43 Best Christmas Guitar Songs to Play During the Holidays

christmas song chords

Written by: Cody

Updated: Dec 4, 2022

Oh Christmas time, the most wonderful time of the year. If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit by learning some Christmas guitar songs, this collection of classic songs is a great place to start.

There are a ton of popular Christmas songs and various renditions of each to choose from. However, in this list, I selected the best 40+ classic Christmas songs that everyone knows.

Now, of course, almost every one of these songs have been re-recorded by various artists over the years. I tried to select the most popular version of each song, however, if you like one artist’s version better than the one I selected, you may just need to find the specific song chords/tabs for that version.

Furthermore, if you’d rather have an officially tabbed book of Christmas songs, I’d recommend checking out these popular Amazon options:

Without further ado, check out the full list of Christmas guitar songs below and start spreading some holiday cheer through song.

What Are the Best Christmas Guitar Songs?

1. “Jingle Bell Rock” By Bobby Helms

American country singer Bobby Helms released this song in ‘57. The talented musician died early from lung problems. Another one of his most popular songs is “Fraulein”.

“Jingle Bell Rock” is one of the most fun songs to learn on the guitar. Not only that, but it’s also one of the most recognizable Christmas tunes. 

2. “Wonderful Christmastime” By Paul McCartney

This song still brings in a lot of money for McCartney. It’s a timeless staple Christmas song. “Wonderful Christmastime” is in the top 20 of the most-streamed Christmas songs, which is very impressive knowing how many Christmas songs exist. 

This isn’t the easiest song to play on the guitar, but it’s absolutely worth the time and effort. 

3. “Run Run Rudolph” By Chuck Berry

This catchy tune by American musician Chuck Berry, aka Charles Edward Anderson Berry, was released in ‘58. 

Fun fact, Charles was sued for songwriting credits by American songwriter Johnny Marks for using the trademarked name ‘Rudolph’, even though he did not write any of the lyrics. 

4. “Jingle Bells” By Michel Cortez

“Jingle Bells” is one of the easiest and most fun songs to learn on the guitar. The song is one of the most popular Christmas hits and is known worldwide. 

If you’re a beginner guitar player and you want to learn a song that everyone can sing along to, this might be your best bet. 

Read Next: 52 Best Easy Guitar Songs (Start Learning Guitar With These)

5. “Step Into Christmas” By Elton John

Elton John is an iconic artist, which he proves in many of his songs. “Step Into Christmas” was released in ‘74 on his “Caribou” album. It was not one of his most successful albums, but Elton did sell plenty of copies. 

The song is perfect for beginners to learn to play the guitar. It’s simple and beautiful. 

6. “Deck the Halls” By Nat King Cole

American musician and actor Nat King Cole, aka Nathaniel Adams Coles, released several Christmas bangers, one of which is “Deck the Halls”. You can find it on his famous “The Magic of Christmas” album, released in ‘60.

The song isn’t original. It’s based on a Welsh melody made centuries ago and lyrics released in 1862.  

7. “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” By Kidsongs

The American children’s media franchise Kidsongs made a version of this song of which the origin is unclear. We do know that the well-known version of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is from England. 

Both the lyrics and instrumental of the carol are very simple and easy to learn. If you’re a beginner guitar player, you should give this song a try. 

8. “Joy To The World” By Nat King Cole

This one is another Christmas classic from Nat King Cole. The Jazz artist created several fantastic Christmas songs. It really shows how much of a creative genius the man was. 

Joy to the World” isn’t an original Nat King Cole song. It was first written by English minister Isaac Watts in 1719. Although most of us probably recognize the Nat King Cole version the most.

9. “Silver Bells” By Dean Martin

American singer and actor Dean Martin covered “Silver Bells”, like many other musicians, including John Legend and Elvis Presley. Jay Livingston and Ray Evans wrote it for a film in ‘51, and Martin released his cover in ‘66. Elvis Presley looked up to Dean Martin and called him ‘The King of Cool’. 

The song is pretty slow and relatively simple to play. The video lesson I linked above plays the song in a beautiful fingerpicking style so if you’re into fingerpicking give this one a try.

