The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The first day of buzzmas | What is the most iconic Christmas song?

While there are many songs that bring Christmas to mind, many which people consider to be the best, there can only be one song that stands alone at the top. The Daily Illini has compiled a list of 10 songs that can be considered in the running for the title of Most Iconic Christmas Song, in no particular order. 

Starting off strong, we have “White Christmas.” Bing Crosby’s version of the song is most played on the radio, although the classic has been covered by many artists. 

Despite there being less and less snow every year, “White Christmas” earns its spot on this list for being a staple throughout the holiday season. Its influence as shown by the fact that Crosby’s version of the song was record breaking at the time of its release in 1942, selling over 100 million copies by 2009. 

Coming in with our second pick is Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Arguably one of the catchiest Christmas songs ever, this one has always been a hit, especially after it was featured in the holiday-favorite film “Home Alone.” 

The third entry is “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms. The song was originally created by other artists, but Helm’s version, released in 1957, is arguably the most known. 

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“Jingle Bell Rock” is a holiday classic and builds on the childhood favorite tune “Jingle Bells.” The beloved song has stood the test of time by constantly having a strong presence on the radio; it seems to be playing whenever you turn your dial to the Christmas station.

It feels only right that “Feliz Navidad” finds itself among these songs. Recorded by singer-songwriter Jose Feliciano, the main lyrics of the song are a traditional Spanish Christmas and New Yearʼs greeting. 

Other than the songʼs simple and kind lyrics, “Feliz Navidad” is a catchy classic that will stick with listeners for days after listening.

This list could not be complete without the Christmas classic of Gen Z, “All I Want For Christmas is You,” by Mariah Carey.

Come Christmas time, Carey’s recording of the song seems to be playing everywhere. Specifically, social media has championed the song by using it in various Christmas memes. Because of this, it was the first song to ever reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in three separate runs.

From this song alone, Carey has become a Christmas icon, even earning the nickname “The Queen of Christmas.” Because of that, this track is strong in the running for the title of “Most Iconic.” 

In our next selection, we find “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Bublé.

If Mariah Carey is the queen of Christmas, Bublé may very well be the king. 

While Bublé has many iconic covers like “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” none of them are as iconic as “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” His most streamed song on Spotify, the lyrics are reminiscent of snowy days and Christmas spirit. The song is simply a staple listen during the holiday season. 

“Last Christmas” by Wham! is another romance-centered song but also another modern favorite. The catchy lyrics not only make an upbeat Christmas song, but a romantic song as well — making it even fonder in people’s hearts. 

Next up is “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” by the Jackson Five. Without the Jackson family, it’s a classic, but there’s just something about the hit single version led by a young Michael Jackson that adds to its Christmas cheer. 

Another song that this list would be incomplete without is “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole. Would Christmas really be complete without the line “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”? 

This song was given new meaning by the online community leading up to Christmas of 2022, when a cover of the song by a user on the karaoke app Smule went viral in memes across the internet.

Besides the iconic lyrics, Cole’s smooth voice makes the listener truly feel the warmth of the open fire in mention.

In the final spot on our list is “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” sung by Thurl Ravenscroft.

Ravenscroft’s stern, deep voice mixed with whimsical lyricism such as “I wouldn’t touch you with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole,” are what earn this song its spot on the list. While having multiple movies add to its effect, the song stands out on its own as a must-listen at Christmas time. 

These are all very valid choices for the honor of being called Most Iconic. Unfortunately, there can only be one winner. 

After deliberation, it’s clear that the Queen of Christmas’ very own “All I Want For Christmas is You” takes the cake. 

Even if the song wasn’t a Christmas masterpiece by itself, Carey and her marketing for it would skyrocket the song to the top of the list. 

Her annual video and social media posts — originating from memes — announcing her “defrosting” on Nov. 1 are famous among Christmas lovers. 

Carey has created a holiday reputation that precedes her. This reputation combined with the quintessential sound and feeling that “All I Want For Christmas Is You” brings makes it easily the most iconic Christmas song.


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