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Top 10 Holiday Songs…That Don’t Mention Christmas

by Kimberly on December 15, 2010 · 14 comments

It starts as early as October. It catches you a little off guard when you first hear it. You’re usually our shopping when all of a sudden this little ear worm catches you. Then it happens…you can’t help it…all of a sudden…

You’re singing Christmas songs.

The holidays are generally associated with family, presents, religious merriment, lights, and decorations. But another very important element we often associate with this time of year is music. Whether caroling with neighbors, listening to songs at church, or watching the Christmas episode of Glee, the music of the season helps make the season.

As a music therapist, Christmas songs generally play an important role in my sessions this time of year. It brings comfort to the patients I’ve seen in the hospital and has helped create fond memories for the trauma-influenced children I’ve gone caroling with.

But Christmas is also a Christian holiday…and not all of the clients I see are Christian. So it’s my responsibility to have in my repertoire songs that both celebrate other holidays associated with this time of year (such as Hannukah and the Solstice) as well as non-sacred songs.

With that in mind, here is a list of my top 10 favorite holiday songs–that don’t mention Christmas:

  1. Deck the Hall. This may be the most traditional-sounding, non-Christmas holiday song on this list. A classic song that will put you in the mood to do some decorating.
  2. My Dreydl. Maybe this stems from my years as the Children’s Music Coordinator at my local Unitarian church, but this song screams “Hannukah” to me!
  3. Let It Snow, Let It Snow/Winter Wonderland. I kind of cheated by combining these two songs, but they are both romantic songs that bring up lovely visions of snow and cuddling up next to a fire.
  4. Jingle Bells. This may be one of the first holiday songs children learn and remember. I like it for the story the verses tell (and, yes, there’s more than one verse!).
  5. The Holly and the Ivy. Wait…isn’t this a Christmas song? I’ve included this song on the list because, even though there are Christian verses available, I learned the non-Christian version that doesn’t mention Mary and Jesus. This is a great song to help celebrate the Solstice.
  6. Baby It’s Cold Outside. Let It Snow and Winter Wonderland may be the most romantic holiday songs on this list…but this one’s the sexiest.
  7. Here We Come A Caroling (The Wassail Song). A classic English song that, every year, reminds me that I’ve always wanted to try wassail.
  8. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. This song is old-school and, with it’s message to “be of good cheer,” puts a smile on my face every time I sing it and hear it.
  9. Sleigh Ride. I remember playing this song in band every single year in high school. And, in a rather informal poll on Facebook and Twitter, this song was the one mentioned most as people’s favorite holiday song that doesn’t mention Christmas.
  10. The Chanukkah Song. What can I say? This song makes me laugh…every single time. Adam Sandler’s answer to #2 being the only Hannukah song available?

So did one of your non-Christmas songs not make the list? Let us know by leaving a comment below!


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kellee Coviak December 15, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I like to use “Over the River and Through the Woods”. Technically, it’s a Thanksgiving song, but most people associate it with Christmas.

Beth Spear December 16, 2010 at 10:23 am

You really need to try wassail! It is yummy! I remember having it at a Madrigal show awhile back. Thanks for the songs. :) Happy Holidays! The kids I work with love “Jingle Bell rock!”

Parker December 16, 2010 at 4:27 pm

“Hark The Herald Angels Sing” trumps. Who can deny the final scene of a Charlie Brown Christmas when all the peanuts chime in?
.-= Parker´s last blog ..How Are The Lyrics And Tune Of A Song Processed =-.

Natalie Mullis, MT-BC December 17, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I had totally forgotten about The Holly and the Ivy. I sang that in my junior college as part of our madrigal dinner! Memories!!

dJ November 27, 2011 at 7:23 am

“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” does mention Christmas: “there’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.” (Is telling ghost stories a Christmas tradition I’ve missed out on?)

Kimberly November 27, 2011 at 10:26 am

Good point! And I’m not sure. Those lyrics remind me of the story of Scrooge and his visits from the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. I wonder which came first… ~Kimberly

Steve November 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Actually, “Deck the Halls” refers to the 12 days of Christmas (Yuletide)

Blue June November 14, 2013 at 8:58 pm

A Christmas Carol was written over a century before “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

Christy Stras December 12, 2013 at 11:12 am

Jingle Bell Rock Also…

Christy Stras December 12, 2013 at 11:42 am

Frosty The Snowman doesn’t have any Christmas reference either… technically. March 22, 2014 at 11:05 am

Good website. My thanks for posting this. I will come to this site to find out more and tell my friends about this.

pol November 21, 2014 at 10:28 pm

my friends and I made a “holiday” song. It mentions Christmas, though. Sorry.

Nancy @ Little Homestead in Boise December 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Santa Claus is Back in Town by Trish Yearwood, and by Elvis. Cute!!!

Anon December 10, 2014 at 6:48 am

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a date rape song.

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