For any grinches who insisted that holiday music wait until after their Thanksgiving feasts, your time is up.
The Christmas countdown is officially on, and the most wonderful music of the year is here to soundtrack the festivities. For pop fans, that means breaking out Britney’s “My Only Wish (This Year),” NSYNC’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,” and, of course, a decent slice of Christmas Queen Mariah Carey’s catalog. But if you want to spice up those yuletide playlists with some fresh picks, we’ve rounded up all the best new, original holiday songs released this year. Happy listening!
“Like It’s Christmas” – Jonas Brothers
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: JB’s reunion is truly the gift that keeps on giving. The brotherly trio have dabbled in Xmas music before, with “Girl of My Dreams” in 2007 and “Joyful Kings” in 2008. But “Like It’s Christmas” is on a much, much higher level. Here, the guys deliver a certified, loved-up bop filled with horns, sleigh bells, and falsettos galore. The message is simple: “You make every day feel like it’s Christmas / Every day that I’m with you.”
“Litmas” – DRAM
DRAM is no stranger to festive tuneage, having released the #1EpicHoliday EP in 2017. Two years later, he’s stirring up more posi Christmas vibes with “Litmas,” a grooving number about how the holidays make him feel. “When the tree gets lit up, I get happy / It makes me feel lit up and so happy.” There’s nothing complicated about it; like DRAM himself, it’s perfectly chill and cheerful.
“A Hand For Mrs. Claus” – Idina Menzel ft. Ariana Grande
Santa Claus gets all the glory around this time of year, but this upbeat, jazzy duet featuring the Wicked star and Wicked super-fan shines a spotlight on St. Nick’s better half. The powerhouse singers trade verses about putting some respect on Mrs. Claus’s name, belting about “the gal who runs the show” the other 364 days a year. We see you, Mama Claus!
“Holiday-ish” – The Regrettes ft. Dylan Minnette
This jangling original was co-written by The Regrettes frontwoman Lydia Night and her real-life boyfriend, Wallows member and 13 Reasons Why star Minnette. Together, they paint a picture of a holiday that doesn’t quite look like a Hallmark movie. “And the snow won’t fall / And the fire’s too hot / And when my family calls / Will I pick up or not?” they sing, ultimately deciding that none of those things really matter as long as they’re together.
“First Christmas (That I Loved You)” – Shameik Moore
The multi-talented Moore pulls double duty for Netflix’s Let It Snow. Along with starring as the musician heartthrob Stuart, Moore also contributes an original tune to the YA rom-com’s soundtrack. “First Christmas (That I Loved You)” is a twinkling, sentimental slow jam about celebrating the first Christmas that you’re in love — and hoping it isn’t the last.
“Love You Even More At Christmas Time” – Kelly Rowland
Kelly just does Christmas right. Almost two decades after Destiny’s Child gifted us the classic 8 Days of Christmas, Rowland is back with a feel-good bop taken from her upcoming Lifetime movie, Merry Liddle Christmas. “Nothing could be better than this night with you, making angels in the snow,” the R&B veteran sings. “Seeing you laugh just lets me know, happiness is everywhere we go.” By the time the chorus rolls around, she’s getting “cozy-close” with that special someone and cooing, “Baby, honey, sugar, you know I love you even more at Christmas time.”
“All I Want (For Christmas)” – Liam Payne
Don’t be fooled by the title — this is the polar opposite of Mariah Carey’s similarly named Christmas classic. Here, poor Payne-o croons a lovesick ballad about holding on to someone for the holidays, against all odds. But he’s not the only one heartbroken for the holidays…
“Make It to Christmas” – Alessia Cara
Like Payne, AC took the emotional route for her first foray into the world of Christmas music, singing a deceptively upbeat tune about a love growing cold as her fave holiday approaches. All those festive strings and bells can’t mask her anxiousness as she asks her partner, “This time of year is precious / Please, can we make it to Christmas?”
“Christmas Vibez” – Ne-Yo
If winter just isn’t your vibe, then Ne-Yo has the holiday jam for you. The R&B star takes the spirit of the season to the islands with his reggae-tinged “Christmas Vibez,” featuring Dre Island and Satori. All three set a serene scene where “our Christmas tree’s a palm tree” and time is better spent in “the warm summer sun” than somewhere frosty. Because, as they sagely point out, “Everything they do with snow we can do with the sand.”
“December, Darling” – Meg & Dia
This is the kind of twinkling ballad that would make any grinch’s heart grow three sizes. “When I see the stars on trees a’ sparkling / That’s how I know it’s December, darling,” the indie duo sing over a soothing piano, making you believe this really could be the most worry-free time of the year.
“Coming Home for Christmas” – Emma Bunton
Emma trades in her “spice” for something a little sweeter on this acoustic guitar-driven number, which is all about the anticipation of reuniting with a loved one for the holidays. “I’m coming home for Christmas, so wait for me,” she repeats, and when you see that glowing smile of hers in the accompanying visual, you’ll want to do exactly that.
