These Are the Best 33 Modern Christmas Songs to Add to Your Holiday Playlist

There’s a time and a place for “Jingle Bell Rock” and “White Christmas:” most likely a busy store while you’re doing some last-minute gift shopping. But when it comes to curating your at-home Christmas playlist, you might want something a little more modern. A little more diva. A little more Kelly Clarkson absolutely killing it on “Underneath the Tree.”

So if you’re looking to add some more pop to your holiday playlist, check out some newer Christmas songs below. Ranging from two Beatles’ takes on Christmas to Mariah Carey’s holiday classic, to Lil Nas X with a unique portrayal of Santa, there’s plenty to choose from. Get ready for nostalgia, (mostly) positive vibes, and a much more banging Christmas playlist.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You,” by Mariah Carey

How can we not start with the greatest modern Christmas song of all time??

“Merry Christmas” by Ed Sheeran & Elton John

In 2021, Ed Sheeran teamed up with music legend Elton John for “Merry Christmas,” a holiday song which also reflects on that very rough year.

“Underneath the Tree,” by Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson’s hit from her 2013 Christmas album, Wrapped in Red, has a similar theme to Mariah Carey’s classic: All she needs underneath her Christmas tree is her boo.

“One More Sleep,” by Leona Lewis

Leona Lewis may be best known for her song “Bleeding Love,” but she joined the ranks of pop stars with great Christmas albums with 2013’s Christmas, with Love. Her single “One More Sleep” is about love and the excitement of the night before Christmas.

“How Could This Be Christmas?” by Mandy Moore

Mandy Moore released a slower, sadder take on the holiday pop song with 2020’s “How Could This Be Christmas?” Keep tissues at the ready.

“Christmas Lights,” by Coldplay

Speaking of holiday songs that are kind of a bummer… “Christmas Lights” by Coldplay is a Christmas-themed breakup song. Listen as Chris Martin takes you on a journey of a man not exactly enjoying the holiday sights all alone.

“Cozy Little Christmas,” by Katy Perry

On a completely different note: Leave it to Katy Perry to pair her Christmas song with a video in which she and a nude Santa get a couples massage from fake reindeer.

“Wonderful Christmastime,” by Paul McCartney

Take it back to an earlier Christmas pop song with Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” from 1979. (Or, if you prefer, check out Harry Styles’s cover.)

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono feat. the Harlem Community Choir

Paul McCartney’s not the only Beatle to release a Christmas song that’s still heard every year. But John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” is the only one on this list that doubles as a war protest song.

“My Gift Is You,” by Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani released a Christmas album in 2017 full of classic holiday covers and new love songs, like the über-catchy “My Gift Is You.”

“Where Are You Christmas,” by Faith Hill

Anyone who saw How the Grinch Stole Christmas will remember this song from Faith Hill. In the movie it was sung by Cindy Lou Who, played by bb Taylor Momsen.

“Snowman,” by Sia

Did you know Sia has a Christmas album too?? Her single “Snowman” from the 2017 album Everyday Is Christmas had a real moment on TikTok in 2020.

“Make It to Christmas,” by Alessia Cara

This song sounds upbeat, but TBH the lyrics are kind of sad. Hey, we need some musical balance, right? Alessia’s song is about hoping a relationship can survive through the holidays.

“Make You Mine This Season,” by Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara’s “Make You Mine This Season” is from the 2020 Kristen Stewart rom-com Happiest Season. If you’ve been searching for a fun indie pop Christmas song, here you go.

“Glittery,” by Kacey Musgraves feat. Troye Sivan

When Kacey Musgraves hosted The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show in 2019, she duetted with Troye Sivan on “Glittery.” The song is about having a person in your life at the holidays who makes you feel ~glittery~.

“I Need You Christmas,” by the Jonas Brothers

The first Jonas Brothers song on our list can be played year-round, no judgment.

“Oh Santa,” by Mariah Carey feat. Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson

Three of music’s biggest stars combined their powers into one single Christmas song, which debuted during Mariah’s 2020 Christmas special, so what more is there to say, really? Get listening!

“It’s Not Christmas ’Til Somebody Cries,” by Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen joined the Christmas music party with “It’s Not Christmas ’Til Somebody Cries.” This song includes relatable lyrics like, “My boyfriend is a vegan so they fed him fish / My uncle made it worse by talking politics.” Don’t you feel seen?

“Holiday,” by Lil Nas X

There aren’t enough rap holiday songs, IMO, but fortunately, Lil Nas X is here to add to the list. The song might not be that specifically about the holidays, but the music video where he plays a futuristic Santa def is.

“Santa Tell Me,” by Ariana Grande

It is hard to come out with a Christmas song that becomes an instant classic, but Ariana Grande went there with “Santa Tell Me.” The song came out in 2014, but you’ll still hear it played during holiday shopping each season.

“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,” by NSYNC

In 1998, a ramen-noodle-hair-era Justin Timberlake and the rest of the guys released a Christmas album that included this catchy holiday song. The video is…in a word…chaotic.

“My Only Wish (This Year),” by Britney Spears

Obviously Britney Spears released a Christmas song, too! In “My Only Wish (This Year),” the singer asks Santa to leave her a boyfriend under the tree.

“Christmas Tree Farm,” by Taylor Swift

Did you know Taylor Swift spent part of her childhood living on a Christmas tree farm? You sure will after watching this video, which is full of clips of little Taylor roaming around in the snow.

“Mistletoe,” by Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber has gone through a lot over the years, but back in 2011, he was just a teenager singing about kissing under the mistletoe while fake snow floated down on him.

“You Make It Feel Like Christmas,” by Gwen Stefani feat. Blake Shelton

This duet is about both Christmas and Gwen finding love again with Blake Shelton after her divorce. “We’re gonna be a classic for all time,” she sings. But will this song be a classic for all time? So far, so good.

“Christmas in Hollis,” by Run-DMC

“Christmas in Hollis” is a rare hip-hop Christmas classic. It’s a simple song about home-cooked food, snow on the ground, and Santa leaving a biiiiig bag of cash under the tree.

“What Christmas Means to Me,” by John Legend feat. Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder’s “What Christmas Means to Me” is a classic—and a modern classic, if we’re comparing the 1967 song to, say, “Silent Night.” But if you want an even more recent version, John Legend recorded the song for his 2018 album A Legendary Christmas.

“8 Days of Christmas,” by Destiny’s Child

Destiny’s Child recorded their own take on “The 12 Days of Christmas” with lyrics that could not be more early aughts: “On the third day of Christmas, my baby gave to me / A gift certificate to get my favorite CDs.” A Christmas time capsule!

“Christmas Makes Me Cry,” by Kacey Musgraves

If you’re feeling emosh this Christmas, this song will do the trick. You and Kacey can cry together.

“Like It’s Christmas,” by the Jonas Brothers

The Jonas Brothers had a big comeback year in 2019, and that included the release of a Christmas single about every day feeling like Christmas when you’re with the one you love. Aww.

“Christmas Wrapping,” by the Waitresses

This is that song you hear in every grocery store during the holidays but you just never knew the name of it. Well, it’s “Christmas Wrapping,” by the Waitresses. You’re welcome.

“Last Christmas,” by Wham!

Wham!’s “Last Christmas” has an overwhelmingly ’80s music video, inspired an entire movie, and will be stuck in your head until the new year.

“Last Christmas,” by Ariana Grande

Want to switch things up? Ariana also covered the Wham! classic and made it her own. Happy listening!

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