Favorite and Not-So-Favorite Christmas Songs

As we head into the last weeks of the year, Christmas approaches and the music is everywhere. I love the magic of this time of year, but know that some songs just don’t work for me. So, I asked you—what are your favorite Christmas songs? And which ones do you hope to never hear again?

The responses poured in and I loved reading the comments. However, I relearned a valuable lesson. Organizing survey results from open-ended questions is hard! I received dozens and dozens of song title suggestions that just didn’t make it into this article and it’s already overly long. Sorry if I skipped over your favorite (or not-so-favorite).

But let’s get to it.

Favorite Songs

Two songs led by a wide margin as favorites—O Holy Night and I’ll Be Home for Christmas. Check out some of the great explanations from readers to support their choices.

O Holy Night

The soaring melody gives me goosebumps.

Just a gorgeous song, especially when Josh Groban sings it!

When orchestrated properly, the musicality of the melody soars, and I am overwhelmed with peace and hope.

Because it is simply beautiful. Celine Dion’s version is outstanding.

Brings tears and smiles at the same time.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Because I usually couldn’t be home.

The song brings up so many emotions.

It reminds me of happier times when we spent Christmas at my grandmother’s.

Nostalgia for simpler times.

Still brings tears to my eyes as it reminds me of the wintry Christmases of childhood and being surrounded by extended family.

Hearing this song brings back the holiday seasons when my parents were still here. Mom would tell us that this song was a favorite during WW2 while she waited for Dad to return from overseas.

Other notable favorite votes with the nominating quote from a reader

Do You Hear What I Hear (Bing Crosby)—His beautiful bass just resonates with my soul and brings me joy.

Good King Wenceslas—I like the oldness of it. And it’s imagery. It is ancient.

Christmas Wrapping (The Waitresses)—I just love the story it depicts.

The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole)—It’s a timeless classic that anyone can appreciate and enjoy. It just seems to evoke all of the cherished memories of Christmas past.

Blue Christmas (Elvis Presley)—He has a great voice and I like his version of the song.

This Christmas (Harry Connick Jr and Brandon Marsalis)—His sultry voice along with the soprano sax are just perfection.

Merry Christmas, Darling (Karen Carpenter)—The song gives me good feelings about Christmas and brings joy to my soul.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Bare Naked Ladies and Sarah McLaughlin)—If you haven’t heard this version, go listen. It’s the best!!! My daughter once did a tap dance to this. (Author’s note—I took the dare and listened. I really liked the song. I did not, however, tap dance to it, though the dogs might have been amused.)

Not-So-Favorite Songs

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

I just hate it. It is not even funny. Very overplayed.

Just never liked.

Funny at first. Now it just gets on my nerves.

Silly song.

How morbid.

Just think it’s silly.

I hate the song and the twang to his voice when he sings it. Blech.

Awful song, especially now that I am one. (Author’s note: I guessed they meant they’re now a grandma, not a reindeer.)

Santa Baby

I just find it creepy.

Can’t get past the first word.

The tune and the lyrics annoy me.

Any version. Any singer. Any time. Awful.

The Christmas Shoes

If I never, ever hear it again, I will be eternally grateful. I have no desire to spend the holiday season sobbing my guts out, thank you very much.

Sappy, emotional blackmail, and trying way too hard to jerk at your heartstrings.

Just plain depressing.

Makes me turn off the radio. The first few times I heard it, I thought it was sweet and it brought a tear to my eye, but now it just annoys me.

But let’s hear from the other side:

It is such a heartbreaking song and yet it shows how meaningful it is to give to others to make their Christmas better and give them a bit of comfort and teaches us all how to give from the heart.

For the record, I didn’t remember hearing the song, so I went to YouTube to watch the video. Wiping away the tears added time to preparing this post. And, no, I didn’t dare watch the movie.

Mariah Carey

Sorry, Mariah, but you received your own category here.

Mariah Carey’s Christmas songs annoy me.

