10 Simple, Popular Christmas Songs To Play On Guitar (For Beginners)

Before we even think about starting this article, let’s address the elephant in the room: Christmas? Already?

It feels like it was only summer a couple days ago, and yet here we are, settling back into shorter days, darker nights, and gloomier weather.

Once the sun has fully disappeared for the year, it is only a matter of time before we slide back into the world of tinsel and fairy lights, and it seems to come around faster every single year. You blink once, and suddenly, low and behold, you’re last-minute shopping for everyone’s presents once again.

10 Simple, Popular Christmas Songs to Play on Guitar (for Beginners)

Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no avoiding it: Christmas is coming, and you’re probably better off preparing as soon as you possibly can.

While this time of year can be expensive, there are many gifts that cost nothing at all: the gift of love, the gift of acceptance… and most importantly – to us, at least – the gift of music.

Yes, there will always be a handful of people that roll their eyes at the sight of someone carrying an acoustic guitar into a party, but come on: is there really anything better than a good, old fashioned, festive singalong?

We doubt it. Nothing brings a group of people together faster than a couple of chords leading into an instantly recognizable hit.

So, are you thinking about becoming the music man at your next Christmas party? Want to learn a handful of songs that you can break out at any given moment, raising some festive cheer?

Well, you have come to the right place. Today, we’re going to give you a list of ten Christmas songs that are so easy to play on guitar, but will still impress all your friends and family.

These songs can also all be played with standard tuning, meaning you won’t have to start fiddling with your guitar halfway through the performance. However, you may require a capo to play some of the tunes.

So, let’s get started.

1. Jingle Bells

To start this list off, we’re going to be looking at a true Christmas classic, loved by children and grown ups alike.

This was probably the first Christmas song that most of us ever learnt the words to, due to its popularity and simplicity. Of course, many of us probably knew the words to the ‘Batman smells’ version before we knew the original (memory: unlocked).

If everyone is not already sick of hearing this cheerful yet undeniably overplayed tune over the years, they will jump at the chance to sing along, especially after a couple of drinks.

While we’re willing to bet that a solid 99.99% of the population will know the words to this festive tune, less people will know how to play the song on the guitar.

However, you don’t need to be a master at this instrument to play this extremely easy melody: the only chords used throughout the song are G, C, Am and D, and these are pretty much repeated in the same order throughout.

‘Jingle Bells’ is undoubtedly one of the easiest – if not, the easiest – song to play on this list, and will be easy enough to remember, so you won’t have to worry about scrambling to find the tabs on your phone before playing.

So, if you’re looking for something quick and simple to play for your audience, ‘Jingle Bells’ is definitely a safe bet. Just remember the chords G, C, Am and D, and you’ve got yourself a performance waiting to happen.

2. Last Christmas

Most of us will remember where we were, and exactly what we were doing, when we found out about George Michael’s death on Christmas Day 2016. If we’re being honest, ‘Last Christmas’ has hit a more sombre chord in our hearts ever since, yet it remains a true festive classic, and is still one of our favourite Christmas songs almost four decades later.

This is one of those popular songs that, even if you don’t know every single word to the song, you will certainly be able to join in for the chorus.

This is another song that only contains four chords throughout: D, Bm, Em and A. These chords are repeated throughout, in the same order, for both the chorus and the verses.

Once again, all you need to do is remember these chords, and you will be able to start playing this song instantly, pulling in an audience almost immediately. No one can resist the power of Wham, especially at Christmas.

If you’re looking for a beloved Christmas tune that everyone will love, even if they don’t remember every word, this is definitely one to consider. It’s simple to play, easy to sing, and will get the whole crowd going. You can’t go wrong with this choice.

3. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

The earliest known recording of this song was back in 1934, played on the banjo by Harry Reser and his band. Since then, this has become, without a doubt, one of the most well-known Christmas hits of all time. It has been covered by the likes of The Jackson 5, Mariah Carey, Michael Buble, and many more over the years.

This is one of those songs that pretty much everyone knows the words to, no matter where they’re from or what their age is. It’s another song that we have been singing since we were kids, and it seems that it will never go out of style, even almost a whole century after its initial release.

There are six chords that you will need to remember in order to play this for your friends and family, and they are all fairly simple: G, C, Em, Am, A7 and D. The song itself is pretty straightforward to play, even for beginners, and of course, we have no doubt that you and anyone else in the room will know every word.