Read Next: Top 70+ Greatest Fingerpicking Songs for Guitarists

10. “O Come All Ye Faithful” By Casting Crowns

Originally a Christmas carol in Latin named ‘Adeste Fideles’, of which the original creator is not 100% certain, possibly originates from the 17th century or earlier. The hymn was translated into English in 1841. Casting Crowns covered the song in 2008. 

O Come All Ye Faithful” is not for beginner guitar players. It’s quite fast-paced and uses some quick chord changes. However, if you’re an intermediate guitar play, with a bit of practice you should be able to nail this one down in a relatively short period of time.

11. “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” By Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby released his cover of the popular song in ‘51, the same year musician Meredith Willson wrote it. Many artists have since covered it over the years. 

It’s not the easiest song to play on the guitar, but “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” is slow-paced. 

12. “Holly Jolly Christmas” By Burl Ives

Holly Jolly Christmas” is another well-known song with a catchy sound. Burl Ives released a cover of the song written by Johnny Marks in ‘65. The song was first recorded by The Quinto Sisters (a vocal group of six sisters) in ‘64. 

The song has a medium tempo and uses some relatively basic guitar chords. It’s a great one to sing along with family and friends.

13. “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” By John Lennon

John Lennon composed this song with his wife, Yoko Ono, which they released in ‘71. It’s one of the Christmas songs on the list with a deeper meaning, as the title might suggest. 

Mastering the chords on your guitar might take a while, but the song is repetitive, so the number of chords you have to learn to play the song is limited.  

14. “Silent Night” By Frank Sinatra

The song originated in Austria, where it was composed in 1818 by a teacher and a priest in German. It was translated into English in 1859. Sinatra released his cover in ‘46, and many of the biggest artists followed in his footsteps, including Sinéad O’Connor and Elvis Presley. 

Silent Night” is a very slow song with easy chords; it’s fantastic for beginners. 

15. “Let It Snow!” By Dean Martin

Here we have another fantastic Dean Martin cover. “Let It Snow!” was written by Samuel Cohen and Jule Styne. The original version was sung by musician and actor Vaughn Wilton Monroe in ‘45. Other artists that released covers of the song are Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Michael Bublé. 

“Let It Snow” is for intermediate guitar players. It’s a faster song but with simple chords. 

16. “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” By Frank Sinatra

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing ” is based on a religious text and originated in 1739. Two early Methodist leaders slightly altered the lyrics. More changes happened over the years to get to the version we know today. Sinatra wasn’t the only musician that covered the song; Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, etc., did as well. 

The song is perfect for beginner guitar players. It’s simple to learn and play, so you’ll figure it out in no time. 

17. “Twelve Days of Christmas” By Bing Crosby

This isn’t the last Bing Crosby song we’ll encounter in this article. The song’s first publication was in the 18th century. “Twelve Days of Christmas” changed a lot over the years and has been covered by many artists, like Sinatra and John Denver. 

The song isn’t the easiest to play, but it’s perfectly manageable for beginner guitar players. 

18. “The First Noel” By Frank Sinatra

The version we know today of this song was first published in the early 19th century. Sinatra released his cover in ‘48 on his Christmas album. Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston also covered the song. 

The First Noel” is a slow-paced song with limited chords, making it ideal for beginners. 

19. “Away In a Manger” By Nat King Cole

The oldest (published) version of the song originated in the 1880s, but it’s unknown where it comes from exactly. It was covered by plenty of artists, including Eric Clapton, Kenny Rogers, and The Judds. 

The chords of “Away In a Manger” are simple and repetitive. If you’re a beginner, you should try learning this song on the guitar. 

20. “We Three Kings” By John Hopkins

“We Three Kings” is another song that is quite easy to learn on the guitar. Most Christmas songs are quite simple, lyrically and musically.

Simple tunes are often more catchy; that’s why Christmas songs are so popular. This John Henry Hopkins Jr. Christmas carol, written in 1857, is no different. 

21. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” By Mariah Carey

I probably don’t have to tell you how popular “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is. Who doesn’t know this fantastic Christmas hit? You can hear the song everywhere in the months prior to Christmas; there’s no way to escape it. 

It isn’t the easiest song to learn, but imagine the bragging rights you get when you’ve mastered the song. 

Read Next: 19 Best Karaoke Songs for Women (Impress Everyone)

22. “Frosty The Snow Man” By Walter Rollins

American musician and actor Orvon Grover “Gene” Autry was the first to release a recording of the song 1950. It was co-written by Walter E. “Jack” Rollins, an American country musician. 

