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Photo of santa claus playing christmas songs on the piano
Photo of Michael Lane
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. Luckily, as a musician, you have something more to give than just presents. Whether you’re at home with family or spending the holiday with friends, learning a few Christmas songs can make any occasion extra festive.

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

Start quiet, get jazzy - "Silent Night"

The soft, beautiful melody of 'Silent Night' is the perfect place to start. It’s sure to bring 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 also a great excuse for even the coolest of us to get a little corny. Imagine you’re wearing a tuxedo in a jazz bar and add some blue notes to your Christmas setlist. '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 spread some Christmas cheer. You can never go wrong with a classic that everybody knows: 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town'. It doesn’t matter which of the countless versions your audience has heard - Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, or Bruce Springsteen - the lyrics are imprinted into everyone’s mind. There’s even a Spanish version ('Santa Claus Llegó a La Ciudad') that you can play for Spanish-speaking family or friends.

'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' is another good singalong option, 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 neighbors. If they complain, just get them involved: The more the merrier, right?

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 this song everywhere from around mid-November, explaining why it re-enters the charts every year. 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. Deep down, you know you love it.

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