Intersection of Life and Faith

The Definitive Ranking of Christmas Songs

  • Lindsey Brady
The Definitive Ranking of Christmas Songs

Composing the perfect Christmas playlist is one of the most critical parts of the holiday season.

Okay, so that might be a slight exaggeration.

But I mean, what’s your alternative? Rely on the radio to serve up the perfect mix? No thank you! You won’t get the best songs often enough and, honestly, there are some real clunkers out there that should always be skipped.

But sifting through the hundreds of songs, covered by dozens of artists, can leave you feeling like you’ve had just a little bit too much eggnog.

So to help you craft the most festive collection for your holiday celebrations and to avoid serving up some duds, here’s a list of the five best and five worst Christmas songs.

Photo credit: Google/TheVerge

  • The Worst of the Worst #5: "Baby, it's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin

    The Worst of the Worst #5: "Baby, it's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin

    Slide 1 of 10

    I used to adore this song growing up. I loved the idea of getting snowed in with your significant other and drinking hot cocoa by the fire. 

    By as I’ve gotten older, I now realize how creepy the song is. Dean Martin is continually ignoring his lady friend’s wishes to leave. He’s grasping at straws to get her to stay. I’m mean, how could she possibly go when her hands are cold? Luckily for her, Dean’s there to warm them up.

    Another thing that’s unsettling to me is that he’s trying to get her drunk. He offers her another beverage, and the lady replies, “Say, what’s in this drink?” meaning either he put a lot of alcohol in it or it’s something more sinister. 

    Either way, I say hard pass, Dean Martin. 


    Photo credit: Google/

  • The Worst of the Worst #5: "Baby, it's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin

    The Worst of the Worst #4: "Santa Baby" by Eartha Kitt

    Slide 2 of 10

    I have two huge pet peeves: when people are overly flirtatious or overly greedy. Unfortunately, “Santa Baby” encompasses both. 

    Let’s start with the fact that Eartha is coming on to Santa pretty hard. First off, he’s happily married to Mrs. Claus. She needs to stop trying to break up their family. Second, he’s way too old for her! He was 1657 years old when she was born! It’s ridiculous for her to consider him. 

    Next, let’s talk about her Christmas list. A yacht? Blank checks? A platinum mine? Sheeze, lady! You’re going to make Santa go broke. Let’s save something for the children to open on Christmas.


    Photo credit: @ThinkstockComstockImages

  • The Worst of the Worst #5: "Baby, it's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin

    The Worst of the Worst #3: "Last Christmas" by Wham!

    Slide 3 of 10

    Oh man! Is there another Christmas song that is as much of a buzzkill as Wham!’s “Last Christmas”?

    If you’ve never heard it before, here’s a sample:

    Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
    But the very next day you gave it away
    This year, to save me from tears
    I'll give it to someone special.

    First off, he’s apparently not over the lady from last year because he’s singing this song directly to her. But, to be fair, it happens to best of us. 

    Hopefully, we learned our lessons a lot better than Wham! did. Instead of thinking that he should take his time getting into another relationship, he decides to rush into a new relationship. 

    Overall, I’ll take a more joyful song for my Christmas playlist. 


    Photo credit: Google/

  • The Worst of the Worst #5: "Baby, it's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin

    The Worst of the Worst #2: "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" by Elmo and Patsy

    Slide 4 of 10

    For years I thought this song was just a catchy theme song to the 2000 animated movie by the same title. But the song came first.

    I understand this song is supposed to be a novelty Christmas song, but there’s so much that bothers me. 

    First, the family in this song is super uncaring. They let their drunk grandma, who forget her medication, walk out into a snowstorm. I don’t care how much they pleaded; just don’t let her go! Plus her husband was at this same party. What a chump.

    Next, I don’t like that this song throws Santa under the bus, or should I say sleigh. He’s a jolly old fellow, not some careless murderer! He would never run over grandma.

    And to top it all off, this song is just awful. There’s no musical validity to it. It goes without saying that this song earned itself an automatic skip in my books.


    Photo credit: Youtube

  • The Worst of the Worst #5: "Baby, it's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin

    The Worst of the Worst #1:"Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney

    Slide 5 of 10

    I get it: Paul McCartney is one of the world’s greatest songwriters. I respect all that he’s contributed to music. But man, this song is awful.

    In fact, I  immediately become irate when I hear the song playing in a store because I can’t turn it off. I’m a helpless victim of this atrocious song.

    What makes this song so awful? First, the melody is over synthetic and doesn’t embody any Christmas spirit. And is it necessary to repeat “Simply having a wonderful Christmastime” fourteen times? I don’t think so.

