? For us, that’s the Christmas spirit!

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