Ranking and Rating of Popular Holiday Hits

The end of autumn and beginning of winter marks a time that almost everyone can get excited about–the holiday season! Storefronts and homes are fully decked out with lights, hot chocolate and eggnog is widely available for drinking, and wintry tunes are in the air. Holiday music is a well-known staple of this chilly season. Everywhere you go, shops will be playing popular songs like Last Christmas and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. For the start of this lovely season, I have taken it upon myself to rate and rank 10 popular holiday songs. Now, without further ado, let the festivities begin!

#10. Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley

Rating: 5/10

Elvis Presley’s cover of the classic Blue Christmas may be last on this list, but it’s definitely not bad. I used to loathe this song when I was little, and it’s still not one of my favorites, but the slow and sleepy nature of the song definitely sets it apart from other equally popular holiday songs. Simply put, Blue Christmas is overall okay. It’s unique and it clearly has an audience, based on just how beloved it is, but it’s just not my personal cup of tea.

#9. Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Michael Bublé

Rating: 6/10

Santa Claus is Coming to Town is a classic Christmas song and it is one of my favorite holiday songs overall. The reason I ranked it this low is because Michael Bublé is just okay in comparison to other covers. His voice works very well with the down-to-Earth, classy holiday vibes of many Christmas songs, but that particular energy does not really work for this version of the track. I much prefer the Jackson 5 or Mariah Carey covers of this song to Bublé’s rendition.

#8. Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande

Rating: 6.5/10

Now, we’re getting into the holiday songs that I actually like. Santa Tell Me by Ariana Grande is just an amazing Christmas song. Ariana’s higher-pitched vocal range complements the cutesy, playful mood of the song quite nicely. Her great voice pairs well with the back-up singers, giving the song a strong finish. It also contains an extremely catchy chorus that is stuck in my head 24/7 during wintertime. That said, the song is not particularly memorable outside of its radio-ready chorus which drops its rating.

#7. Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses

Rating: 7/10

Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses is one of the few completely original tracks on this list. I feel like this song is simultaneously underrated and rated at exactly what it deserves. I don’t see people talking about it nearly as much as other songs on this list, but that’s honestly for a good reason. Most Christmas songs are meant to be catchy and short, with most of their runtimes being taken up by the chorus. Christmas Wrapping does not follow that formula, and that’s both what makes it interesting and what holds it back. This song is meant to tell a story and, believe me, it does an incredible job at that. But at the same time, I often find myself wondering when it’s going to end when I hear this song. It’s an overall enjoyable listen and it has some very fun instrumentals, but it’s not my favorite.

#6. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow – Dean Martin

Rating: 7.5/10

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow as sung by Dean Martin is a cheerful, wondrous bop of a holiday song. Dean Martin’s old-school, vintage voice suits the classic Christmas vibe of this song extremely well, and the instrumentals complement his voice perfectly. There isn’t too much more I can really say about this track, but that’s kind of the beauty of it. It’s simple, reliable, and wonderfully festive.

#5. All I Want For Christmas is You – Mariah Carey

Rating: 8.5/10

I couldn’t not put the undisputed queen of Christmas, Mariah Carey, on this list. All I Want For Christmas is You is quite possibly the most popular Christmas song of all time, and I can understand why– Mariah has an amazing voice, the tune is unbelievably catchy, and the chorus is an absolute bop. If I had to say anything bad about this track, it would be that it is definitely overplayed, to the point where I hear it when I’m out-and-about even before Halloween. (No holiday song should ever be played before Thanksgiving, let alone Halloween!)

#4. I Wish It Was Christmas Today – Julian Casablancas

Rating: 9.5/10

Considering that I Wish It Was Christmas Today started as a quick SNL skit, one would think that the song wouldn’t be very good when actually put together as a proper release. Well, that person would be wrong because I Wish It Was Christmas Today (as sung by Julian Casablancas) is everything that you need in a holiday song. This track really captures the childlike wonder that you feel in the week(s) leading up to holiday break–the nervous excitement when met with the countdown to Christmas on the whiteboard in your math classroom, the positive, cheerful spirit that is just radiating from everything, and even the anxiety-inducing $30-and-under shopping for gift exchanges with your friends. It’s short, fun, cheerful, and an absolute delight to hear. It truly makes me wish it was Christmas today!

#3. O Tannenbaum – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Rating: 10/10

For a classic holiday staple, O Tannenbaum really stands out from the rest. For one, it’s the only pure instrumental track on this list. The light jazzy feel provides the perfect backdrop to any holiday gathering. O Tannenbaum is a part of the soundtrack for the classic Christmas special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and there’s a reason that the soundtrack is so widely known and loved. O Tannenbaum truly captures the more simple, classic holiday spirit, with a joyfully cozy energy at its core. It’s the kind of song you would put on after all the gifts have been unwrapped and everyone’s settling down to rest with a nice, warm mug of hot cocoa.

#2. Last Christmas – Wham!

Rating: 10/10

Last Christmas means a lot to me as a song, so take this particular rating with the tiniest grain of salt. Last Christmas by Wham! is the perfect Christmas song. On the surface, it follows the stock-standard formula of the classic Christmas pop song, but in actuality, it offers an interesting new take for the genre. I fondly remember singing along to this song over and over again when I was little, much to the chagrin of my parents. I still belt it in the car frequently when it plays on the radio during the holiday season, and this song never fails to bring a smile to my face. In spite of its perfect rating, there’s one more song for me that just beats it.

#1. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – U2

Rating: The best

Words cannot describe how much I genuinely adore U2’s rendition of the classic Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). I am willing to admit that I do have some amount of bias and nostalgia for both this song and U2 as a band, but their unique take on the original song makes their cover a real staple in my holiday playlist. Other great bands have also covered this song (the Death Cab for Cutie cover is particularly beautiful), but none of them have even come close to matching this version. Because U2’s repertoire is very different from the song’s original vibe, one might assume that their cover would not match the energy of the track. But this rendition is absolutely incredible. The drums are strong, and the gospel-esque backing vocals call back to the original song’s R&B origins–all with lead singer Bono’s voice at the helm, resounding loud and clear, leading the charge. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) carries a bittersweet energy that makes me simultaneously want to dance my heart out by the tree and sob into a pillow. All in all, U2’s heartwarming cover of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) is undoubtedly outstanding, and takes the cake for #1 on this holiday song ranking.

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