Christmas Songs: 12 Modern Holiday Tunes for Your Playlist


Christmas songs from Carrie Underwood, Meghan Trainor, the Goo Goo Dolls and more make up this playlist of all-new holiday releases.

Carrie Underwood, “My Gift,” album cover – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Christmas songs from Carrie Underwood, Meghan Trainor, the Goo Goo Dolls and more make up this playlist of all-new holiday releases

‘Tis the season to release holiday music, and a bevy of pop and rock stars are getting into the spirit with new Christmas songs. From originals to classic covers, everyone from Meghan Trainor to Carrie Underwood to Lawrence Gowan of Styx are unleashing holiday singles and albums to brighten up what has been a difficult year for many. Read on for a list of 12 new holiday songs (in alphabetical order) to get on your playlist.

Arnel Pineda of Journey, “This Christmas – A Beacon of Hope”

Current Journey vocalist Arnel Pineda has a new Christmas song out, “This Christmas – A Beacon of Hope,” which highlights his passionate vocals with a delicate piano arrangement. The song’s theme is one of hope and faith during a turbulent year. Pineda, in a statement, says the song is about the heroes who give the world “hope during these uncertain times.”

Blackmore’s Night, “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”

Blackmore’s Night – the band from founding Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and his wife, singer Candice Night – just released a new holiday EP, “Here We Come A-Caroling.” The set features new versions of four traditional Christmas songs. Among them, “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” stands out, with its warm, inviting vocals and delicate guitars.

Carrie Underwood, “Little Drummer Boy”

“American Idol” star Carrie Underwood recently released her first Christmas album, “My Gift.” The collection features Underwood’s take on several traditionally Christmas songs, and one of them, “Little Drummer Boy,” features a guest vocal appearance from her son, Isaiah Fisher, making it a very special song.

Dolly Parton, “Christmas Is (featuring Miley Cyrus)”

Dolly Parton is out with her first holiday album in 30 years, “A Holly Dolly Christmas,” featuring a mix of timeless Christmas songs and original tracks. Parton wrote five original songs for the album, including the catchy song, “Christmas Is,” featuring Miley Cyrus, and the album also features favorites such as “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Comin’ Home for Christmas.” Among the covers, Parton’s rendition of “Mary, Did You Know?” really stands out, thanks to Parton’s passionate delivery.

Goo Goo Dolls, “This Is Christmas”

Longstanding pop-rock band Goo Goo Dolls released their first-ever holiday album in 2020, “It’s Christmas All Over.” The album offers a mix of holiday classics and new, original Christmas songs, including the whimsical original “This Is Christmas.” John Rzeznik and Robby Takac tackle traditional holiday tunes such as “Let It Snow,” “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” with a warm, inviting tone.

Gwen Stefani, “Here This Christmas”

Gwen Stefani released his first-ever Christmas album, “You Make It Feel Like Christmas,” back in 2017. Now, Stefani is back with two new holiday songs: “Here This Christmas” featuring Ryan Tedder and a modern cover of the holiday classic, “Sleigh Ride.” Both songs are charming, but the former stands out, with its catchy, upbeat character and festival sonics.

Lawrence Gowan of Styx and Stuck On Planet Earth, “Can You Make It Feel Like Christmas”

Powerhouse Styx vocalist Lawrence Gowan and Toronto alternative rock band Stuck on Planet Earth have teamed for a new holiday song, penned by Gowan, called “Can You Make It Feel Like Christmas.” The song addresses a year filled with challenges and hardships, offering a message of hope and unity for the holiday season. Gowan says he wanted to “capture the essence of the holiday spirit” with the new song, and he certainly did.

Mariah Carey featuring Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson, “Oh Santa!”

Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson have joined forces for a a new Christmas single, the jolly “Oh Santa!” The song has the three singers asking Santa to help make their Christmases bright by bringing “me back my baby,” as they sing, “They say it’s unrealistic / But I believe in you Saint Nick.” They try to convince Santa that they’ve been “really, really, really good this year” and promise to leave him milk and cookies. How could Santa resist?

Meghan Trainor, “Holidays”

Pop sensation Meghan Trainor has released a new Christmas album, “A Very Trainor Christmas,” and the album features six new originals. The album includes an appearance from the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire on the song “Holidays,” plus guests spots from Seth MacFarlane and even Trainor’s cousins, Jayden, Jenna, & Marcus Toney. “I’m a Christmas baby, it’s always been a dream of mine to release a Christmas Album and to do it with my family makes it that much better,” Trainor says of the festive release.

Runaway June, “Christmas on the Radio”

Runaway June have a new holiday EP out, “When I Think About Christmas,” brimming with the group’s catchy country-pop. The EP features a charming original holiday song, “Christmas on the Radio,” which was co-written by Jennifer Wayne of the group, as well as a collection of traditional holiday songs.

Shawn Mendes and Camilla Cabello, “The Christmas Song”

Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes are a couple, so why not make beautiful music together? The two recently released a surprise duet of the holiday classic, “The Christmas Song.” The track is also a charity single, as Cabello states on Instagram that every stream will “support those in need.” Cabello and Mendes also donated $100,000 this season to Feeding America, an organization that is providing meals to families in need across the country.

The Offspring, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

The Offspring are back with a jolly cover version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” originally sung by Darlene Love and featured on the 1963 compilation album, “A Christmas Gift For You,” from Phil Spector. The song features production from Bob Lock and the kind of punk-fueled edge that only The Offspring can deliver.