19 Pop Christmas Songs to Play if You're Going for a More Modern Holiday

Never has a holiday season demanded upbeat Christmas music more than this one, but to be honest? After many many years worth of Decembers, the classics are getting a little old. There’s definitely a time and a place for Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” but sometimes, modern Christmas songs are exactly what we’re looking for. There are few things better than combining Taylor Swift and Christmas, right?

Below are perfect, poppy Christmas songs that will make a fun addition to any holiday playlist. And I promise you: No renditions of “The Christmas Shoes” are to be found on this list.

“I Need You Christmas” – Jonas Brothers

For two years in a row, the Jonas Brothers have given us a Christmas song, and what a gift this one is. It’s perfect for those of us who have been feeling a little down lately (read: everyone) and know what it’s like to be desperate for some holiday cheer.

“Oh Santa” — Mariah Carey ft. Ariana Grande & Jennifer Hudson

Here, three of the most powerful voices in music combined their powers into one Christmas song which debuted during Carey’s Christmas special. Being that Mariah Carey is Christmas, this song is all we ever needed.

“Last Christmas” – Ariana Grande

There are a lot of versions of “Last Christmas” out there (two make this list!), but of all the more recent takes on it, Grande’s comes in first. She took this classic and totally made it her own, singing about a little holiday heartbreak.

“It’s Not Christmas ‘Til Somebody Cries” – Carly Rae Jepsen

Our pop queen is here to save Christmas with one of the most relatable holiday songs ever. With lyrics that are so timely they even include the theme of arguing with your family about politics, it’s hard to imagine anything more on point for 2020.

“Holiday” – Lil Nas X

There aren’t enough rap holiday songs, but fortunately, Lil Nas X is here to add to the list. Plus, the music video includes him in the role of a futuristic Santa.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey

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

“Santa Tell Me” – Ariana Grande

It is hard to come out with a Christmas song that becomes a new classic, but Ariana Grande made a valiant effort with “Santa Tell Me.” The song came out in 2014, but you’ll still hear it played while you’re doing your holiday shopping.

“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” – *NSYNC

In 1998, a ramen-noodl-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)” – 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” – 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” – Justin Bieber

We’ve gone through a lot with Justin Bieber 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” – Gwen Stefani featuring Blake Shelton

This duet is about both Christmas and Gwen Stefani 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? We shall see.

“Christmas in Hollis” – 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 big bag of cash under the tree.

“What Christmas Means to Me” – John Legend featuring 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, “Joy to the World.” 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” – Destiny’s Child

Destiny’s Child recorded their own take on “The Twelve 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” – Kacey Musgraves

If you need to get some emotions out this Christmas, this song should do the trick. You and Kacey can cry together.

“Like It’s Christmas” – Jonas Brothers

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

“Christmas Wrapping” – The Waitresses

It’s that song that 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” – 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. Happy listening!

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