All I Want for Christmas is You. Tired of it. Too loud.

That awful Mariah Carey song that has made her so much money.

Other notable not-so-favorite votes with the nominating quote from a reader

The 12 Yats of Christmas—Not my style of humor.

Feliz Navidad—Too repetitive. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year. Over and over and over….

Last Christmas—”Tell me, baby, do you recognize me? Well, it’s been a year, it doesn’t surprise me”. I mean, who changes that much in a year that a former friend would not recognize them?

All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth—Yeah, it’s cute but overplayed. That kid’s voice is unbearable when on a a store song loop. Those poor employees.

Here Comes Santa Claus—When I was in highschool, there was only one radio station in our area that announced school closings due to weather. That station played the wretched tune EVERY morning during snow season – even after Christmas!

Driving Home (by Chris Rea)—He should buy a good GPS.

The debate rages

It wouldn’t be a survey without differing opinions, right? These songs received multiple mentions for both the favorite and not-so-favorite list.

Little Drummer Boy

We have this debate at our house. I love the Little Drummer Boy. EPPIL (My Ever Patient Partner In Life) doesn’t. I use headphones and we both win. My favorite version is Johnny Cash.

Annoying lyrics and idiotic concept. Who thought that playing a drum solo for a mom with new baby is something she’d appreciate??

It’s my favorite! My mom liked it and she passed away when I was 19 (many moons ago).

I hate maudlin songs that make me sad and this one does it big time.

I like it! The sounds. The drums. The repetition.

My younger sister had the 45 and played it year-round when she was 5 or 6. I feel a little sick every time I hear it.

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Like nails on a chalkboard to me.

I never ran across it until I was well into adulthood, but find it hilarious.

Carol of the Bells

I love how the arrangement builds on itself. It’s one of those melodies that transports the listener to another time and place.

Let me begin by saying I am retired music teacher. The Carol of the Bells makes me want to cover my ears! It should be banned for performance by anything younger than an experienced college choir. The music looks easy, but is deceptively difficult if done right, and most choirs try and fail.

White Christmas (by the Drifters)

Drifters version of White Christmas. It just makes you feel good.

I’m not a fan of what the Drifters did to the beautiful song, White Christmas.

Best Comment

My favorite part of doing these surveys is reading the comments. This one had me laughing out loud, so it has to win the best comment of the month.

“I Want a Hippopotumus For Christmas” It’s just such a silly song. Ranks right up there with “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” and “Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer.” If the truth be known, Granny got ran over by a Hippo and it knocked her two front teeth out.

I can’t top that, so Merry Christmas and enjoy the music.

New surveys every month

Don’t forget to take this month’s survey by going here. Results will be published in next month’s newsletter.


  1. Gerri of Husky is the window. on December 6, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    Have to say I agree with your surveyors and their choices . I missed the survey last week, so if it’s okay, just wanted to add my favorite is by Ray Stevens, “Mary, and Joseph and the Baby and Me.” It’s sung by the donkey, and done very well.

  2. Juno's mom on December 6, 2023 at 3:40 pm

    I missed this survey, but will add one by the Christmas Revels: Lord of the Dance, sung by John Langstaff. Here is a youtube link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3LJgXcTayA

  3. Marilyn and Shadow on December 7, 2023 at 7:37 am

    “Last Christmas”, ugh. Other than mentioning Christmas, the words have as much to do with Christmas as “Die Hard” does.

Leave a Comment

Reader Surveys

Each month, I survey readers on a random topic. I might ask about books, reading, and authors, as this is my primary focus. Some months, the survey focuses on the mountain region that has been my home. Other months, the query will be something completely random. The debate over mayonnaise might be the most contested ever.

In time for the monthly newsletter, I summarize and share the overall results and some of the highlights I learned. To protect privacy, I don't attempt connect the data in anyway to individuals and then delete the responses.

The following is the result of one of those surveys. And if you want to participate in this month's survey, just click the button.