A Merry Karaoke Christmas Party: A Guide To Your Best Songs

The holidays are always filled with Christmas songs — at school, in the mall, on KOST 103.5. They are also prime time for karaoke, whether it’s at a family gathering, office buổi tiệc nhỏ or night out with friends.

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This year, The Times created the ultimate guide to lớn finding your go-to karaoke songs with the help of reader suggestions, a panel of karaoke enthusiasts & Pandora music analysts. The tuy nhiên generator allows you to lớn choose songs based on time period, vocal range, mood & difficulty.


You can sing anything you want at a holiday karaoke party. But if you want khổng lồ have a Christmas-themed karaoke night, it’s helpful to use the same principles we learned from our research to lớn choose a song. The best selections are always a phối of strategy and personal preference — head & heart, if you will.

We invited the experts and reporters from our karaoke project to mô tả what they would sing if we had a Christmas-themed karaoke các buổi party — và linked the songs khổng lồ corresponding karaoke videos for your convenience. We also asked Pandora music analysts Steve Hogan và Hannah Glass lớn remind us of what we should consider và to suggest songs based on their Music Genome Project data.

Welcome lớn our virtual karaoke các buổi tiệc nhỏ (Theme: Christmas)

A.J. Rafael, singer-songwriter“Feliz Navidad” and “The Christmas Song”“Feliz Navidad” gets everybody dancing và singing along, which is always perfect for a buổi tiệc nhỏ opener. “The Christmas Song,” aka “Chestnuts roasting on an xuất hiện fire,” is a classic that everybody knows, and it really reminds people of the warmth of the season. There are really cool chords and key changes in that song, so I’d say that it’s a medium-difficulty tuy vậy with just enough jazz to lớn make a singer look really good if they can nail it.” Rafael và Alyssa Navarro recently released their first Christmas song, “Counting Down to lớn Christmas.”

Alyssa Navarro, singer“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” & “All I Want for Christmas Is You”“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is my go-to because it’s warm & fuzzy — and everyone knows it. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey is another fun one because everybody can dance lớn it. Also, everyone, including nonsingers, knows all the background parts. Navarro was one of Forbes’ 2022 30 Under 30 for her work as an executive producer at Disney Launchpad.

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Sing-along tuy vậy or show-off song?

There are two main intentions when choosing a tuy nhiên for karaoke, singer Alyssa Navarro told The Times. You can pick an impressive tuy vậy you know you can smash, or find a tuy vậy that’s easy for everyone khổng lồ sing along. Christmas songs with great sing-along choruses: Gene Autry, “Jingle Bells”; Burl Ives, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”; Pointer Sisters (or Bruce Springsteen), “Santa Claus Is Coming to lớn Town”; “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” Christmas songs with demanding vocals: Carrie Underwood, “O Holy Night” (extra-challenging: Celine Dion’s version); Mariah Carey, “All I Want for Christmas Is You”; Nat King Cole, “The Christmas Song”; the Beach Boys, “Christmas Day”; Donny Hathaway, “This Christmas”

Steve Hogan, Pandora’s director of music analysis “Christmas in Hollis” When I was a kid, the first edition of “A Very Special Christmas” came out & was an instant hit in our household. It is a compilation album of holiday tunes that features some of the biggest stars of the ’80s, & along with the subsequent editions, it has raised a ton of money for the Special Olympics. One of my favorites on this album is “Christmas in Hollis” by Run D.M.C., which, lớn my knowledge, is the first original hip-hop Christmas song. It is fun, funny, a little bit irreverent, but overall it is a good-natured Christmas classic — và guaranteed to be a winner at the holiday karaoke party.

Hannah Glass, Pandora’s rap và hip-hop analyst“Carol of the Bells,” “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” “O Holy Night,” “Mary Did You Know,” “River,” “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”Along with “The 12 Days of Christmas,” “Carol of the Bells” is lượt thích the “Baby Got Back” of Christmas lyrical marathons. I’ve always wanted lớn know the words, and if there’s any Christmas tuy vậy that I’d need the lyrics in front of me lớn perform, it would be this one.

“All I Want for Christmas” is my surprise card for summer karaoke. It works any time of year: Mariah Carey’s that good. But my actual favorite Christmas karaoke songs — jazz standards aside — are the slow, lyrically written melodies of “O Holy Night,” “Mary Did You Know” and Joni Mitchell’s “River.” They showcase a wide vocal range và have enough space between the words to lớn make it your own. For whimsy, I recently did “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” at our Pandora Music Analysis party, & it was a hit.


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Jen Yamato, L.A. Times film reporter“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” Before Mariah Carey officially became our once & future Queen of Christmas, Rock và Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love earned her own Xmas GOAT status belting out this famous 1963 holiday jam. It’s a classic that hits the Christmas karaoke sweet spot: irresistibly bouncy, a cảm ứng melancholic, jubilant và melodramatic all at once, & every single soul in the room knows it by heart. How could they not, when everyone from Jon Bon Jovi to the Foo Fighters, Cher, U2 & Mariah herself have covered it? Make Darlene proud by unleashing all those angsty Christmas feelings và singing it to lớn the rafters.