Frosty the Snow Man” can be learned on the guitar by beginner players, but it might not be the easiest song to start with. If you’ve learned the basics of guitar playing, you should be able to learn this song rather quickly. 

23. “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” By Elmo & Patsy

The song was released in ‘79 by Elmo Shropshire and his former wife Patsy Trigg. It’s country singer Elmo’s most popular song, written by songwriter Randy Brooks. It’s a rather dark song, but it’s Christmas-themed nonetheless. 

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” isn’t an overly complicated song to learn although it does use 10 chords in total. So be prepared to make a few chord changes throughout this one.

Read Next: Top 10 Easy Country Songs on Guitar for Beginners

24. “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” By Michael Bublé

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was first recorded by singer and actress Judy Garland in ‘44. Some of the greatest artists later covered it, like Frank Sinatra, John Legend, and Michael Bublé. Bublé’s version ranked high in the charts. 

This is another song for intermediate guitar players. It’s a slow-paced song, but some of the chords are a little complicated. 

25. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” By Bing Crosby

The first recording of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” was by Bing Crosby in ‘49. Sinatra also released a cover in ‘57. 

I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is not a song for beginners. It takes some prior experience and skills to learn to play. 

26. “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” By Brenda Lee

American singer Brenda Lee released “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” in ‘58 when she was only 13 years old. It has since been covered plenty of times by some of the biggest artists, like Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Cyndi Lauper, and Chris Isaak. 

This song is certainly for more advanced guitar players. Those at an intermediate level should be able to master the song quickly. It’s a fast-paced and fun song to play. 

27. “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” By Gene Autry

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is our second song on this list featuring Rudolph. The original recording of the song is by Autry, released in ‘49 and it doesn’t seem like Autry was sued for his use of “Rudolph” in this one.

The song is repetitive, but once again, it has a fast pace. The chords are on the easier side, but it might not be suitable for absolute beginner guitar players. 

28. “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” By The Jackson 5

Who doesn’t know this hit song? The cover of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” by The Jackson 5 has known great success ever since its release in 1970. Artists like Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey have also covered the song from the early 90s. 

If you’re a beginner but want to take on some of the faster songs without getting too overwhelmed, you might want to learn this song. 

29. “O Christmas Tree” By Kidsongs

The song “O Christmas Tree” was translated from the original German “O Tannenbaum“, of which the lyrics we know today originated from the early 19th century. The English version has been covered plenty of times, including by the fantastic Nat King Cole in 1960. 

For this catchy song, you only really need to learn two chords. It’s easy and fun to play. 

30. “Christmas Time” By Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams is an iconic artist known for his beautiful guitar songs. The song was written by Adams and his songwriting partner James Douglas Vallance. “Christmas Time” was released in ‘85. 

Learning to play “Christmas Time” by Bryan Adams is rather easy. It has simple chords and is very repetitive. 

Read Next: 20 Easy Guitar Pop Songs (From Classic to Modern Hits)

31. “Last Christmas” By Wham!

Wham! released this Christmas hit in ‘84. It’s the 2nd most streamed Christmas song up to this day, right behind the Mariah Carey song “All I Want For Christmas is You”.  

It’s one of the Christmas tunes with deeper lyrics. A heartbreaking love song that still manages to bring the Christmas spirit into every home. 

Read Next: 31 Guitar Love Songs Guys Learn to Impress Girls

32. “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” By Andy Williams

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was first released in ‘63 by American singer Howard Andrew Williams. Many smaller and bigger artists later covered it, and some of these covers have been pretty successful, like those by Kylie Minogue and Jennifer Lopez. 

This Andy Williams song is perfect for intermediate players with its fast pace and many guitar chords. 

33. “Winter Wonderland” By Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby has managed to cover several Christmas songs and turned those covers into great successes. “Winter Wonderland” was first released in ‘34 by American musician Richard Himber. Some of the artists who covered the song were Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, and Bing Crosby (in 1962). 

This song might sound rather easy, but it’s actually a bit more difficult than you’d expect. If you’re a complete beginner, you’ll probably struggle a lot. Some experience is necessary. 

