Our 10 Favourite Christmas Songs for Piano

As another week passes, we inch closer to that merriment that is Christmas!

Christmas can mean a lot of different things for different people. It’s a time to give. A time to receive. A time to be with family and friends. And it’s a time to reflect on your blessings and on those who may be struggling.

No matter what the holiday season means to you, music has always been a part of the tradition. Everyone knows the classic Christmas songs, but they are special to each of us in their own unique ways. And there is no better way to spread Christmas cheer than gathering around the piano and lifting your voices together in joy and song. It’s simply how we best express the feelings of the season!

Last week we took a look at some of our favourite holiday songs to sing along to. We’re going to continue that festive theme this week, with our 10 favourite Christmas songs for the piano! Because no matter how you may feel about them, these songs hold powerful Christmas magic!

Let it Snow

An American classical portrait of Christmas at its wintry best, “Let it Snow” was actually written in the middle of a sweltering California-summer heatwave. Written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn in 1945, this picturesque vision of the season became an instant hit and a perennial classic upon its very first recording.

Since then, “Let it Snow” has been recorded by dozens of the greats, from Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, and Doris Day, to Kylie Minogue, Jessica Simpson, and Sarah McLachlan.

Silent Night

The refined and delicate beauty of this hymn-like Christmas masterpiece is undeniable. Originally composed by a young priest names Joseph Mohr, and church organist Franz Xavier Gruber in 1818, it has easily become one of the most heartfelt and enduring of the seasonal classics. While many Christmas songs focus much more on the fanfare and celebration of the holiday, “Silent Night” is a much more meditative and reflective moment.

Written by a holy man in the humble little town of Oberndorf, Austria, “Silent Night” has been celebrated by artist from all over the musical spectrum, including Josh Groban, Mariah Carey, Elvis Presley, Klaus Nomi, and basically every Christian choir across the globe.

Winter Wonderland

As Jaunty and jolly as the season it was written for, Richard Smith was inspired to write this Christmas gem after seeing Central Park blanketed in a fresh layer of snow. He wrote the lyrics while in a sanitarium, recovering from tuberculosis, and later recruited Felix Bernard to compose the music to accompany his words.

Since its first recording in 1934, “Winter Wonderland” has been recorded by countless artist, including Artie Shaw, Johnny Mercer, Johnny Mathis, and even Radiohead!

Jingle Bells

You might not know it, but this song, widely known as the most classic of classic Christmas songs, isn’t really even about Christmas (it’s about Thanksgiving!). Not only that, it wasn’t a hit when it first came out! Though it was written in 1857, it wasn’t until Bing Crosby teamed up with the Andrew Sisters in 1945, recording the version here, that it was elevated to the Christmas classic that it is today.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Two people in love. Crackling banter. A warm, sizzling fire. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has become one of the most deeply romantic Christmas songs around.

Written by Frank Loesser back in 1944, the song is made up of a scintillating back-and-forth between a couple caught on a wintry, stormy night. It’s widely seen as the greatest holiday duet ever written. And as such, it’s been covered by some incredible pairings, like Dinah Shore and Buddy Clarke, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, and Lady Gaga has performed it with both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tony Bennett.

Frosty The Snowman

Though it never actually mentions the holidays, this silly little ditty is a relatively recent addition to the holiday rotation. The weirdly sad song was written in 1950 by Walter E. Rollins and Steven Nelson, and originally recorded by Gene Autry the year after his massive Christmas hit “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Today, this fun tune is a holiday staple, but it took the 1959 animated TV special based on the song to get it there.

Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Another weird, but beloved masterpiece from the era of Christmas specials, “Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer” has become the ultimate in Christmas music. The character was first created in 1939 by Robert L. May, but it was May’s brother-in-law Johnny Marks who first immortalized him in song!

White Christmas

Few songs bring us the nostalgia, hope, and beauty of “White Christmas.” The classic was written by Irving Berlin in 1942 while living as a Jewish refuge from Tsarist Russia in Hollywood.

The iconic Bing Crosby was always attached to the song, but it was a gigantic flop the first year it came out. It wouldn’t be until the following year that it caught on, and its popularity has only continued to rise. Today it’s thought to be the best-selling single of all time.

Joy to the World

Easily one of the most uptempo Christmas songs out there, this spiritual classic is officially the most-published Christmas hymn in North America. Based on Psalm 98, “Joy to the World” was written by Isaac Watts and was first published all the way back in 1719, making it one of the most enduring holiday songs around.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I’m ending this list with a personal favourite. Composed by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, this timeless work of perfection expresses all the conflicting emotions we each experience during the holiday season. With a plaintive, melancholy melody that fits perfectly with the ironic lyrics, and canny chord progression, you can’t help but feel it all.

It’s the perfect blend of the many promises and demands of the season.

Did we miss your favourite Christmas song for the piano? There are so many to choose from! Let us know what your favourite Christmas classics are!