“Christmas in New York” – Lea Michele
Michele performed her fair share of Christmas classics during her six seasons on Glee, but this year, she’s made an entire album packed with holiday standards and cute duets. There’s also one original number, “Christmas in New York,” a tribute to the starlet’s first home. Michele sings about all the iconic NYC scenes — from Broadway to Macy’s to a snowy Central Park — with wide-eyed wonderment. Rachel Berry would totally approve.
“Loneliest Time Of Year” – Mabel
If you’ve ever felt like a grinch around the holidays — and then felt bad about feeling so bad — Mabel has the song for you. Here, the U.K. pop star battles the winter blues and hopes she’s not the only one feeling so down in the dumps. “Sorry I’m not so merry / But I feel like this yearly / Christmastime isn’t my vibe / Brings no joy into my life,” she laments over a finger-snapping beat, tapping into an all-too-relatable sentiment of the season. Who can relate?!
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – John Legend ft. Kelly Clarkson
OK, so this wintertime duet isn’t exactly new or original, but considering what Legend and Clarkson do with it, it might as well be. It’s no secret that “Baby” is controversial and cringe-y by 2019 standards, which is why the two singers, along with Insecure‘s Natasha Rothwell, rewrote it to bring the creepiness factor way, way down. Legend, for example, gives Clarkson plenty of affirmations and assurances like “It’s your body and your choice,” and even offers to get her a ride instead of repeatedly trying to convince her to stay the night. We love a festive feminist.
“Holiday Dreaming” – Molly Burch
Taken from Burch’s bop-filled indie Christmas album, “Holiday Dreaming” is less about December 25 and more generally about the cozy season surrounding it — which, as she optimistically notes, is “the season of believin’.” “I wanna be the one that you’re also dreaming of,” she sings on the warm, wistful tune, which will surely strike a chord with everyone who has a Christmas crush this year.
“One I’ve Been Missing” – Little Mix
The Christmas season shall henceforth be known as the Mixmas season, after Little Mix released their first original holiday tune. Those doo-wop harmonies give way to a soulful chorus about snuggling up with the one they love. “I’ve waited all year to be near to the one I’ve been missing,” they sing, before declaring, “‘Cause I need to show you just how much I love you this Christmas.” The cuteness is simply off the charts.
“5 Gold Rings” – Elijah Blake
That infamous bling mentioned in “The 12 Days of Christmas” is the focal point of Blake’s trap-infused R&B original. “Sleigh ride, yeah I’m up to something / Five gold rings like I’m Kobe,” he sings, accenting each couplet with a Travis Scott-style ad-lib. It’s lit.
“Christmas All Over Again” – Puss N Boots
If self-love is your M.O. this December, then this down-home original from Puss N Boots — the trio featuring Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson, and Catherine Popper — is probably your speed. “I’m going to hold myself instead of someone else this Christmas,” Jones sings on the opening line, stunningly harmonizing with her bandmates as she details her solo silent night.
“(It Wouldn’t Be) Christmas Without You” – Wrabel
Wrabel borrows Mariah’s most iconic holiday lyric — “All I want for Christmas is you” — to prove just how badly he wants some mistletoe action this year. I’m counting the hours, minutes, seconds till I’m coming home,” the Kesha collaborator sings on this pining slow jam, “‘Cause it wouldn’t be Christmas without you.”
“Me and the Mistletoe” – Laura Marano ft. Kurt Hugo Schneider
The former Disney darling and the YouTube sensation team up for a bubblegum bop about the pure agony of being in a long-distance relationship at Christmastime. Watching movies together over FaceTime and singing carols on the phone together is fine and all, but what Laura and Kurt really want this year is physical proximity, baby. “Atlantic to pacific, I’ll go the distance to spend this Christmas / Next to you,” they sing, even begging Santa for some frequent flyer miles, “or maybe your sleigh,” to get a little closer to each other.
“Secret Santa” – Ana Gasteyer ft. Maya Rudolph
This cheeky, retro-Cuban number takes the form of a phone call between the two SNL veterans, with Gasteyer sharing some big news: She flew to Havana to buy a secret Santa gift, but after a couple glasses of rum, an orange Fanta, and a slip on a banana, her holiday plans have changed. It’s just one of the many quirky highlights from Gasteyer’s jazzy, brilliantly titled new holiday album, Sugar & Booze.
“Glittery” – Kacey Musgraves
Even just looking at the title, you can tell “Glittery” is a signature Kacey cut, fitting right in alongside “Butterflies,” “Rainbow,” and “Golden Hour.” Like those other classic love songs, “Glittery” feels like a musical hug, but with a festive twist. “You know you make me feel so glittery / You light me up like starlight on a Christmas tree,” the country superstar sings. Even better? The romantic tune is featured as a duet with Troye Sivan on her new Amazon holiday special, The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show. Cue all the celebratory glitter.