34. “Little Drummer Boy” By Bing Crosby

This is the last Bing Crosby song on the list. The original song was written in ‘41 by American artist and teacher Katherine Kennicott Davis. “Little Drummer Boy” has since been covered by the likes of Johnny Cash, Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, and the Jackson 5. 

“Little Drummer Boy“ is an absolute joy to learn on the guitar. It’s slow and beautiful; definitely, something that will impress your friends and family. 

35. “Feliz Navidad” By Jose Feliciano

Feliz Navidad” was written by the Puerto Rican musician Feliciano in 1970. It was covered by Boney M., Celine Dion, and The Wiggles. 

“Feliz Navidad“ is a very catchy song with a simple chord progression. It’s one of the easiest and most fun Christmas songs to learn.

36. “The Christmas Song” By Nat King Cole

We finally come across another Nat king Cole banger. “The Christmas Song“ was written in ‘45 and first recorded in ‘46 by Nat King Cole. “The Christmas Song” was covered by Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, José Feliciano, etc.

This Nat King Cole song is difficult to learn. It’s complex and probably only suitable for advanced guitar players. 

37. “Angels We Have Heard on High” By Josh Groban

Angels We Have Heard on High“ has a French origin. It’s a religious hymn, with the first known publication in 1842. American singer and actor Josh Groban released his cover in 2007. 

As a beginner, you can learn to play “Angels We Have Heard on High“ on the guitar. It’s might take you some time to master, but it’s generally quite repetitive and has simple chords. 

38. “Blue Christmas” By Elvis Presley

Surprisingly, Elvis has sold the most Christmas albums of all time. “Blue Christmas” was on his extremely popular “Elvis’ Christmas Album,” which was his first ever Christmas album, released in ‘57. 

“Blue Christmas” is a great song for beginner guitar players. It’s easy and fun; you’ll get right into the Christmas spirit. 

39. “Here Comes Santa Claus” By Gene Autry

Here Comes Santa Claus“ was originally written and recorded by American musician and actor Orvon Grover “Gene” Autry in ‘47.

“Here Comes Santa Claus“ on the guitar is blissful and fun to play. It’s simple and repetitive but pretty fast. Still, It’s perfectly manageable for beginners to learn. 

40. “Ring Christmas Bells” By Ray Conniff

Ring Christmas Bells“ was originally composed in 1914 by Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych and Peter J. Wilhousky, both of which were composers, conductors, and teachers. Ray Conniff and The Ray Conniff Singers covered the song in ‘62. 

This song isn’t for the faint of heart. Learning this fast-paced and repetitive song can be a bit of a challenge. 

41. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” By Carrie Underwood

In 2007, Carrie Underwood covered the Christmas song originally written by Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne and recorded by Harry Simeone Chorale in ‘62. “Do You Hear What I Hear?“ was covered several times by artists like the Carpenters, Whitney Houston, and Gloria Gaynor. 

This Carrie Underwood song is fun to learn, and it’s simple enough for beginners. The chords aren’t the easiest but are limited. 

42. “What Child Is This?” By Martina McBride

What Child Is This?” was written by English writer William Chatterton Dix in 1865. The sound used is that of the folk song ‘Greensleeves’ from the 16th century. The tune is very recognizable. 

This might be one of the most beautiful songs to play on a guitar. It’s simple but breathtaking. The slow pace and limited chords make it perfect for beginners. 

43. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” By John Mellencamp

Thomas Patrick Connor wrote the song in ‘52, and it was first recorded by American musician and actor Jimmy Devon Boyd. American musician John Mellencamp released his cover in ‘87. 

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause“ is not suitable for beginner guitar players. Those at an intermediate level might be able to learn it with some time and patience. 

Final Thoughts

This list of Christmas song chords and tabs should give you a good starting point of classic songs you can learn that everyone will sing along to.

Certain songs are more guitar-focused than others, however, the chord progressions and song structure for each one are all fairly easy to play.

Did I miss any classic Christmas songs that you love to listen to during the holiday season? Let me know in the comments section below what your favorite Christmas song is!

Merry Christmas 🙂

About Cody
Cody is the founder of Musician Tuts, a free tutorial hub for musicians. He has over 15 years of experience playing a variety of instruments and dabbling in audio engineering. He spends his days blogging, listening to Spotify, and playing music.

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1 Comment

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    I love Christmas music! These are some of my favorite guitar songs to play during the holidays.


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