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Christmas Carols List

Christmas carols can be dated as far back as the 13th century. The word "carol" actually means a verse song with a refrain, so a Christmas carol is really just a song with a Christmas related theme.

Traditionally Christmas carols were sung during an act of worship at Christmas, this originated in western Europe and then spread to other christian countries such as the United States.

Some of the first Christmas carols were actually based on old pagan songs that were updated to contain the Christmas message, "The Boar's Head Carol" which dates to 1521 and was originally sung as the boar's head was brought into the dining area on Christmas Day, the boars head was the traditional Christmas dinner in a time before turkey came to the fore.

But most people associate Christmas carols with songs that carry the message of Jesus' birth, such as Away in a Manger, Silent Night, We three kings and While shepherds watch there flocks at night.

A full list of popular Christmas carols are listed below, please enjoy reading about, listening to and rating your favourite Christmas carols.

We also have a Christmas music jukebox that you can listen to while you are decorating your Christmas tree with tinsel or preparing the Christmas feast!

Song NameWritten ByYearInfo
Angels We Have Heard On HighJames Chadwick1862A Christmas carol that has its origins in France but has been embraced by the English speaking world since the mid 19th century.
Away In A MangerUnknown1885This beloved Christmas carol has much mystery surrounding it. However, it still remains one of the most loved Christmas songs around the world.
Coventry CarolRobert Croo1534'Coventry Carol' had it origins in a long forgotten 16th century play and has been the source of confusion since the last manuscript containing its lyrics were burnt a couple of centuries later.
Deck The HallsUnknown1600Deck the Halls has long been a favorite Christmas carol during the holidays. Sang in many different versions and languages it is upbeat and puts everyone who hears it in the Christmas spirit no matter what kind of Scrooge you may be.
Ding Dong Merrily On HighJohan Tabourot1589A carol that started life out as a French dance tune, only becoming what we know it be now in the 1920's.
Gabriel's MessageEdgar Pettman1892'Gabriel's Message' originated in the Basque region of Spain but it was Edgar Pettman in 1892 that gave us the anglicised version we know today. Apart from the many choral renditions contemporary artists such as Sting, Moya Brennan, Charlotte Church and Jars of Clay have chimed in with their own versions.
Go Tell It On The Mountain John Wesley Work1865Go Tell it on the Mountain is one of the most upbeat songs there is during the holiday season. Not originally meant as a Christmas carol the story of Christ birth insured that it would be and that it will be sang for years to come. It gladdens the hearts of everyone who hears it and is sung constantly over the Christmas season.
God Rest Ye Merry GentlemenUnknown1760Published by William B. Sandys in 1833, ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen’ is a popular traditional English carol. The melody to this carol is in Aeolian mode and is in cut time or is in common time. The title ‘God rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen’ is also sometime known as ‘God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen’; this has come about particularly more during modern times.
Good King WenceslasJohn Mason Neale1853The extremely popular Christmas carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’ had its lyrics written in 1853, by the English hymn writer John Mason Neale. Neale wrote the lyrics with his music editor Thomas Helmore.
Hark! The Herald Angels SingCharles Wesley1739The history of Hark the Herald Angels Sing may come as a surprise to some. The upbeat, lively version that we know today is not what the author or composer meant the song to be.
Here We Come A-WassailingUnknown1850‘Here We Come A-wassailing’, is an old traditional Christmas song. It is popular English carol, which is often sung during the festive season. The composition of ‘Here We Come A-wassailing’ is thought to in 1850, although there is no concrete evidence to complete verify this belief that this Christmas carol was indeed composed in 1850.
I Saw Three ShipsUnknown1700A very popular uplifting Christmas carol, ‘I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In)’ is a traditional carol which originates from England. Interestingly, this Christmas carol is a variant. ‘I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In)’ is a variant of its parent tune
I Wonder As I WanderJohn Jacob Niles1933Written by John Jacob Niles on July 16, 1933, ‘I Wonder as I Wander’ is a popular Christmas carol. Niles’ composition was done in the folk style. The composition confused many of the public who heard this song, the confusion arose as many believed that the song had an anonymous origin.
In Dulci JubiloHeinrich Seuse1328The Christmas carol ‘In dulci jubilo’ dates back to the middle Ages. It was originally set in text of German and Latin. The original song text is thought to have been written by Heinrich Seuse(who was German) in 1328.
