Have there been any good Christmas songs in the 21st century?

If there’s one thing I really love about Christmas, it’s Christmas songs. I wrote a post about my favourites last year. And they were all from the 1970s or 80s. These days, it seems like everyone – from Justin Bieber to Katy Perry and Ariana Grande is releasing Christmas songs, all hoping to create that timeless classic that will stick round for the next 30 or 40 years. It got me wondering – have there actually been any good Christmas songs in the 21st century?

From my point of view, there has been a small number. But they still don’t come close to those 70s and 80s classics.

There are my favourite Christmas songs of the 21st century…

Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) – The Darkness (2003)

Like The Pogues and Mariah Carey before them, The Darkness only made it to number 2 with their Christmas song. The opening guitar has a Brian May quality to it, which is always a good thing in my book.

Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) has all the traditional elements of a Christmas song – the bells, the children’s choir and a mention of Santa Claus, but it isn’t a song full of joy. It opens with the line ‘Feigning joy and surprise at the gifts we despise over mulled wine with you’. It also, very nearly, gets the word ‘bellend’ into a Christmas song without being banned. And for that, the The Darkness must be congratulated.


Underneath the Tree – Kelly Clarkson (2013)

Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson was an instant classic. It’s a proper feelgood sing-along Christmas song and one which will definitely last the test of time. The theme is very similar to the Mariah Carey classic All I Want for Christmas is You, because it is all about only wanting your loved one for Christmas ‘underneath the tree’. When it was released, it only reached number 30 in the UK charts. It has charted every year since and is played a lot on the radio play (well it certainly is on Radio 1, my radio station of choice).


River – Ellie Goulding (2019)

River by Ellie Goulding is another rather melancholy Christmas song.When I wrote my post last year, a real life friend who has lived in Canada for many years, told me that her favourite Christmas song was River by Joni Mitchell. In common with many Brits, I’d never heard of it. But then a few days later I heard a really beautiful new Christmas song by Ellie Goulding. After a couple of listens, I realised it was a cover of the Joni Mitchell song. It actually made it to number 1 for a week last year and it’s not surprising, it is so beautiful.

Christmas Lights – Coldplay (2010)

Christmas isn’t always fun, games and excitement. And nothing typifies that more than Christmas Lights by Coldplay. With lyrics like ‘Tears we cried a flood’ and ‘Doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all’, some people might call it depressing, but I think it’s beautiful.

So, in answer to the questions, there have been SOME good Christmas songs of the 21st century, but as far as I’m concerned, these are the only ones. And much as I love them, for me, they still don’t come close to the classics of the 70s and 80s.

What do you think? Have there been any good Christmas songs in the 21st century?

Christmas, Snow, Christmas songs, Listening to music

Photo by Victor Xok on Unsplash

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. All the best Christmas songs were from the 70’s and 80’s. There hasn’t been that many new Christmas songs over the last 20 years which is a shame. All the old songs seem to re-enter the charts or new singers do a cover of them.
    I love all the one’s you’ve mentioned but one of my favourites is the the Leona Lewis one, One more sleep.

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    • That is a good one too! There definitely seems to have been a few more new ones in the last couple of years, like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, so it will be interesting to see if they join the classics (I don’t think they’re very good personally!).

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  2. I love all the ones you’ve included here, apart from the Darkness which I class as a bit of a novelty different style than a decent song. But then I prefer a nice song than some of the 70s/80s ones too. Until I hear them, I can never remember them, but I’m sure there’ll be some I enjoy.

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    • I need to hear them to remember too – I had totally forgotten about the Leona Lewis one, which I really like. I know what you mean about The Darkness being a bit of a novelty record, but it has that glam rock feel of the classic Christmas songs of the 70s and 80s, which is a good thing in my book!

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  3. No, I agree the best ones are from the 70s and 80s although it does make me feel like the granny in the Slade song: ‘ your granny always tells you the old songs are the best, but she’s up and rock and rolling with the rest’. I think there are too many being released now and I do think the quality has suffered.

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    • I love the idea of you being like the granny from the Slade song! Now you mention it, I think maybe I am too.
      There are definitely too many Christmas songs released these days. I think Justin Bieber has done several and they are all so bland.

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