Christmas songs, in particular, can awaken decades of special memories for seniors and elderly loved ones.
That’s why it is essential for older adults who celebrate Christmas to have all their favorite Christmas music to set the holiday mood while joining in the festivities of the holiday season this time of year.
From classic Christmas carols to fun Christmas songs for caroling, there are numerous songs to choose from, but we think each of the following Christmas songs for seniors should be on every older adult’s Christmas playlist!
So, get that playlist ready now for your upcoming Christmas parties for the seniors and elderly you love!
Classic Christmas Music for Seniors and the Elderly
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” by Bing Crosby
A classic song by crooning singer Bing Crosby, this heartfelt holiday song is a tribute to the soldiers who fought in World War II.
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland
Judy Garland originally recorded this soft Christmas song for the musical soundtrack of “Meet Me in St. Louis.”
It was a musical about four coming-of-age daughters ready to move to New York. We are also fond of the Michael Buble version too.
“The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole
Everyone knows the iconic line “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” by Nat King Cole. Its popularity led to this song being part of the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974.
“Let It, Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” by Frank Sinatra
“Let It, Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” is a jazzy holiday song by Frank Sinatra about how we all feel about the cold winter weather.
However, the song wasn’t part of his original Christmas album but on a later compilation album instead.
“Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt
Santa Baby is one of the most well-known songs of Eartha Kitt. It’s a cheeky song about wanting only the most extravagant Christmas gifts.
“Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley’s recording of “Blue Christmas” is the most well-known version of this song, but Elvis may not have wanted to sing this song in the first place, according to Millie Kirkham in an interview.
“Run, Rudolph, Run” by Chuck Berry
“Run, Rudolph, Run” is a Christmas song with a mix of rock and roll. This song by Chuck Berry is one where people will get up and party!
“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee
This popular song was recorded by Brenda Lee when she was only 13 years old and unexpectedly became a Christmas classic.
“The Christmas Waltz” by Frank Sinatra
This slow and melodic holiday song from 1948, recorded in three-quarter time, will have older adults swaying and maybe even wanting to dance with a special someone.
“Sleigh Ride” by Johnny Mathis
This Christmas song is from the first Christmas album of Johnny Mathis. He has released six Christmas albums in his career, so try to check them out too.
Jingle Bells is one of the most classic song titles with an uncountable number of versions and covers and is usually the first song people learn. We recommend listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s jazzy rendition of this song.
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams
Written by Andy Williams, this is one of the most famous Christmas songs in the entire world. Everyone knows the iconic line of this song which is the same as the title, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
“A Holly Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives
Johnny Marks wrote this song, popularized by Burl Ives. Despite being Jewish, Johnny Marks has written many other songs full of Christmas cheer, such as “Run Rudolph Run” and “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.”
“Winter Wonderland” by Dean Martin
We prefer Dean Martin’s rendition of this classic holiday song because his upbeat version is a fun listen. Check out his Christmas album with his crooner version of other Christmas classics.
“Merry Christmas, Baby” by Otis Redding
Otis Redding’s version of “Merry Christmas, Baby” gives a soulful vibe to this tune.
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by Jackson 5
The original artist of this song is Jimmy Boyd. However, Jackson 5’s 60s cover is much more popular with its catchy and funky beats, amazing vocals, and the conversations recorded in the background.
“This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway
This song has many renditions and versions, but Donny Hathaway’s performance will always be the most soulful. This song is one reason he earned the title “most important black performer of his time,”
“Give Love on Christmas Day” by The Jackson 5
“Give Love on Christmas Day” is a holiday classic by The Jackson 5. New Edition recorded an updated version in the 80s too.
“Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” by Bruce Springsteen
This song was performed by “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen. It’s one of the most animated versions of this classic holiday tune, and listening to it will make you realize why he’s called “The Boss.”
Religious Christmas Hymns for Older Adults
These familiar hymns are an excellent choice for religious services with family members on Christmas morning.
“In the Bleak Midwinter” by Jamie Cullum
You definitely want to listen to this song by Jamie Cullum multiple times. Everyone will enjoy this poetic and poignant hymn about the birthday of Jesus Christ.
“We Three Kings” by Dolly Parton
This song, performed by Dolly Parton, tells us the story of the three wise men who visited Jesus Christ when he was still a newborn baby.
We are also big fans of her song “Hard Candy Christmas,” but its melancholy tone may not be the best choice for some older adults.
“Mary’s Boy Child” by Harry Belafonte
“Mary’s Boy Child” was written by Harry Belafonte, selling millions of copies since its release in 1956.
“Angels We Have Heard on High” by Josh Groban
This religious Christmas song about angels is from the mid-1800s and borrows the older melody of “Gloria.”
Josh Groban’s cover of this song is the version we recommend because his angelic voice is perfect for a song about angels.
“O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Nat King Cole
“O Little Town of Bethlehem” is a Christmas song written over 150 years ago by Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal priest who visited Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.
Nat King Cole’s iconic version of this song will forever be our favorite.
Easy Holiday Songs for Sing-alongs
“Joy to The World” by Isaac Watts
“Joy to The World” is a song written by English minister and hymn writer Isaac Watts in 1719. It is a song about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
The melody is from an even older song, possibly written by Handel. Then, Lowell Mason, a leading figure in American church music, applied this melody to Isaac Watt’s Christmas song lyrics in 1839.
It’s an easy song with repeating melodies and lyrics that even many dementia or Alzheimer’s patients still hum along with.
“Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms
“Jingle Bell Rock” is the rock version of the classic Christmas song “Jingle Bells,” recorded by Bobby Helms in 1957.
It has a catchy melody and straightforward lyrics, making it an excellent song to sing along with. And since it’s a popular song, older adults probably already know it.
“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is a holiday classic about his nostalgia for snow and the joy of having a White Christmas.
It’s one of the most popular Christmas songs in the world, holding the Guinness World Records title of the best-selling single of all time.
Seniors can easily sing this song because of its simple melody and memorable lyrics.
Frosty the Snowman
Frosty the Snowman is a song by Gene Autry, and Cass County Boys recorded it in 1950 after the success of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which they also recorded.
A catchy tune from a classic song that most older adults probably know.
Fun Christmas Songs for Carolers
O Holy Night
This song is one of the most famous melodies everyone knows and sings. This song was composed by Adolphe Charles Adams to accompany the poem written by his friend Placide Cappeau.
This song sings about the birth of Jesus and humanity’s redemption.
Here’s a bit of Christmas trivia for you.
This song, known initially as “Stille Nach,” was written in German and composed on a guitar by Franz Xaver Gruber in 1818 from lyrics written by Joseph Mohr. Franz translated this song into English in 1859.
This song is one of the most angelic-sounding carols for seniors to sing during Christmas.
“Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley
Perhaps an unusual choice, Jeff Buckley’s rendition of Hallelujah is a version we recommend.
Many older adults are familiar with this song, and Jeff’s performance makes it even more majestic.
It’s also much easier to sing along with than the original version by Leonard Cohen.
Infographic: Christmas Songs for Seniors
Senior-friendly Christmas songs should be soft enough for them not to be overwhelmed and give a bit of excitement, nostalgia, and holiday spirit at Christmas time.
You can find the songs listed in this article on most music streaming platforms, so feel free to check them out and put them into your grandparent’s playlist. Happy Holidays from Graying With Grace!