The ultimate pop diva Christmas playlist
I’mma let you finish, Michael Bublé, but when it comes to iconic modern Christmas jams, nobody can top our favorite pop princesses.
Obviously, we would never dare disrespect Mariah Carey in this most Mimi time of the year, but for when she needs a cup of tea after hitting those high notes, there are plenty more queens of Christmas to fill the silence. To keep us dancing all December, we’ve assembled a playlist of 30 fabulously festive tracks — both covers and originals — from Ariana, Gaga, Britney, Taylor, and more. Because for the most glittering time of the year, who better to soundtrack it than the sparkliest singers in the world?
Let’s start with some originals…
“All I Want for Christmas is You,” Mariah Carey
“Santa Tell Me,” Ariana Grande
Thank u for “Santa Tell Me,” Ariana. We’ll play it next.
“Underneath the Tree,” Kelly Clarkson
The lead single off Clarkson’s 2013 Christmas album Wrapped in Red was an instant hit, destined for classic status to rival Mariah’s.
"Santa, Can't You Hear Me?" Kelly Clarkson & Ariana Grande
With their powers combined, a persuasive plea to Mr. Claus.
“My Only Wish (This Year),” Britney Spears
Sweet Britney! Our only wish every year is for Spears to release more holiday music. Santa, can you hear me?
“Christmas Makes Me Cry,” Kacey Musgraves
Break out the tissues and slow it down a little with this melancholy tune from a country Christmas queen.
"It's Not Christmas Till Somebody Cries," Carly Rae Jepsen
Here's Carly Rae elaborating on Kacey's theme! Just a little more lighthearted this time.
“It Just Don’t Feel Like Xmas (Without You),” Rihanna
Take a break from holding your breath for a new RiRi album and revisit this sad 2006 slow jam from none other than Now That’s What I Call Christmas 3.
“Here This Christmas,” Gwen Stefani
Stefani has proven herself a yuletide diva to watch (look out, Bing Crosby), and climbed the Christmas queen ladder ever further with a new honor in 2020: Providing the Hallmark Channel's official "Countdown to Christmas" theme in the form of this winsome tune. Now that's power!
“Cozy Little Christmas,” Katy Perry
Perry released this bubbly addition to the festive diva catalogue in 2018, then followed it up a year later with an over-the-top video illustration of what Christmas à la Katy really looks like.
“Christmas Tree Farm,” Taylor Swift
Merry Swiftmas, everyone! Get wild and leave the lights up until January!
“Never Felt Like Christmas,” Lizzo
Yes, Lizzo has an original Christmas song, and yes, it’s good as hell.
"Oh Santa!" Mariah Carey feat. Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson
Mimi gave her irresistible 2010 Christmas bop a triple-girl-powered update in 2020 with crucial assists from Ariana and JHud.
“Christmas Tree,” Lady Gaga
Before she was off the deep end and we were all watching as she dives in, Lady Gaga was still a wacky, arty pop diva delivering dirty-minded holiday singles.
The saddest, sweetest love song on the list comes from Sia’s 2017 album of original Christmas tracks, Everyday Is Christmas (and if the impossible romance of “Snowman” breaks your heart too much, try taking a trip down “Candy Cane Lane”).
“Mr. Right,” Leona Lewis
This irresistible yuletide original from the “Bleeding Love” singer has the same gist as a lot of these romantic holiday bops, but hasn’t caught on to the degree of “Underneath the Tree” or “Santa Tell Me.” Add it to your playlist and help bring about justice for Mr. Right.
“100 Degrees,” Kylie Minogue feat. Dannii Minogue
Christmas is great and all, but as Kylie Minogue knows, there’s one thing it desperately needs: Disco. So much more disco.
“8 Days of Christmas,” Destiny’s Child
This could be considered a cover, but when you replace “geese a-laying” with “a crop jacket with dirty denim jeans,” you’re kind of interfering with the integrity of the original too much for it to really be considered the same thing, right?
“Merry Christmas, Happy New Year,” Ingrid Michaelson & Zooey Deschanel
Two of our favorite festive singer-songwriters teamed up in 2021 for a track of such cozy sweetness, the only possible way to capture it visually was with a music video of stuffed bunnies wearing knit sweaters hanging Christmas lights.
“Can You See,” Fifth Harmony
Yes, Fifth Harmony recorded an inspiring song for the soundtrack to the 2017 animated biblical film The Star. The more you know!
“Christmas Time,” Christina Aguilera
Have a very Xtina Xmas with this danceable track from Aguilera’s 2000 holiday album, My Kind of Christmas.
“Tell Me a Story,” Hilary Duff feat. Lil’ Romeo
This is as 2002-Christmas as it gets. Enjoy.
And now for a few covers…
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," Tinashe
This is a tricky song for a diva to even approach — it belongs to Judy Garland! — but Tinashe's cool take on the timeless tune gives it a whole new life.
“Last Christmas,” The Cheetah Girls
The Wham! classic has gotten countless covers — including from Swift, Jepsen, Stefani, Clarkson, Grande, Tinashe, and other singers featured above — but did you know the Cheetah Girls, the amigas cheetahs themselves, included it on their 2005 album Cheetah-licious Christmas?
“Santa Baby,” Madonna
Eartha Kitt’s version is iconic, but Madonna does the flirty ditty justice — and if the Material Girl was ever going to sing a Christmas song, it had to be this one.
"Feliz Navidad," Thalía
She first collabed on a 2010 recording of this classic with Michael Bublé, but a decade later, Thalía dropped a joyous solo version.
“Sleigh Ride,” TLC
The most scrub-free song on the list.
“The Christmas Song,” Whitney Houston
Slow it down a little with Whitney, who puts her crystal voice on this classic.
“Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” Miley Cyrus with Mark Ronson, feat. Sean Ono Lennon
Miley and her “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” collaborator Ronson updated John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s classic protest song with a little help from John and Yoko’s son Sean.
“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” Mariah Carey
Mariah, and Mariah alone, is allowed to have two solo tracks on this playlist. We’re not complete idiots.
This story was originally published in Dec. 2018 and updated in Dec. 2021, now with 20% more holiday sparkle!