    The worst part of this song is how long it stays stuck in your head. It’s infectious, kind of like the bubonic plague. 


    Photo credit: Youtube

  • The Worst of the Worst #5: "Baby, it's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin

    The Best of the Best #5: "Rockin' around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee

    Slide 6 of 10

    Picture this: Kevin McCallister hosting a one-man party in his living room so Harry and Marv, the Wet Bandits, don’t break in. What song is playing?

    That’s right! The good old classic “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” 

    But this song has merit outside of “Home Alone.” It’s the perfect go-to song for all your Christmas parties. It’s upbeat, fun-loving, and carries significant sentimental value (and not just because it tells us so). 

    The real kicker that makes this song on the top of the list is everyone in the family can join in on the singing. The lyrics are manageable for kids to learn, and no one can resist belting out, “In a new old-fashioned way.”


    Photo credit: Google/

  • The Worst of the Worst #5: "Baby, it's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin

    The Best of the Best #4: "I'll be Home for Christmas" by Bing Crosby

    Slide 7 of 10

    Can you even have a definitive ranking of Christmas songs if it doesn’t include Bing Crosby? His voice might as well be the spokes-voice for the entire month of December.

    So why does “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” edge out some of his other Christmas classics? The music is understated and light. His lyrics aren’t elaborate, but they embody everything about this time of year: snow, presents, decorations. Most importantly, it's all about family.

    If you’ve ever spent Christmas away from your family, the last line of “I’ll be home for Christmas/If only in my dreams” perfectly pulls at your heartstrings. For those of you spending the holidays with your loved ones, this song serves as the perfect reminder that making memories is the best gift you could receive.


    Photo credit:  Youtube

  • The Worst of the Worst #5: "Baby, it's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin

    The Best of the Best #3: "Silent Night" by Pentatonix

    Slide 8 of 10

    What I love most about “Silent Night” is the peace that this song carries. It brings to mind memories of candlelit midnight services on Christmas Eve. It’s a moment of stillness before the craziness of Christmas morning. If you haven’t listened to Pentatonix’s acapella cover of this song, check it out. It’s beautiful and exudes the Lord’s peace. 

    The only reason this song doesn’t top the list is because of two lyrics. (I know, I know. Who am I to criticize a nearly 200-year-old carol? But here we are.) 

    First, I can't image the night Jesus was born as very silent. Put yourself in Mary's shoes. She’s a teenage girl giving birth in a barn.  That couldn’t have felt great. Second, the description “tender and mild” brings to mind images of a Chick-fil-A sandwich, not the Savior of the world. 


    Photo credit: Youtube

  • The Worst of the Worst #5: "Baby, it's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin

    The Best of the Best #2: "O Holy Night" by Josh Groban

    Slide 9 of 10

    "O Holy Night" best captures the true meaning of Christmas. It best embodies humanity’s need for the birth of Jesus and why we should celebrate with grandeur! 

    Long lay the world in sin and error pining
    Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

    Without this one moment in history, we wouldn’t have access to God like we do today. That is something to celebrate! Can I get a hallelujah?!

    But clearly, this isn’t the only Christmas carol with a Christ-centered message. The powerful music is what makes this song stand out above the rest. It’s intense and builds to many emotional peaks. Combine this with Josh Groban’s angelic voice, and you’ve created a Christmas classic for the ages. 


    Photo credit: Youtube

  • The Worst of the Worst #5: "Baby, it's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin

    The Best of the Best #1: "All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey

    Slide 10 of 10

    Is there a more festive song than “All I Want For Christmas Is You”? (This is a trick question because there’s a “SuperFestive” version of this song featuring Justin Bieber).

    While I’m not usually a fan of relationship-related Christmas songs, the upbeat melody and perfect use of sleigh bells pumps me up. In fact, I one time ran 15 miles on a treadmill only listening to this Mariah Carey’s classic, and that was four months after Christmas. That’s how great this song is. 

    I know what you’re thinking. “How did such a commercialized, overplayed song make the top of this list?” Because it’s that good. Name another song that’s so widely accepted as a Christmas masterpiece. You can’t. It’s time to stop resisting Mariah’s powerful pipes and just let your heart sing along. Maybe even try a cute little box step with the chorus. You won’t regret it.  


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    Lindsey Brady is a brand-new wife and stepmother who loves to spend time in nature or going for long runs. When she's feeling a bit more sedentary, she'll watch an entire season of any Food Network show in a single sitting. You can follow her on Instagram at real.slim.brady