In The Bleak MidwinterChristina Rossetti1872‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ is a Christmas carol with an extremely interesting background on how the carol came in to being. The poem came in response to a request from the magazine Scribner's Monthly for a Christmas poem.
It Came Upon The Midnight ClearEdmund Sears1849It came upon a Midnight clear is a favorite during the holiday season just because of the reason for the song. Everyone wants peace on earth and good will towards men during Christmas. The song addresses all of that and has a nice, soothing melody to accompany it.
Joy To The WorldIsaac Watts1719Joy to the world the Lord has come, the words that fill the hearts of Christians and others around the world with joy during the Christmas holidays. This song explains all that is Christmas. It tells of the birth of the baby Jesus and the reason for the season. Not the commercialism that is so associated with the holiday today, the true reason that Christ was born to save us all from our sins.
O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)John Francis Wade1751O Come All Ye Faithful, Joyful and triumphant are beginning verses that can be heard in churches, choirs, school plays and a variety of different places around the world during the holiday season. It is one of the most popular carols, especially among the religious, during the Christmas season.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel John Mason Neale, Henry Sloane Coffin1750‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’ is written by John Mason Neale and Henry Sloane Coffin. This Latin text was written in the mid nineteenth century. The Latin translation of ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’ is ‘Veni, veni, Emmanuel’.
O Holy NightPlacide Cappeau1847O Holy Night started as a Christmas poem called Minuit Chatiens. It was written by Placide Cappeau in 1847 after a parish priest asked the simple wine merchant who moonlighted as a poet to write the song for him.
O Little Town Of BethlehemPhillips Brooks1865O Little Town of Bethlehem how still we see the lie brings tears to many people’s eyes during the Christmas season. It tells of the town where baby Jesus was born in a manager.
Once in Royal David's CityCecil Frances Alexander1848Originally a poem written by Cecil Frances Alexander, ‘Once In Royal David's City’ is a much loved and very popular Christmas carol. The carol was first published in hymnbook in 1848, the carol was put in Miss Cecil Humphreys' hymnbook Hymns for little Children.
Silent NightJosef Mohr1816Silent Night is the story of the birth of the Jesus. The song was first written in German and called Stille Nacht by Josef Mohr, it has now been translated into over 44 different languages.
Sussex Carol (On Christmas Night)Luke Wadding1684An extremely popular Christmas carol in Sussex and also particularly popular in Britain, ‘The Sussex Carol’ is a carol which many festive lovers within Britain remember of fondly. ‘The Sussex Carol’ was published by Luke Wadding.
The First NoelUnknown1800A hugely popular and classic English carol, ‘The First Nowell’ is a traditional beautiful much loved carol which most likely dates back to the 18th century.
The Holly And The IvyUnknown1710The Holly and The Ivy is one of the most well known carols that originated several centuries ago. It's popularity has seen given a contemporary styling by the likes of Bing Crosby and Roger Whittaker.
The Twelve Days Of ChristmasJames O. Halliwell 1842On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me…this verse of the popular Christmas carol The Twelve Days of Christmas has rang out on many doorsteps through the ages on Christmas. It is an upbeat cheerful song that symbolizes love, giving and holiday cheer. Just what the majority of people are feeling during the holiday season.
We Three Kings Of Orient AreReverend John Henry Hopkins Jr1857We Three Kings of Orient Are also known as We Three Kings and The Quest of the Magi is a much loved and sung carol during the holidays. I think it reminds people of the lengths that the kings went to in order to get to our Lord and Savior on the day that he was born. It is a song of hope and giving and makes many wish that they could have made that trip with the Magi to give gifts to the baby Jesus.
We Wish You A Merry ChristmasUnknown1640While many Christmas carols during the holiday season are centered around the reason for the season and the birth of Christ there are a few that are humorous and just plain fun to sing and listen to.
Wexford CarolUnknown1200Originating originally from the Irish county of Wexford, ‘The Wexford Carol’ is a traditional Christmas carol based on the Nativity. The carol dates back to the 12th century and has been recorded regularly by a host of Irish and International artists.
What Child Is This?William Chatterton Dix 1865The Christmas song What Child is this was written at a time when Christmas was not widely celebrated and writing about the birth of Jesus Christ was frowned upon and virtually unheard of.
While Shepherds Watched Their FlocksNahum Tate1700The popular Christmas carol ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks’ is attributed to England’s Poet Laureate, Nahum Tate. The carol is describing the Annunciation to the Shepherds and is based on the Gospel of Luke 2:8-14.
See Amid The Winter's SnowEdward Caswall1851Edward Caswell wrote this carol in the 19th century and John Goss added the music. It has had many suitors since then from a variety of genres.