Being a parent at Christmas can really tear you in two. On one hand, you want to keep the children calm, relaxed, and level headed. On the other hand, you just want to see them as excited as possible. One fantastic way to build this excitement is through the magic of song.  

You do not need to be a rockstar or classical pianist to enjoy music with your children. In fact, with our guide to the best children's Christmas songs, you can have your family rocking around the Christmas tree in no time. For the purposes of pacing ourselves, the one artist we didn’t include is Mariah Carey — you’ll hear her enough everywhere you go!


1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer is an absolute children's classic. The greatest thing is that at its heart, it is a warming Christmas tale about coming of age, finding friends, and doing good. 

Originally created by Robert Lewis May, Rudolph started out as an idea for a coloring book. The company May worked for had been purchasing coloring books for Christmas every year. One year, they decided it would be cheaper to produce their own.

May was given the task of creating a story. While looking out onto a foggy lake he came up with the concept of a reindeer with an illuminated nose, guiding others through the fog.

This evolved to the story of Santa's newest reindeer, who was mocked for being different. However, it all turned out good when he used his skills to guide his friends and Santa through the harsh winter winds. It is an excellent moral to teach your children, as it shows that differences make us stronger. 

Listen to it here!


2. Silent Night

Silent Night is one of the quintessential Christmas carols for children. It is ideal for the period as they are drifting off to sleep, while snow falls outside and the fire crackles. The song originally came from a small town in Austria, before becoming beloved all around the world. 

Unlike many carols which were written for vocal and organ, this was composed using a guitar. If you play an instrument, it is a very simple song to sing, in a waltzing 3/4 time signature. Grab the six-string, and have a relaxed evening teaching your child the joy of music with this beautiful piece. 

Listen to it here! 


3. Jingle Bells

Would it shock you if you found out jingle bells was never actually a Christmas song? Originally titled 'One Horse Open Sleigh' it was supposedly written for choirs. In addition to this, it was actually a very unoriginal composition that mashed together lines from other songs of the period. 

The lyrics reference the custom of placing bells on horses to signal their arrival. Despite this dubious history, it's easy to remember melody is excellent for teaching your children. It instills a sense of pitch in toddlers, as it uses very easy combinations of notes and syllables in the opening sections. 

Listen to it here!


4. Frosty the Snowman

The success of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer did not go unnoticed. After Gene 'the Singing Cowboy' Autrey's success with the latter, it was decided he needed another song in a similar vein. That song was Frosty the Snowman

Frosty is an ordinary, everyday snowman until he is brought to life by a magic hat. He then takes off on a winter adventure with the children who made him, before vanishing suddenly. It is a wonderful, joyful tale to recount in song with children. 

The song has been covered by many people. However, the most festive of these shall always remain the Nat King Cole classic recording, which you should undoubtedly play to your children as they settle down for cocoa on Christmas eve. 

Listen to it here!


5. Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Of all the Christmas songs for children to sing, few excite them as much as this one. Bringing home the fact that presents are on their way, it’s a must for any Christmas celebration. This track is such a Christmas staple it has been recorded by over 200 artists, including Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Bruce Springsteen. 

The earliest known recording of the song was in 1934 and was by a banjoist. It was an immediate hit and has been in the charts every decade since. 

The refrain of 'You better not shout, you better not cry' is also beloved by parents all over the land. What other song is going to make children behave, giving you a much needed hour of peace during the busy period? 

Listen to it here!


6. The 12 Days of Christmas Songs

The origins of this song are in dispute. While the first written versions come from Britain, it is rumored to have French origins. It has a long history, dating all the way back to 1780.

While more complicated than other Christmas carols for children, this song can be extremely fun and teach your children valuable skills. As the track works backward and includes counting, it is great for cognitive recall and building short term memory. 

It can also make for some great Christmas party activities. One game is to get 12 young volunteers and give them each a part to sing. They must sing their given day whenever it comes up, and stand up as they do so. 


Make Singing Fun

The golden rule when sharing Christmas songs with children is to have fun! Make them into games, laugh, sing, and enjoy the season with your children. 

If you enjoyed this handy blog and had a fun Christmas singalong, then you would love our next article. Click here to view our 10 Christmas crafts that you must try with your children. 

Discover and book summer camps on Sawyer