Our Favourite Christmas Songs for Guitar

Dec 5, 2018

It’s officially December! That means that even the humbugs who don’t like Christmas music have to admit ‘tis the season!

And in keeping with that sentiment, over the last couple of weeks we’ve been sharing our very favourite Christmas music! We started with our 10 favourite song to sing, followed last week by our 10 favourite songs for piano. This week we’re going to continue this theme by sharing our favourite Christmas music to play on the guitar!

I have to admit, most Christmas music can be pretty cheesy and/or corny, and by the end of the month you’re probably done with “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” even if you’re a fan of the season. So, to help you avoid losing your mind, while also staying firmly in the holiday spirit, check out these favourites with cool guitar riffs to keep your Christmas hopping!

Jingle Bells – Bobby Helms

Yes, I know I’m starting with one from the last list of favourites (for the piano), but this is a little different! Better known for “Jingle Bell Rock,” Bobby Helms breathes new, rocking life into this old classic. His rockabilly version of this Christmas standard is a heart-warming take that’s sure to get you into the holiday spirit when you strum your way through the great old, jazzy riffs sprinkled throughout.

Christmas songs are among the most popular songs for artists to cover, and “Jingle Bells” is among the favourites. That’s probably because it’s such a versatile song that can easily be jazzed up to create a unique performance.

Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town – Bruce Springteen

With his Midas touch, Bruce Springsteen can seemingly turn any song into a golden rock ‘n’ roll festival, and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” is no exception – in fact, I don’t know about you, but no Christmas song gets me air guitar-ing faster than this one! It’s a great traditional Christmas tune with all sorts of opportunities for adding your own flourishes and twists.

“Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” is a simple carol that can be improved, or at least made unique and special with very little experimentation. It’s no wonder then why so many people have covered this simple song of the season.

Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses

A fun and funky song from the ‘80s, “Christmas Wrapping” doesn’t get the attention it deserves, but is nonetheless deserving of a spot on this list. At its heart it tries (and succeeds pretty well) at being just like a traditional Christmas carol, but it manages to not get itself stuck in your head for hours, or days, like all the others – maybe that’s why it’s not as popular.

The guitar riff in this one should be enough to hook your interest, and it’s fun and easy to play! If you’re the person in charge of the family Christmas music this year, then at least this one will be fun to practice first. And if you’re feeling super adventurous, you can try the Spice Girls’ version.

Walking in the Air – Nightwish

When writing a list of Christmas song for the guitar, the metal fans can’t be neglected! For those metal fans out there, Nightwish’s version of “Walking in the Air” is the Christmas song you can’t resist. Nightwish, a Finnish melodic metal band, gave the tune a dramatic makeover a few years ago, and the results are simply astounding!

If you’re a lover of dramatic guitar riffs, then this song should be right up your ally with its long intermission. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something a little softer, this melody still sounds amazing when played on a single acoustic guitar.

Driving Home for Christmas – Chris Rea

Who knew driving could be such a cheerful, Christmas-spirit filled activity? If you’re in the mood for something a little more traditional than Nightwish, then “Driving Home for Christmas” is a perfect pick. You can count on fun and quality guitar parts because rock ‘n’ roll legend Chris Rea is the man behind the song, and he definitely knows how to turn a boring activity (like driving in the snow) into something truly special (like the hope of seeing loved ones again!).

Just like many of the songs on our previous lists, this one wasn’t a big hit when it was first released in 1988, but since then it has become a Christmas radio station standard. It’s a delightful song to play on the guitar, and it offers a special and unique view of the wonders of Christmas.

Thank God It’s Christmas – Queen

Some Christmas songs just need to be as big and dramatic as the season can be, and who better to deliver that kind of power and charisma than the legendary Freddie Mercury. The tune was written by equally legendary guitarist Brian May (so you just know the guitar part is amazing) and drummer Roger Taylor, who had a talent for writing songs that Freddie could turn into masterpieces.

Though this one was never actually included on any original Queen albums, it can be found on the band’s Greatest Hits III release, and on countless holiday compilations.

Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

“Christmas All Over Again” is a great song for reminding us of two things. The first is how quickly another year can pass us by, and the second is what a great pop writer Tom Petty was. Released in 1992 as a part of the Very Special Christmas series benefiting the Special Olympics, this fun song has raised over $200,000 for athletes with intellectual disabilities all by itself.

Petty said that this song was meant as a tribute to the Phil Spector produced A Christmas Gift for You album, and Spector’s “Wall of Sound” is clearly on display.

Well, that’s all I’ve got time for this week, but there’s still so much to choose from! “Do They Know it’s Christmas,” “Sock It to Me Santa,” “Christmas Time is Here Again,” “Wonderful Christmastime” – the choices are endless!

Did your favourite Christmas song for guitar make our list? If not, let us know in the comments!