Whichever way you look at it, Christmas is a time for celebration. For some, it signifies a period of carefree partying – a much-needed beacon of good cheer brightening the sunless winter gloom – while for those of the Christian faith, 25 December marks the birthday of their redeemer, Jesus Christ. The soundtrack to Christmas is a distinctively seasonal one, and for many people, especially in Northern Europe and North America, the best Christmas songs tend to be about snow, sleigh bells, mince pies, Santa Claus and Christmas trees. But in truth, there’s nothing more Christmassy than hearing – or even singing – a traditional carol, and the best Christmas carols are guaranteed to invoke the spirit of the season whose message is peace on Earth and goodwill to all.
So put on your Christmas hats, lubricate your vocal cords with your tipple of choice, and check out the best Christmas Carols of all time. Expect singalong songs of hope, faith, redemption, peace and, ultimately, celebration.
Listen to the classic ‘Christmas At King’s’ album here, and check out our best Christmas carols, below.
20: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Though it was first published around 1760, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman – whose title translates into modern English as something like “may God grant you peace and happiness” – is based on a traditional song from the British Isles that probably dates from a much earlier time. Charles Dickens name-checked the carol in his 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, and it was later quoted in Silas Marner, George Eliot’s 1861 novel. It was also heard as part of Gustav Holst’s Christmas-carol-inspired 1910 choral fantasy, Christmas Day, and in recent times there have been notable cover versions by Garth Brooks, Barenaked Ladies and Randy Travis.