So, here we have another easy-to-play, popular tune to show off to your audience. This is definitely a fun one to play, too, as it will surely get the whole room singing. Just make sure you practice beforehand, as it may be tricky getting the timing right if your strumming skills are a little rusty. You should get the hang of it pretty easily, though.

We believe in you!

4. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

Next up, we have another extremely well-known hit that has been around for many generations, and has been covered numerous times over the years. It was originally first written by Johnny Marks in 1949, following his brother-in-law, Robert Lewis May’s creation of the character ‘Rudolph’ ten years previous.

This is another song that we all learned the lyrics to while we were kids, and it has stuck in our heads for the rest of our lives. Luckily, it is also fairly easy to play on guitar, too.

The chords you will need to remember are G, D, G7, Am, Em, and A7: again, pretty simple chords to play, even if you haven’t been playing for the longest time. You will need a capo for this performance: place it on the first fret, and then play the chords as you would usually.

You should take the time to practice this song beforehand, however, as this may be a little more difficult to learn than the ones previously mentioned.

This is one of the most perfect songs you could play to ensure everyone will sing along. After all, who doesn’t know the words to ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’? Get used to playing the chord progressions beforehand, and you should be more than prepared when the big moment finally arrives.

5. We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Ah, the ultimate Christmas classic. The festive equivalent of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song.

Throughout the months of November and December, there will be no doubt that you will hear this tune so much that, by January, you will be glad not to hear it again for another 11 months. However, no matter how many times this carol is overplayed, and oversung by friends and relatives alike, there is something so nostalgic about this one.

It is brilliant for a singalong, and will sound even better with an accompanying guitar melody. Lucky for you, the chosen musician of the party, it is pretty simple to perform.

You will need to practice and perfect the following chords in order to perform this song: G, C, A7, D7, B7 and Em.

Again, this is a fairly simple song to play, and you can guarantee that everyone will join in with the lyrics. This carol has been around since the early 1900s, and is still just as popular to this day, being the chosen favorite of most carolers and choirs during the Christmas season.

If you’re looking for a song that will guarantee every single person in the room to join in, this is the one for you. It warms our hearts every time, and truly is perfect to get everyone into the festive spirit. This is a great choice to bring everyone together.

6. White Christmas

Similar to our previous entry, this is a song that has the power to get everyone crowded around you, belting the lyrics as loudly and clearly as possible. It is one of the greatest, most well-known Christmas songs of all time.

This Oscar-winning song was first released in 1942, performed for the soundtrack of the musical movie, Holiday Inn, by Bing Crosby.

It may be hard to believe that Crosby, himself, wasn’t a huge fan of the song, and couldn’t understand what was so special about it, yet it became one of the biggest, most well-known and well-beloved Christmas songs of all time.

It was also one of his biggest hits of his whole career, and the one that he is, arguably, most remembered for.

The easiest way to play this tune is with the following chords: G, Am, D, C, D7, and Em. There are many other versions that you could learn, using other keys or different chords, but this seems to be one of the most simple versions to learn.

Just like ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’, this is a classic that everyone will know, and everyone will want to sing along to.

If this song doesn’t warm your heart and make you yearn for a hot chocolate in front of a log fire, there may be something wrong with you. This is one of the ultimate Christmas classics, and it is well worth learning for your Christmas party.

7. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

This song is the favorite of many, and has been for several decades. While it is more of a modern classic compared to many of the others we have looked at in this list, it is a song that should help even the biggest Scrooges in the world to jump into the festive feeling.

In 1973, there was a huge rivalry between two songs that had been released for Christmas: Wizzard’s ‘I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday’ and Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’. While both hits have continued to remain hugely popular, even in this day and age, it can be difficult to decide which is better.

In our opinion, however, Wizzard’s is probably the better singalong song (again, this is completely up for debate, and no opinion is right or wrong!)

The song is very simple to play, with the chords being D, G, Bm, E, A, F#m and C#m. While this tune is fairly easy for anyone to play, even beginners, it does contain barre chords: if you’re not a particularly skilled guitarist, you may want to take the time out to practice these chords to ensure they’re perfect. If you’re struggling, you could always replace them with some power chords.

If you and your audience really do wish that it could be Christmas everyday, what song could be more perfect for you all to sing along to?

8. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Next up, we have John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1971 festive favorite. It has been in and out of the UK charts for over five decades, and it never seems to become any less popular or relevant, especially due to its meaningful lyrics.

