best-classic-holiday-songs

Best Classic Holiday Songs

Story posted December 8, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by CommRadio Arts & Entertainment Department.

With the holidays just around the corner, it is officially time for holiday music to be played. There are a ton of widely successful holiday classics, so much so that members of the CommRadio Arts and Entertainment Department couldn’t fit it all into one article.

In this article, our members listed some of the best classic holiday songs of all times.

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” - Brenda Lee

This song is a holiday staple. It is impossible not to be filled with Christmas cheer when Brenda Lee comes on the radio singing jolly hums on repeat.

The best part of the song is after the chorus, when the saxophone cries out a jazzy instrumental breakdown.

Lyrically, “everyone dancing merrily in the new old fashioned way,” is an intriguing line. It suggests doing traditional holiday activities, but to the beat of a new soundtrack. Holiday music and movies are released every year, but the glow of a Christmas tree never changes.

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” tells a story outlining the traditions of Christmas. The story takes place at a party, where mistletoe is hung and pumpkin pie is served.

The guests will sing carols, including “Deck the Halls.” The most important activity though is, of course, rocking around the Christmas tree while having a merry time.

This iconic track is found on almost every holiday playlist, and can definitely get a party grooving. It is a Christmas classic, sure to bring warmth and joy to any Christmas event.

- McKenna Wall


“The Christmas Waltz” - Frank Sinatra

The remastered version of “The Christmas Waltz” from 1999 is the way to go when listening to the song. It begins with gentle wishes of “Merry Christmas” then moves on to romanticize the Christmas season with mentions of “frosted window panes” and “painted candy canes on the tree.”

Listeners are bound to be ready for celebrating with family and friends or sitting by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate when listening to this song. It sets the mood for the true meaning of the holiday season.

Frank Sinatra is one of the best artists to listen to during the holiday season. His soothing voice accompanies great instruments to make the classic holiday songs he sings perfectly done.

Jingle bells fill the background of “The Christmas Waltz” to help set the tempo. A classic pattern of most holiday songs. This song is set apart from the rest because it represents a certain calmness one can witness in the winter, as it contains a slow tempo mimicking the waltz.

The lyrics, “It's that time of year / when the world falls in love,” remind people to enjoy the season surrounded by loved ones. While a lot of other holiday songs emphasize shopping or planning big gatherings which can bring stress and chaos, this song sheds light on the true meaning of the Christmas season. Spending time with those closest to you, simply being within each other’s presence. 

- Cassie Baylis

“Dominick The Donkey (The Italian Christmas Donkey)”

“Dominick The Donkey” is not only an iconic Christmas song, it’s also a personal statement about Italian culture.

Dominick is a donkey that does the work of a reindeer because of the rough terrain of Italy. He’s a simple donkey who dances and sings with children and assists Santa on his travels..

However, it’s more than just a cute Christmas song but more so about the Italian-American culture in New York (the presents in the song are made in Brooklyn) and how Italian-Americans are connected to their home country at heart.

The catchiness of the lyrics also teaches children some Italian while connecting it to good ol’ Santa Niccolo.

- Adrianna Gallucci

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”- Frank Sinatra

There are a plethora of holiday songs that embody the Christmas season well, but very few do it as perfectly as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

This song is not just one of the best Christmas songs, but a perfect song overall, not just within the holiday genre.

From the lyrics, to the instrumental and Frank Sinatra vocals this song captures hopeful and bright parts of the season without ignoring the nostalgia and loneliness this time of year tends to foster.

Particularly, lines like “through the years we’ll long to be together, if the fates allow” are simultaneously harrowing and promising.

Sonically, this song is so easy to associate with the holidays from the use of orchestral instruments and Sinatra’s iconically classic vocals.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is a perfect song to express all the complicated emotions that come with the holiday season.

- Sophia D’Ovidio


“There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” - Perry Como

It is yet again the most wonderful time of the year, and nothing is more comforting than some classic holiday music. Undoubtedly the best is “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” by Perry Como.

The song perfectly hits all the criteria for a classic holiday tune. A big band intro and catchy lyrics that appeal to everyone from the youngest to the oldest of listeners. Como’s voice is soothing and old-timey, and makes listeners reminisce about holidays gone by.

The holidays are all about getting together with friends and family. This is the song to play in the background at family get-togethers, when baking holiday treats, or on the drive to pick out the perfect christmas tree.

Como sang it best: “for the holidays, you can't beat home sweet home.” And for a classic holiday song, you can't beat “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays.”

- Ryan French


McKenna Wall is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email mew6140@psu.edu.

Cassie Baylis is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email ceb6085@psu.edu.

Adrianna Gallucci is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, please email amg7989@psu.edu.

Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email sgd5184@psu.edu.

Ryan French is a first-year student majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email rpf5336@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

Sophia D'Ovidio's photo

Sophia D'Ovidio

First-Year /

Sophia D’Ovidio is a first-year from Allentown, New Jersey. She is now a communications (undecided) major at Penn State University. Sophia intends on pursuing a career in journalism. Sophia writes for the CommRadio Arts department.

McKenna Wall's photo

McKenna Wall

First-Year /

McKenna Wall is a first-year student from Allentown, Pennsylvania majoring broadcast journalism. Wall is a multimedia reporter for CommRadio. She got her start as a camera operator in high school, learning how to use professional handheld camcorders, ENG cameras, and a jib camera. Wall is currently involved in After the Whistle, gaining experience both on-camera and behind-the-scenes filming, editing and completing work on a deadline. If you would like to contact her, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Ryan French

/

Ryan French is a current first-year student at Penn State University majoring in Telecommunications. Upon arrival at Penn State, Ryan began an internship with the Penn State Athletics live production team as a camera utility, as well as joining CommRadio. In CommRadio, Ryan is a member of both the sports and arts departments, where he writes articles and contributes to the station’s other media packages. You can follow Ryan on Instagram @ryan_.french, or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Adrianna Gallucci

First-year /

Adrianna Gallucci is a first-year student from Andover, New Jersey, majoring in journalism. In CommRadio, she writes articles and appears on podcasts and live shows on the sports side. She is also a member of Penn State Sports Night and the Association for Women in Sports Media. She also hosts an independent podcast, She’s All Bat. She’s a huge baseball and hockey fan with roots in New York sports. You can find Adrianna on Twitter @agallucci17 and email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Cassie Baylis's photo

Cassie Baylis

Third Year /

Cassie Baylis is a third-year broadcast journalism student attending Penn State University. She minors in English. This is Cassie’s first year in CommRadio, as she transferred to PSU this year. She is a member of the Friday CommRadio Newscast, and she writes for the Arts & Entertainment department. Cassie enjoys music and ranting about the plot of books she is reading. To contact her, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).