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Photo of santa claus playing christmas songs on the piano
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by Michael Lane

The Best Piano Songs to Get Into the Christmas Spirit

Music makes Christmas truly special. It can transform even the grumpiest Grinch into Santa Claus, with or without the beard. Lucky for you, as a musician you have something more to give than presents. Whether you are at home with family or at parties with friends, simply learning a few Christmas songs can make the holiday remarkable.

That doesn’t just mean Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Jingle Bells. You’re better than that. With the right songs you can create the Christmas-movie feeling of happy contentment. The best part? All of the songs mentioned below are available to learn on the flowkey app.

Start quiet, get jazzy - "Silent Night"

The soft, beautiful melody of 'Silent Night' is the perfect place to start by bringing a smile to the faces of everybody lying half-asleep after a huge meal. If they don’t start snoring, then move on to 'White Christmas'. The melody is so instantly recognizable that you’ll have eyes open and mouths moving before you even reach the sixth note: “I’m dreaming of a…”.

This song also gets extra points for comedy on a grey and rainy Christmas Day. If you live south of the equator, where Christmas comes in the summertime, then the same goes for 'Winter Wonderland', with a bouncy swing feel. It’s not strictly a Christmas song, but the lyrics mention “sleigh bells” a few times so you’re probably safe...

Christmas is an excuse for even the coolest of us to get a little corny, so imagine you are wearing a tuxedo in a jazz bar and add some blue notes to your Christmas set list. 'Santa Baby' brings these in nicely, and works well if you’re playing a cute private show for one person. 'Jingle Bell Rock' has a little more energy to it, and the song follows a common blues progression so if you’re confident enough to start improvising then go for it.

Singing along - "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"

Getting people singing along is a wonderful way to spend time together, so go for a classic that everybody knows: 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town'. It doesn’t matter which of the 200 versions they have heard - Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble or Bruce Springsteen - the lyrics are imprinted into every mind. There is even a Spanish version with the same melody ('Santa Claus Llegó a La Ciudad') to keep Spanish-speaking family or friends happy.

'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' is another good singalong, especially if there are kids around. Get the lyrics up and teach everyone the call-and-response later in the song. You sing “Had a very shiny nose…” and they yell “LIKE A LIGHT BULB”. Fun for everyone, except maybe your neighbours. If they complain, just get them involved. They’ll have a great time.

The finisher - "All I Want for Christmas is You"

You can’t argue with 'All I Want for Christmas is You'. Like it or not, you start to hear it everywhere from around mid-November, explaining why it re-enters the charts every year. It’s not going anywhere either, featuring heavily in iconic guilty-pleasure Christmas movie Love Actually. Two years ago it was even made into a children’s book and the popularity is fully deserved. It’s a modern Christmas classic with an unforgettable melody and the power to provoke an instant singalong. Don’t fight it. You love it really.

So get learning, safe in the knowledge that if the opportunity to perform doesn’t come this time, it will come eventually. These are all excellent additions to any repertoire, allowing you to bring a little happiness to everybody at Christmas.

christmas tree