When most of us think of Christmas music, we imagine the traditional songs in the public domain. Those songs have existed so long, people don't remember a time without them. However, the past five decades have seen a whole new wave of Christmas classics in pop culture.
From the rock stars of the 70's to the pop stars of today, here are ten modern Christmas songs you need on your playlist.
10. "Do They Know It's Christmas?" - Band Aid
Assembled by Bob Geldof, this eighties anthem has become a Christmas staple. This charity single, along with the Live Aid concerts, sounded the alarm of disease and hunger in Africa. This powerful song fits right in with the sentiment of charity during the holiday season.
9. "Christmas Through Your Eyes" - Gloria Estefan
Initially released on Gloria Estefan's 1992 "Greatest Hits" album, this became the title track of Estefan's Christmas album the following year. Written from the perspective of an adult, this song talks about wanting to view the magic of Christmas through a child's eyes once again.
8. "Wonderful Christmastime" - Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney not only made memorable music with The Beatles, but further blossomed as a solo artist. Though this is a Christmas song, it has become one of McCartney's most recognizable solo singles. It became a Christmas classic in its own right, spawning multiple covers though the years.
7. "Merry Christmas, Darling" - Carpenters
Though many have covered this song, nobody can compare to Karen Carpenter's angelic vocal delivery in the original. This is a more melancholy Christmas song, but its pretty melody is a must for any Christmas playlist this holiday season.
6. "Last Christmas" - Wham!
Having passed away on Christmas day, this song takes on a whole new meaning following George Michael's tragic death. As with many others on this list, several covers of this song have been released in recent years. But none of them can capture the pure eighties magic of the original.
5. "My Only Wish (This Year)" - Britney Spears
Britney Spears is known for many things. She performed with a snake at the VMAs, made her first video in a schoolgirl uniform, and has been dubbed the Princess of Pop. In 2000, she added this festive track to her repertoire, forever cementing her place in the holiday canon.
4. "Underneath the Tree" - Kelly Clarkson
One of the few current tracks good enough to rival other Christmas classics is Kelly Clarkson's "Underneath The Tree." Having followed the formula "All I Want For Christmas Is You" did, this song doesn't feel confined to any particular era. Time will tell, of course, if it becomes big enough in the long run.
3. "Someday At Christmas" - Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder's song about actual peace on Earth on Christmas has become a holiday standard. Several covers have come out over the years, the most notable being from The Jackson 5. Its lyrics ring true even to this day, showing how much work we all still need to do. However, there's a sense of optimism which makes it a festive, uplifting addition to any Christmas playlist.
2. "Oh Santa!" - Mariah Carey feat. Ariana Grande & Jennifer Hudson
Mariah Carey might have another Christmas classic on her hands with "Oh Santa!" The track was first released on her second Christmas album in 2010. This year, however, the track was given new life with Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson. The new version of the song was featured in Carey's new Christmas special.
1. "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Mariah Carey
It goes without saying that "All I Want For Christmas Is You" has become a new Christmas standard. The song is known the world over and dominates the charts every year. It finally reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 last year, on the song's 25th anniversary. The song returned to the top spot this year, as well as topping the UK charts for the first time.