Extra suggestions: Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas,” The Beach Boys’ ”Little Saint Nick,” the Lonely Island và Justin Timberlake’s “D— in a Box” — yes, technically a Christmas tuy nhiên — & “Christmas Is All Around,” the holiday-ized version of The Troggs’ “Love Is All Around” sung by Bill Nighy in “Love, Actually.”

Howard Ho, composer và musicologist“Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” Vaughn Monroe’s version of “Let It Snow” is my choice for its usage in “Die Hard,” whose score I’ve actually analyzed musically on YouTube. But also, “Let It Snow” fits comfortably in my range, features lots of stepwise notes that are easy to lớn sing & has the universal message of “cold weather is for snuggling.” Ho is also a writer và sound designer, và his YouTube channel, Howard Ho Music, is known for his series “How Hamilton Works.”

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What's your vocal range?

Many popular Christmas songs have been recorded by multiple artists in different vocal ranges. For example, there are 18 versions of “The Christmas Song” available on Karafun. Baritones & basses can sing Michael Bublé or Seth MacFarlane’s versions; tenors may want khổng lồ go with Justin Bieber or the Temptations; altos have Natalie Cole or Diana Krall; mezzo-sopranos can choose from Jessie J or Peggy Lee; và sopranos can go for the Celine Dion or Idina Mendel ones.Here are some more suggestions for each vocal range: Bass: Thurl Ravenscroft, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”Baritone: Andy Williams, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”Tenor: Stevie Wonder, “Someday at Christmas”Alto: Rosemary Clooney, “Snow”; Ella Fitzgerald, “Sleigh Ride”; Faith Hill, “Where Are You Christmas?” Mezzo-soprano: Ariana Grande, “Santa Tell Me”; Kelly Clarkson & Ariana Grande, “Santa, Can’t You Hear Me”Soprano: Darlene Love, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

Graeme Hinde, Casual Encounters Live Band Karaoke“Santa Claus Is Coming lớn Town” My favorite holiday tuy vậy to sing is the Bruce Springsteen version of “Santa Claus Is Coming lớn Town.” It might be tricky with regular karaoke because it starts with a full minute of Bruce talking to lớn the crowd about who’s been naughty or nice, what the E Street Band wants for Christmas this year. But since we vì chưng it as a live band, we can skip all that & get straight to lớn the song. Hinde is the bassist và manager of Casual Encounters Live Band Karaoke, which performs in various venues in Southern California.

Kiki Park, singer & KJ “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and “This Christmas”I always sing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” because it’s an awesome record and has completely taken over as the No. 1 Christmas dance tune. It also doesn’t feel like the holiday season has begun unless I hear it. & my warm Christmas heart loves “This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway. I can smell my mommy’s cookies when I hear this jam. Kiki Park, also known as Kiki Karaoke, KJs at Prince O’ Whales, the Shack và Banter Bar in West L.A.

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What kind of mood are you in?

Most Christmas songs are joyful, but if you want to lớn bring something more unexpected, here are some other mood alternatives. Bare your soul: “Silent Night”; The Eagles, “Please Come trang chủ for Christmas”; Wham!, “Last Christmas”Just dance: Jackson 5, “Santa Claus Is Coming khổng lồ Town”; Stevie Wonder, “What Christmas Means to Me”; Brenda Lee, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”Swagger: The Kinks, “Father Christmas”; Snoop Dogg, “Doggy Dogg Christmas”; Dropkick Murphys, “The Season’s Upon Us”; Eartha Kitt, “Santa Baby”

Jessica Roy, L.A. Times Utility Journalism Team assistant editor“Mele Kalikimaka,” “Santa Baby” và “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters’ rendition of “Mele Kalikimaka” has optimal crowd sing-along potential, uncomplicated lyrics & a runtime under three minutes. That’s the trifecta of a good karaoke tuy vậy as far as I’m concerned. Plus, it’s not overtly religious, and the laid-back feel-good vibes make you think of tropical vacations instead of frightful winter weather. The boogie-woogie backup vocals & quirky syncopation from the lyrics give the whole thing a lovable kiss of kitsch. It’s also a male/female holiday duet that isn’t the slightly creepy “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

I also like karaoke songs with the potential for some dance moves. Standing onstage clinging lớn the mic with your eyes glued khổng lồ the screen is not a fun experience for those watching you. Eartha Kitt’s version of “Santa Baby” has lots of potential for hip-swaying, finger-curling and other come-hither moves. Depending on your audience, you can play “Santa Baby” straight — an adult woman with some fairly straightforward if spendy requests from the big man — or lượt thích Eartha Kitt does it, where you can just about hear her gesturing coquettishly in Santa’s direction. Speaking of straight, this tuy vậy is about 10 times funnier when a man sings it.

