The top 5 Christmas carols ever

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Bring the Christmas spirit into your life with these classic Christmas Carols.

Looking for some nostalgia from your childhood? Want to sing some carols with your family? Or do you just enjoy the nice sound of old-fashioned Christmas carols? Whatever your motivation, these top five Christmas classics will put you in the right mood. It’s only one more week to go, after all! And with our carol trivia, you’re sure to bridge any uncomfortable silences at the dinner table.

Joy to the World

One of the most popular Christmas carols of all time, Joy to the World is a culmination of Isaac Watt’s writing and music by Lowell Mason (based on Handel’s Antioch). It was based on Psalm 98:4 and celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. The upbeat melody and harmonies fused with the positive message make it perfect as a song to celebrate Christmas.

Jingle Bells

Another one of the most popular Christmas carols of all time, you’ll probably have a difficult time escaping it during the holiday season. But it’s surprisingly old. James Lord Pierpont composed it and wrote the text in late 1857, originally under the title One Horse Open Sleigh. By now every major pop singer makes his or her own rendition of this song, meaning it can fit any given mood, whatever you require.

Silent Night, Holy Night

Technically, Silent Night, Holy Night celebrates the night before Christmas, rather than Christmas itself. It has Austrian origins. Franz Xaver Gruber composed the music to Joseph Mohr’s lyrics near Salzburg in 1818. Very popular with choirs nowadays, its calm and sombre tone makes you yearn for the peace often associated with Christmas time.

Sussex Carol

It’s difficult to trace the origins of the Sussex Carol (often referred to by its first line, On Christmas Night All Christians Sing). Luke Wadding, an Irish bishop living in the 17thcentury, originally wrote the words, but its commonly known tune and up-to-date text weren’t published until 1919 by Cecil Sharp in Gloucestershire – but he just happened to hear it being sung.

Away in a Manger

Another carol with questionable origins, Away in a Manger probably has American roots, although scholars have yet to discover the original lyricist. It’s particularly popular in the English-speaking world and was first published in the 19th century. There are two separate musical variations, one by William J Kirkpatrick and one by James Ramsey Murray.

Other Christmas carols

Of course, a list of Christmas carols can never be exhaustive, and this one was based purely on our taste. Other popular and important carols include:

-Hark the Herald Angels Sing

-O Holy Night

-Once in Royal David’s City

-In Dulci Jubilo

-O Little Town of Bethlehem

-Sans Day Carol

-The Three Kings

-Coventry Carol

-The First Nowell