Top 10 Christmas Songs

Top 10 Christmas SongsLike tinsels and lights, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without traditional carols. There’s a full range of them, from the solemn to the cheery, and hearing them can stir warm and fuzzy childhood memories.

Each of these traditional songs is capable of weaving a magic spell and put one in the Holiday mood. Thus, while wrapping presents or preparing Christmas dinner, listen to the songs listed on Treetime Christmas’ Top 10 Christmas Songs.

10. O Come All Ye Faithful

Also known as Adeste Fidelis, this popular carol was previously associated with a 13th century saint. Later, it was discovered that the hymn was written by a Roman Catholic music teacher named John Francis Wade. Originally written in Latin, the song was translated to English in 1789 and was first used in Protestant Church ceremonies.

Currently, there are several translations and versions of this song. Classical singers as well as musicians from the fields of pop and rock have all recorded and released amazing adaptations of this carol.

9. Away In A Manger

Considered to be one of the most popular traditional Christmas carol in Great Britain, Away in a Manger was mistakenly attributed to German reformer, Martin Luther. Originally printed in the Lutheran book, “Little Children’s Book for School and Families”, the song eventually captured emotions with its skillful blending of different harmonies reminiscent of a gentle lullaby.

8. O Little Town of Bethlehem

This hymn was written by Rev. Phillip Brooks after an inspiring trip to the Holy Land. It was a joyous and spiritually uplifting experience that the good reverend was eager to share. In his own words, "I remember standing in the old church in Bethlehem, close to the spot where Jesus was born, when the whole church was ringing hour after hour with splendid hymns of praise to God, how again and again it seemed as if I could hear voices I knew well, telling each other of the Wonderful Night of the Saviour's birth."

7. O Come, O Come Emmanuel

The origins of this hymn are unclear and theories point out that it is probably as old as the Catholic Church itself. Its current English version is a translation from the original Latin text entitled “Veni, Veni Emmanuel”.

This carol has deep religious meaning and depicts the birth of a Savior in the land of Israel. The lyrics, coupled with the somber pace, make it a popular choice for Advent.

6. The First Noel

Like most traditional Christmas songs, the historical origin of this song is disputed. Many believe that the song has French roots, given that the Noel is the French word for “birthday”. In any case, the English version came out sometime between the 18th and 19th century England and has become a part of traditional English celebrations.

5. Here We Come A Wassailing

This jolly Christmas and New Year ditty can trace its origins to 19th century England. The song refers to the practice of “wassailing” or going from house to house singing and wishing everyone good health. This song is much beloved since it brilliantly captures the festivities and kindness of the season.

According to historians, Christmas was seen by many as a time for generosity and many beggars and orphans treaded the snow cheerfully wishing everyone a Merry Christmas while receiving treats such as ale, pork or pennies in return.

4. Joy to the World

Based on Psalm 98, the lyrics were written by English hymn writer Isaac Wyatts and set to joyous music by Lowell Mason. In contrast to the more solemn carols, Joy to the World sets a festive mood in commemorating the Nativity.

3. Angels We Have Heard On High

The history of this song is also disputed. Some historians say that it originated in the early common era when the Bishop of Rome proclaimed that the “Angels’ Hymn” be sung on Christmas Eve. Still, others trace it to the French countryside where shepherds would exclaim “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” each Christmas Eve. Whatever its origins, the song is a haunting piece that continues to captivate listeners.

2. O Holy Night

Originally a French poem written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure; the text was set to music by Adolphe Charles Adam. The song was then translated into the familiar English version we know today by American clergyman, John Sullivan.

The text of the song is a deep contemplation on the Nativity and strong hopes for the future of humanity.

1. Silent Night

Undoubtedly the most popular Christmas carol, Silent Night has been covered by a multitude of musicians. The song was composed by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr and Church musician Franz Guber. Legend tells that it was an improvisation that Christmas Eve of 1818 as the church organ was eaten away by rats and mice.

The song is currently translated into 150 languages and the most poignant part of its history was when it temporary halted fighting in the battlefields of World War I Europe.

Music has the power to transcend boundaries and political beliefs. The wondrous moment that Silent Night was able to achieve that Christmas Eve of World War 1 is only a sample of the healing properties of music.

As previously stated, Christmas won’t be complete without these touching and moving hymns.