This song is much more than a simple Christmas hit, as it also protests against the Vietnam War, getting quite a bit more meaningful than your average happy-go-lucky festive song. Despite this – or, even due to this – it is a great song to sing along to, and you can guarantee that most of your audience will know the words.

This is another song, however, that will require a capo while being played. Place the capo on the second fret, and then proceed to use the following chords: G, Am, D, C, Dm and F. ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ is actually one of the few songs on this list that is already played on guitar on the original track.

So, if you’re thinking about playing something a little more alternative, but still something that everyone will be able to sing along to, this popular ex-Beatle hit is a great choice to consider.

9. All I Want For Christmas Is You

If you’re looking for a crowd pleaser, this should be number one on your list. If there is a single person in that room that doesn’t recognise this Christmas hit, they must have lived under a rock for the past three decades. This is the ultimate Christmas song, and everybody knows it.

Mariah’s hit is the most recently released song that we have mentioned in this list, and although it was released back in 1994, it is still one of the most overplayed songs every single Christmas.

This catchy hit will be stuck in your head like an earworm from mid-November onwards, and is guaranteed to get everyone up on the floor dancing while you play it on your guitar.

You can play this hit with fairly simple chords: you will need to become familiar with G, C, Cm, B, Em, Am, and D. The whole song is pretty straightforward to play, and shouldn’t take you long to become familiar with and remember overall.

This version of the song will undoubtedly be loved by everyone at the party, and will be a fun tune to play and sing along to. The upbeat classic will get everyone moving, no matter their age. This is a song that everyone will enjoy.

10. Fairytale Of New York

The last song on this list, but definitely not the least, has been voted ‘greatest Christmas song of all time’ on several lists written across the world, mainly in the UK and in Ireland. If you can master this song, you will have every single person at the junction in the palm of your hand.

Released in the late eighties, this hit took the world by storm, and is still one of the most popular festive classics to this day. Again, it is one of those songs that while not everyone will know every single lyric, they will almost certainly be singing along with the infamous chorus.

Similarly to ‘Merry Xmas (War is Over)’, while the song may sound uplifting, the lyrics tell a different story, as it tells the narrative of a young Irish immigrant couple who moved to New York, hoping for a better life, but ending up living in a drunken state with several shattered dreams between them.

This song may be quite tricky for a beginner to play, but through plenty of practice, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to perfect it in time for your party.

The chords used are D, G, A, E and Bm: while these chords will be easy to remember, you will need to practice to make sure the song sounds good enough for your audience to recognize and enjoy.

This hit has been a favorite for many years, and we believe it will be for many, many more. This will guarantee to get everyone singing along, and should create a magical moment that everyone will remember for years to come.

Our only suggestion is that, perhaps, you should replace the one word that is sung in the second part of the song. You know the one we’re talking about.

Are You Ready For Your Performance?

With Christmas swiftly approaching, sneaking up on us faster than we could believe it to, it is time for you to get your chosen instrument out and begin practicing as soon as possible.

The more songs you remember, the better! It may be easier to have these tabs ready on your phone, or on a piece of paper, prepared for your performance, but it will be so much more impressive if you learn them off by heart.

So, get ready for your big performance at the party: it will be one that everyone will still be talking about in years to come… hopefully, in a good way.

No matter what, by bringing your guitar along, you will ensure that there will be entertainment for the night, and everyone will surely enjoy a singalong, no matter whether you’re a guitar-shredding expert, or a beginner who is trying their hardest.

Go out there, and show them what you have got to offer. You’ve got this!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Easy Christmas Songs To Play On Guitar?

It depends: one person’s ‘easy’ could be another person’s ‘nearly impossible’. There are plenty of Christmas songs that can easily be learned and played by beginner guitar players, and while it will take some practice, you should be able to pick up the songs pretty quickly provided you have learned the chords, and how to play them properly.

What Are Some Good Songs For A Beginner Guitar Player?

There are many songs that are pretty easy for beginners to learn. If you are learning to play power chords, songs such as Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, or Green Day’s ‘Basket Case’, are great ones to start with. John Denver’s ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ is another favorite, as it only includes the C major, D major and G major chords.

It is suggested that you first learn a song with only two or three chords, or one that mainly consists of power chords, so that you can focus on forming the chords with your hands and get good practice out of it.

Where Can I Find Structured Guitar Tutorials?

While you will be better off finding someone to teach you guitar lessons face-to-face, there are plenty of videos on YouTube that offer help and guidance when it comes to learning how to play. There are also many free sites that offer simple tabs to follow, such as Ultimate Guitar.

Andrew Patterson
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