Country music artists have a long history of recording memorable Christmas songs. From classics that have endured the test of time, to fresh modern takes on holiday tunes, here are a few of our favorite country Christmas songs.
Jingle Bell Rock -- Bobby Helms
Though it’s since been covered by hundreds of artists, Helms’ is the original -- recorded in 1957 and an instant hit. It was played and danced to on Dick Clark's “American Bandstand” that year, where it reached the masses. Since then, you haven’t been able to turn on the radio during between Thanksgiving and Christmas without hearing Helms’ voice.
O Holy Night -- Martina McBride
This emotionally charged nativity song has been recorded by several country artists to much acclaim, but McBride’s version might be the best. The country music star recorded this song for her 1998 album, “White Christmas,” which was so successful RCA re-released it in 1999, and then again in 2007.
Blue Christmas -- Elvis Presley
Though the song wasn’t originally written or recorded by the King, Presley’s version -- which made its debut on the 1957 LP “Elvis' Christmas Album” -- remains the most played. The song speaks of unrequited love during the holidays and is a longstanding staple on country music stations.
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree -- Brenda Lee
Rockabilly star Brenda Lee was only 13 years old when she recorded “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The song climbed to No. 14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 1958. Previously known solely as a country artist, Lee’s recording of this song propelled her widespread pop appeal.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer -- Gene Autry
No Christmas is complete without Rudolph. When Autry released the tune in 1949, it became his first chart-topper. Now more than 60 years old, Rudolph remains quintessential to the holiday music cannon.
Christmas in Dixie -- Alabama
“Christmas In Dixie” is Alabama’s original and is the band’s top Christmas hit. The song peaked in the Top 40 in 1982, but it remains one of the most popular Christmas songs played on country stations today.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas -- Rascal Flatts
Though this nostalgic ballad was written more than 70 years ago to honor overseas WWII soldiers at Christmas time, the modern acapella version recorded by Rascal Flatts nails the original sentiment. The raw power of the men’s voices and tight harmonies make the song as sentimental as ever.
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Looking for more recommendations? Check out our favorite country Christmas albums, too.