The ultimate country Christmas playlist

The perfect festive playlist for a ho ho hoedown

If you’re already sick of hearing Slade or Mariah on the office radio and need something to cleanse the festive palate, might we suggest a little Southern seasoning?

To help you slide into the festive feeling smoother than a pedal steel guitar, we’ve curated a country Christmas playlist featuring the Queen of Nashville herself and other decorated Dixieland stars. Merry Christmas y’all.

‘Hard Candy Christmas’ – Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton originally sang this classic as part of Carol Hall’s musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, but soon re-recorded it with Kenny Rogers. More bittersweet than its title suggests, ‘Hard Candy Christmas’ captures the feeling of trying to smile while hardship looms, and is a great example of a technically non-Christmas song becoming a Christmas song.

‘Present Without A Bow’ – Kacey Musgraves & Leon Bridges

Kacey Musgraves and Leon Bridges, undoubtedly two of the smoothest voices in contemporary country and soul respectively, united in 2016 for this sweet ditty, where the magic of Christmas just isn’t the same without a loved one.

‘Pretty Paper’ – Willy Nelson

While this sleepy tale of a street vendor selling wrapping paper might be better known sung by the smouldering Roy Orbison, it was actually written by the great Willie Nelson, and Shotgun Willie’s later version has a more down-to-earth feel about it. Perfect for chucking another log on the fire and questioning if that extra Baileys was really worth it.

‘Christmas In Dixie’ – Alabama

Like a Christmas card from the Southern States, where it’s “Snowin’ in the pines”. Christmas doesn’t get much more country than this.

‘Rockin Around The Christmas Tree’ – Brenda Lee

A real festive heavyweight, it’s easy to forget that ‘Little Miss Dynamite’ Brenda Lee was a country star; for all its bluesy, rockabilly groove, this Christmas standard gets its character from her distinctive twang.

‘Christmas Is Near’ – The Stanley Brothers

An old school one, this. With banjo plucking, fiddle solos and a knee-slapping shuffle, The Stanley Brothers capture the rushed excitement of people getting ready for the big day. Even the pine trees are swayin’.

‘Please Come Home For Christmas’ – Eagles

Don Henley and the band threw their santa hats into the ring in 1978 to cover Charles Brown’s ‘Please Come Home For Christmas’, keeping its bluesy core while decorating it with a little county-rock sheen.

‘To Heck With Ole Santa Claus’ – Loretta Lynn

If all you get is coal this Christmas, then this one’s for you. As catchy as it is funny, Loretta Lynn is certainly not happy with the big man: “I like to hit him in his (ho ho ho) with a bunch of big snowballs.”

‘Blue Christmas’ – Elvis Presley

Just like Santa Claus, heartbreak doesn’t take a Christmas holiday – as Elvis well knows. It’s a little sad, but it’s not as if ‘White Christmas’ was any chirpier, and there’s just something intoxicating about those woozy ‘Whoo’s that get you in the mood.

‘Dear Santa’ – Tim McGraw

Superstar Tim McGraw has been a naughty boy. Here he turns his letter to Santa into quite the emotional unloading as he begs him to gift his love a new heart after he broke it. Let’s hope his wish came true, or he’ll be helping to arm Loretta Lynn with some hefty snowballs.

‘A Smoky Mountain Christmas’ – Dolly Parton

With its romantic visions of nature and warm memories of yuletide past, Dolly will have you pining for a life in the Tennessee mountains in no time.

‘Country Christmas’ – Loretta Lynn

Ma’s decorating the tree, Pa’s playing the organ and the smell of apples, nuts and candy fills the air. No good ol’ country Christmas is complete without this jam-packed cracker.