I had to do the Christmas songs post at some point. Once I started thinking about my favorite holiday songs I knew I had to separate this list into two parts:
1) Original Country Christmas Songs
2) Classic Country Christmas Songs
I love when country artists cover the classic Christmas songs every loves and I also appreciate when artists create original songs for the holidays.
Check them all out and be sure to share your Christmas stories.
Country Christmas Songs
Original Country Christmas Songs
In 2000 Faith had a huge hit single with Where Are You Christmas. The song made it into the top 30 on the country charts that holiday season. The song was part of the soundtrack for the hit movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carey. The movie and the song were both hits and remain holiday favorites.
9. Warm and Fuzzy – Billy Gillman
Billy Gilman was one of the most successful country artists as the new millennium started in 2000. He had a few hit singles. His albums were selling millions of copies and he had a new original Christmas track. The song was Warm and Fuzzy and it was a unique and fun little Christmas song that had people singing along. The song helped Billy’s Christmas album sell over 500,000 copies and the song remains a favorite each holiday season.
The island boy Kenny Chesney released his holiday album in 2003 and the lead track All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan made it into the country top 30. The song spins Christmas around and heads south to the islands for some warm weather. Not everybody loves the snow and the cold during the holidays. Kenny is one of them. He’s likely working on his tan right now south of the border in the islands.
Clint Black and his writing partner Hayden Nichols have teamed up to write nearly all of Clint’s hits. The duo penned a great Christmas song with fellow writer Shake Russell for the ’95 holiday album Looking For Christmas. The song was ‘Til Santa’s Gone (Milk and Cookies). The song is a fun tune and continues to get played on radio each holiday season. With all the great Christmas tunes out there it’s tough for a new one to become a classic but if there was ever someone to do it Clint is one to bet on.
6. Redneck 12 Days of Christmas – Jeff Foxworthy
I look forward to a lot of songs each holiday season but I love when I hear Jeff Foxworthy’s 12 Redneck Days of Christmas. It’s a classic as far as I’m concerned. There is nothing more country and it’s just plain fun to hear this crazy song even if it is a bit spoken. Foxworthy owns the redneck bit and he’s the one that can still work it best. It never gets old for me as long as he’s the one doing it.
Alan Jackson released his first Christmas set in 1993. There were some classics on the album and a few new ones. I Only Want You For Christmas was a new tune and it became a country Christmas classic. The song is upbeat and fun. The song only lasts a couple minutes but the catchy melody coupled with Alan’s country voice make for a lasting Christmas song.
4. Christmas in Dixie – Alabama
Alabama are some of country music’s most important figures. They owned southern country for a couple decades. Christmas In Dixie was the band’s original and big Christmas hit. The song first charted in 1982 and has remained on radio each holiday season since. It’s a great song and is now a classic that is a must for any country holiday playlist.
Joe Diffie was always the best at putting a little twist on the traditional with some funny thoughts. This song became a country classic in the ’90s for Joe as he took the song to the country charts each year and it’s still popular each holiday season. The redneck twist is put on the classic reindeer tale about a misfit reindeer saving the day on Christmas night. I look forward to this one each holiday. It always puts a smile on my face courtesy of Joe Diffie.
Shortly after making it big in country music Leann Rimes released her first holiday song. The tune was Put A Little Holiday In Your Heart and it became an instant classic. The uptempo Christmas song had people singing along all season. The song is about coming around to the Christmas spirit each year. We all know a few grinches that like to discount the spirit of Christmas. Sometimes it takes just a little extra push to get a little holiday in their heart.
Nobody sings a country song like George Strait. He is probably my favorite artist of all time. I had to put him on top of this list. He has a way of telling a story and capturing images that makes you feel a part of the song. Old Time Christmas is one of those slow moving songs that captures your emotions for a few minutes. You think about the Christmas that was important to you when you were young or when you were raising your own family. It’s a happy song. It’s a sad song. It’s a song that inspires emotion in every positive way. That’s what old time Christmases are to me.
