It’s time to start considering the playlist for the Christmas party! There are so many we could choose from, but we’ve tried to spread our selection across the decades to offer a snapshot of Christmas songs through the ages.
1. Fairytale of New York (1987)
’Twas Christmas Eve, babe… and every December since 2006, the Fairytale of New York was back in the top 20. This quintessential Christmas song has a bitter misunderstanding in a relationship, the knowledge that life isn’t perfect, a hopeful ending and a fabulous backing orchestra. It warms our hearts every single time.
2. Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1934)
One of the best upbeat Christmas songs, its release in 1934 sold more than 30,000 records in the first 24 hours – and choirs around the world ordered 100,000 copies of the sheet music.
3. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day (1973)
Wizzard should come to work with us at Tom Smith – it is Christmas every day!
4. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (1958)
Everyone loves a bit of rock’n’roll – especially at Christmas! But a little-known fact is that this seasonal favourite was penned by the same songwriter who wrote ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’. Johnny Marks, despite being Jewish, specialised in writing Christmas songs – he also composed ‘A Holly Jolly Christmas’, ‘Silver and Gold’ and ‘Run Rudolph Run’.
5. Driving Home for Christmas (1986)
The perfect rendition of quiet anticipation of Christmas with friends and family. In many ways, this is the most realistic of Christmas songs – striking a chord with the way we all have so many things to do before we settle in to celebrate. It’s one of our all-time favourites. The 2009 video was filmed in aid of Shelter.
6. Last Christmas (1986)
Probably the most Eighties Christmas song of all time, ‘Last Christmas’ was a huge hit around the world – and particularly popular in Japan. It made a comeback in 2013, too, when it was the most streamed song on Christmas Day on Spotify in the UK.
7. All I Want for Christmas is You (1994)
Mariah Carey wrote and performed what would become the ubiquitous modern Christmas song, regularly voted the best Christmas song of all time. Though, admittedly, our favourite version is actually Joanna Page’s confession to Martin Freeman in Love Actually.
8. Santa Baby (1953)
We all have things that we want for Christmas – yachts and Tiffany’s decorations would indeed be nice. ‘Sables’ (fur coats) is a desire that has less appeal these days, but Eartha Kitt’s witty wish-list still has the power to charm.
9. Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) (2003)
Never let it be said that the 21st Century is lacking in Christmas innovation! The Darkness’ 2003 offering brings back the children’s choir of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day and marries it with the upbeat celebrations of modern Christmas wishes.
10. White Christmas (1942)
This is, in fact, the best-selling Christmas song of all time. Bing Crosby’s 1942 recording holds a Guinness World Record, with sales in excess of 100 million copies worldwide in over seventy years since its release. Supposedly, when Irving Berlin wrote the song, he told his secretary: “I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written—heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s ever written!”