And lastly, at a peppy 2 minutes & 6 seconds, Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is a crowd-pleaser that will have you on and off the stage in a hurry, if that’s something you want. Brenda Lee’s contralto can be a little tough to match, but when it’s this short, it won’t hurt your voice to lớn belt for a bit.


From Puerto Rican salsa khổng lồ Bronx bachata to Mexican balladry — và something of a surprise at No. 1 — here’s the perfect playlist for your holiday season.

Matthew Ballinger, L.A. Times Utility Journalism Team editor“Santa Bring My Baby Back (to Me)”Calling all Christmas hams: Shake your hips, curl your lip and take on that unmistakable Elvis affect to lớn sing this 1957 rock ’n’ roll carol. Lyrically, this upbeat song about a singer missing his love at the holidays hits all the nostalgic notes — “fill my sock with candy,” “make these reindeer hurry” & “candles all aglow.” Shy singers will appreciate the runtime under 2 minutes, và your audience will appreciate having more than one opportunity lớn “ah-hubh-ah-hubh-ah-hubh-ah-hubh” with you at the over of the bridges.

Karen Garcia, L.A. Times Utility Journalism Team reporter“Sleigh Ride” In 1963, the Ronettes recorded a cover of “Sleigh Ride” for Phil Spector’s “A Christmas Gift for You,” an album of Christmas songs by various acts. This song has been covered by many talented artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Neil kim cương and, more recently, Gwen Stefani. Everyone who has sung this tune has made it their own. But I absolutely love this cover because khổng lồ me it sounds like a musical group just having fun & harmonizing together. Why not grab your friends and do the same?

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What's your audience?

Sometimes you’re in the mood lớn sing a certain type of song. Other times, you’re gauging the mood of the room. Depending on what kind of holiday gathering you’re attending, you might want lớn consider:Kid-friendly songs: “Jingle Bells,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Up on the Housetop,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to lớn Town,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Christmas Time Is Here,” “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” Religious songs: "Little Drummer Boy,” “O Holy Night,” “Silent Night,” “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” “Joy to lớn the World,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Angels We Have Heard on High”Mischievous songs: Elmo và Patsy,Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”; Art Mooney, “Nuttin’ for Christmas”; Kelly Clarkson, “Christmas Isn’t Canceled (Just You)”

Jon Healey, L.A. Times Utility Journalism Team senior editor“Do You Hear What I Hear?” This song has been covered by a metric megaload of artists, so pick the one in your range. Bing Crosby sings it at the lower kết thúc of his baritone, and he brings it in at a brisk 2:45 — considerably faster than some of the more emotive versions out there (looking at you, Carrie Underwood). What makes this a great karaoke tuy vậy is the call and response in each verse — e.g., you sing “Do you see what I see?” and all your friends respond, “Do you see what I see?” It also has a big finish, if that’s your thing.

Michelle Woo, L.A. Times West Coast Experiences Editor“This Gift”Sure khổng lồ be a crowd-pleaser among millennials who couldn’t get enough of Nick Lachey và his frosted tips, this forgotten ’90s tuy nhiên recorded by 98 Degrees leaves us with a holiday mystery: What exactly is the gift? Sex? Eternal love? An engagement ring? Ah, who cares? The tuy vậy has a catchy chorus và offers plenty of boy-band nostalgia.

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Bonus suggestions

Most of the Christmas canon is made up of songs in the years during & immediately following World War II. It’s hard for newer Christmas songs to stand the test of time, but here are some lớn try:New Christmas songs: Kelly Clarkson, “Underneath the Tree;” Ariana Grande, “Santa Tell Me;” Sia, “Snowman;” Josh Groban “Believe”And last but not least, holidays for togetherness:Duets lớn sing together: Rosemary and Betty Clooney, “Sisters” from “White Christmas;” Bing Crosby và The Andrews Sisters, “Mele Kalikimaka;” Bing Crosby & David Bowie, “Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy;” Ella Fitzgerald và Louis Jordan, “Baby It’s Cold Outside;” Gwen Stefani & Blake Shelton, You Make It Feel lượt thích Christmas

Ada Tseng, L.A. Times Utility Journalism Team assistant editor“Last Christmas” and “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” Heartbreak songs that are danceable make for the ultimate karaoke song. Everyone knows “Last Christmas” by Wham! so I can count on people to sing along. This is also a good reminder that if you prefer singing in the alto (lower female) range, the tenor (higher male) songs are your friends. You might not be able to lớn hit the Mariah Carey high notes, but maybe you can hit the George Michael high notes.

Also, according khổng lồ our experts in our go-to karaoke tuy vậy guide, we should go back to lớn what we listened to when we were young when picking a song. I hadn’t thought about “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by *NSYNC in a long time, but, for sure, I know all the words! và it is a “wonderful feeling lớn feel the love in the room from the floor to lớn the ceiling.” It’s also cheerful, earnest & — again, most important lớn me as someone who gets nervous if I have khổng lồ belt something — not too high.

Happy holidays!


Tired of chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Here, 50 new Christmas classics — from pop to hip-hop to folk lớn glam-rock — from the past half-century.

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