The Best New Holiday Songs of the 2010s - Rolling Stone
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The New Holiday Classics: Best Festive Songs of the Decade

The decade’s most festive additions to the classic canon

From Kanye West to Ariana Grande, here's a playlist of the best Christmas and Hanukkah songs from the last 10 years.

Images in Illustration from Getty Images

Thanksgiving is in the rearview and it’s the end of the road for the 2010s. That means it’s time to celebrate winter festivities with this playlist of the best Christmas and Hanukkah songs from the last decade. Grab your glockenspiel and a cup of non-dairy eggnog and cozy up to the fire with these new holiday classics. No covers allowed.

Kanye West ft. Cyhi the Prynce and Teyana Taylor, “Christmas in Harlem,” 2010

Before renouncing secular music, Kanye dabbled in a consumerist celebration of Christ’s birth. 

Hayes Carll, “Grateful for Christmas,” 2011

A tender and funny sketch of a yuletide family gathering that doesn’t get too sentimental. “Dad and the TV are startin’ to fight,” Carll sings, recalling John Prine in both his empathy and eye for detail. “I wish I had a drink or maybe a dozen/Lord, what I’d give for one good-lookin’ cousin.”

Kate Bush and Stephen Fry, “50 Words for Snow,” 2011

Bush murmurs a mournful chorus in between the British comedian’s spoken-word chant of alternate names for frozen precipitation.

Paul Simon, “Getting Ready for Christmas Day,” 2011

In Simon’s upbeat lament about end-of-year money problems, he sings, “the music may be merry, but it’s only temporary — I know Santa Claus is coming to town.” 

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Kelly Clarkson, “Underneath the Tree,” 2013

This song joins Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” in the pantheon of jingle-belled pop longing.

Ariana Grande, “December,” 2015

Grande adds herself to her man’s Christmas list in this R&B banger. 

The Killers ft. Ryan Pardey and Richard Dreyfuss, “Dirt Sledding,” 2015

A belligerent Santa learns the true meaning of Christmas: riding into the sunset with someone you decided not to murder.

Fetty Wap ft. Monty, “Merry Xmas,” 2015

One of the few known uses of chimes in a trap beat, and the only known use of the lyric, “I’m Jordan and peeps is Pippen” as a pejorative in a holiday song.

Chance the Rapper and Jeremih, “Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama,” 2016

This homey hip-hop track samples A Christmas Story and the bratty Shirley Temple classic, “I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ for Christmas.”

Kacey Musgraves ft. Willie Nelson, “A Willie Nice Christmas,” 2016

This appropriately chill ode to Nelson and yuletide marijuana consumption sounds like Christmas on the beach.

Chance the Rapper, “Jingle Barack,” 2016

Laugh so you don’t cry at this nostalgic look at our last Christmas under President Obama: “Hey Eric, Hey Mike, get married tonight/Real quick, let in every immigrant in sight/So go nuts before the North Pole disappears.”

Traveller, “Christmas Eve at Kroger,” 2017

This folk tribute honors quotidian holiday rituals like watching Die Hard and helping your dad move boxes.

Sia, “Candy Cane Lane,” 2017

A delicious throwback Christmas pop song with an equally yummy Claymation video.

JD McPherson, “What’s That Sound?” 2018

A holiday hootenanny featuring Jerry Lee Lewis-style piano clanging.

John Legend, “By Christmas Eve,” 2018

A modern answer to wistful, lonely songs like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, “8 Days (of Hanukkah),” 2018

Thank Adonai for this soul song counting down the festival of lights and featuring ad libs like, “Talking ’bout that menorah!”

Rob Halford, “Donner and Blitzen,” 2019

The Judas Priest frontman shouts out two overlooked reindeer in this heavy metal carol.

Alessia Cara, “Make It to Christmas,” 2019

A bop about the recognizably pathetic urge to not be single over the holidays.

Yo La Tengo, “Eight Candles,” 2019

A smooth Hanukkah jam that sounds like the background music at a Jewish bachelor’s swinging Sixties pad.

The Jonas Brothers, “Like It’s Christmas,” 2019

This is December 25th just the way we like it: corny and horny.

 

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