It’s been a while since we’ve had a fresh, original Christmas banger, hasn’t it? Every year, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” and Wham!’s “Last Christmas” re-enter the charts, reminding us of the festive pop hits of Christmas past, while current artists’ efforts to match their success with new songs tend to fly under the radar.
Not this year. Maybe it’s our collective desperation to distract ourselves with anything that isn’t politics, or maybe it’s the sentimental nostalgia that comes with the closing of a decade, but 2019 has proved a fruitful year for pop heavyweights contributing new material to the Christmas song canon. From tracks that tug on the heart strings to cheery, festive bops, the stars have aligned this season to bring us a new batch of seasonal listening, with everyone from Taylor Swift to Liam Payne getting in on the action.
Whether they’ll stick around in 2020 is yet to be seen, but for now, here are the best new Christmas songs that have been released this year, all perfectly poised to be added to your office party playlist. Happy listening to all and to all a good night.
Christmas Tree Farm by Taylor Swift
Bright and poppy, with a good measure of sleigh bells keeping the beat throughout, "Christmas Tree Farm" is exactly what you'd expect from a Taylor Swift Christmas song. Perhaps the best thing about this track is the nostalgia, all aided by the cute compilation of home videos that serves as the song's music video. Only Scrooge would be able to resist singing along to "Baby, baby, merry Christmas" while watching a curly haired baby Swift stumble in the snow.
Loneliest Time Of Year by Mabel
Sick of Christmas songs that celebrate love and romance? Mabel's got you covered. This soulful ballad is there to keep all those who feel left out during the festive period company. Not only do her vocals shine bright on this track, but it's also nice to hear a different approach to seasonal songwriting that avoids the cliché of pining for love under the mistletoe. In the second verse, she takes a moment to acknowledge those who are less fortunate, either homeless or without the little extras that make Christmas great, a point that feels particularly poignant this year. It might be the loneliest time of year for some, but this song is a great reminder that, actually, you're not alone in feeling this way at all.
All I Want (For Christmas) by Liam Payne
It is truly shocking that Liam Payne thought he could write a Christmas song that borrows its key lyric and title from Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas" but, er, well, there is no but. This song is not as good as Carey's (obvs), however, he does get points for changing the song's story. Whereas Carey is longing for an unrequited love, Payne's song hears him hope his existing relationship will make it through December. It's also a lot slower than the original, so another one to listen to if you're having a bit of an emo advent.
One I’ve Been Missing by Little Mix
Little Mix's sneakily released Christmas song "One I've Been Missing" hasn't had the commercial success you'd expect it to this year, but I have a hunch that this could be a festive favourite in future. More of a Yuletide grower than an instant Christmas No1, this track hits similar themes of love and longing during the seasonal celebrations, all wrapped up into a neat pop ballad that will stick in your head – trust me.
Cozy Little Christmas by Katy Perry
Katy Perry technically released this song last year as part of an Amazon Music exclusive, but the rest of the world only got to hear it this year alongside a new music video, so I think it deserves to be included in this list. A jolly little bop in which Perry insists she doesn't need fancy presents, just a – you guessed it – cosy little Christmas with you (or Orlando Bloom), this is the kind of song that will get played during the credits of a Christmas romcom, just after the couple share a final kiss under the mistletoe or falling snow (or both). Katy Perry also wins bonus points for having the best Christmas music video of the year. Those wigs, man. Those wigs.
Love You More At Christmas Time by Kelly Rowland
Kelly Rowland doesn't need to release a Christmas song – Destiny's Child's "8 Days Of Christmas" has already earned her a spot in the festive music hall of fame – but she released one anyway and that in itself makes it brilliant. I always think you can (kind of) measure an artist by their dedication to Christmas songs. Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande are great examples of this, having released multiple festive albums and EPs throughout their careers, and the fact that Rowland is joining them with this silky R&B take on the genre fills me with joy. Where's your solo Christmas song, Beyoncé? Michelle? Anyone?
Glittery by Kacey Musgraves ft Troye Sivan
Country music's star of the moment Kacey Musgraves sprinkles glitter over the season, with the help of Troye Sivan and a sweet little acoustic ballad that is the perfect soundtrack for cuddling up on the sofa with a glass of mulled wine this Christmas. The festive metaphors and similes are almost as strong as Musgraves’ obvious love of glitter in this song and, I can't lie (because at Christmas you tell the truth), I'm totally here for it. "I love the way you decorate my heart" is a bit cheesy, yes, but if you can't be cheesy at Christmas, when can you be? Break out your stinkiest Stilton and embrace the festive cheese in all its forms: food, films and country music, natch.
Like It’s Christmas by Jonas Brothers
Is it just me or is this song just Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy", but with a few sleigh bells thrown in and different lyrics? Sure, it's a bit faster and the melody is kind of different, but this striking similarity cannot be ignored. The good news is that "Don't Worry, Be Happy" is a brilliant song and thus Jonas Brothers' "Like It's Christmas" is also pretty great. The bad news? Well, it's just not that Christmassy. If it weren't for the lyrics, I'd say that this is a song that should be played during a cutesy holiday montage in a summer blockbuster, not a Christmas film. Make it more festive, please. Mariah's orders, not mine.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside by John Legend ft Kelly Clarkson
Dreaming of a woke Christmas? Then John Legend is your Santa this year, having already delivered a new version the Christmas classic "Baby, It's Cold Outside", which has come under scrutiny in recent years for its potentially coercive lyrics. But now it's 2019 and we have Mr Legend telling us "it's your body and your choice", just to make sure that everyone has consensual Christmas fun going forward. There are those who will think this song is political correctness gone mad and there are those who will have it on repeat all December long, but whichever side you're on, you have to admit that John Legend sure does sound smooth.
Just Ain’t Christmas by Ne-Yo
One of the downsides of Christmas songs is that they all have tend to sound pretty similar. Not this one. Ne-Yo has remerged into the limelight for this thoroughly modern festive tune, which might not sound Christmassy to some, but that's kind of the point. Ne-Yo can't get into the holiday spirit, you see, because it doesn't feel like Christmas without his lover by his side. Poor guy. At least he's still got his extensive hat collection.