Bonus: Santa’s Gonna Come In a Pickup Truck – Alan Jackson and the Chipmunks
I heard this one as I was finishing up my list and I had to include it somehow. I loved Alvin and the Chipmunks as a kid and their songs still make me smile. This was another classic song from the great Alan Jackson and it includes those funny cartoon chipmunks. The little guys think about presents as most kids do and Alan tries to tell them about Santa in a country Christmas kind of way while trying to teach a little bit about the true meaning of Christmas.
Classic Country Christmas Songs
How do you make a classic Christmas song your own – one that’s been covered a million times? Rascal Flatts took a classic song I’ll Be Home For Christmas and did it entirely with their vocals. No instruments. All alone isolated on the track. That takes some guts but for these guys it sounds effortless. Rascal Flatts have been the biggest band in country music for a decade and fans were jacked about their release of Christmas music. They nailed it with this one.
9. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – George Strait
A favorite of all kids around Christmas is Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. I remember sitting by the TV as a kid waiting for the movie to come on each December. My mom would light a fire and I would get all cozy as I watched intently for the story to unfold. The song is a classic as well and I think it’s because the lyrics are fun to sing along with. As a kid I loved it and I still love the song today. Nobody could sing it better than good old George Strait. He’s like a dad telling the story to his kids. It’s great.
8. Jingle Bells – Dolly Parton
Miss Country herself Dolly Parton sured seemed to have the holiday spirit no matter what. A classic Christmas tune is Jingle Bells and Dolly sure made the song her own with her rendition. She lays down some thick country licks on this track and it gets the entire crowd into the holiday spirit each time it’s on the radio. It wouldn’t be a holiday list without some Dolly Parton after all.
I remember Please Come Home For Christmas the first time as sung by The Eagles. I later learned to love the version Gary Allan put out. He finds a way to put his own raspy spin on the lyrics about wanting someone so bad on Christmas. For those of us that are far away from family and friends we look forward to seeing the ones we love each year. The emotion is captured perfectly in Allan’s version of this classic holiday song.
I love just about all Martina McBride‘s version of classic Christmas songs. I had to pick her for the ultimate Christmas song of all time – The Christmas Song. She is the best in the business. When she sings this song so many emotions come over you that the hair stands on the back of your head and you think about your loved ones. She is magical in when she sings and this song is one of the most loved holiday songs of all time. It’s the perfect fit.
5. Joy To The World – Faith Hill
Faith Hill released a huge holiday album in 2008. The biggest song on the set was Joy To The World. Faith’s soaring vocals reached throughout the entire house when I heard this song on the radio. She shook the walls and let everyone know it was Christmas song. I remember this hymn from my younger days in church. I remember a few things from those days of sitting anxiously in the pew and this song is one of those memories. Faith captures so much passion and emotion in the vocal that it’s something to behold. It’s spiritual.
Sammy Kershaw to me is one of the best country vocalists of all time. He had so many big hits and I still love them all today that it’s hard to ignore him on a list like this. My favorite Sammy holiday song is the bluegrass standard Christmas Time’s A-Comin’. This one is upbeat, ripping and roaring. I love the harmonica in the song. It’s classic country Christmas to me and Sammy is right in the middle of it. I look forward to this one each December.
3. Home for the Holidays – Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks Christmas songs always stand out to me when I hear them. He puts so much emotion into the songs it makes you feel like he’s loving every second of the holidays. It’s been over a decade since Garth hung up his hat and guitar to raise his kids. His music is still popular today and the Christmas songs he covered back in the ’90s remain favorites. I love seeing family and friends for the holidays and wherever they are is where home is and that’s why I love Home For The Holidays.
2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Vince Gill
Vince Gill’s voice is amazing. He can sing the dictionary and it would be awe inspiring. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is kind of a sad holiday song. Christmas can be a lonely time for those with few family and friends left. Don’t feel lonely though. You always have friends in the country music community. Turn on some Vince Gill and share your favorite stories in the comments. We’ll have ourselves a merry little Country Music Life Christmas.
This is my all time favorite Christmas song. There is no other reason for it except that something about Garth‘s vocals and enthusiasm for the song make it exciting. I can’t help but singing along when I hear this one each December. There are so many hooks in Sleigh Ride that it’s hard to keep up. It’s a great holiday song as sung by one of the greatest country artists of all time. I love it.
There are so many more great songs to include on both lists. Please add your favorites in the comments.