The Essential Christmas Playlist

I’m sure by now the fruitcake is on the table and you have a bookmark on Luke 2, but if you need a little bluegrass to get you in the Christmas spirit, here are some Christmas classics that are sure to get any Scrooge in the holiday spirit!

1. Christmas Time’s A-Comin’ – Bill Monroe

A true standard from The Father Of Bluegrass, even non-bluegrassers are familiar with this old standard. I find myself humming this one even in the summer. I’m sure you will too.

2. It’s Christmas Time – Larry Sparks

Larry Sparks and Christmas: Could it get any better!? The “Ray Charles Of Bluegrass” pumps this song full of soul. This song demands your attention. Everyone will have to stop opening their gifts so you can enjoy the “Youngest of The Old Timers.”

3. It’s Christmas Time – The Louvin Brothers

Despite having the same title, this is not the same as the Larry Sparks song mentioned above. Charlie and Ira’s harmonies have never sounded better. Although they’re not bluegrass, I know most of you grew up listening to their classic brother harmony.

4. Bluegrass, White Snow – Patty Loveless

The title track from Patty’s Christmas album, this song also features American music icons Dolly Parton and Ricky Skaggs. “Bluegrass, white snow, memories, and an old banjo.” Isn’t that what we all want for Christmas?

5. Old-Fashioned Christmas – Jimmy Martin

Co-written by Paul Williams, the King Of Bluegrass shares his favorite memories from Christmases of yesteryear. You’ll feel like you’re spending Christmas in the Martin home!

6. I Feel The Christmas Spirit – The Isaacs

The Isaacs always present family harmonies at their finest. This catchy original Christmas song is one of my favorites, and it’s guaranteed to have you singing along by the chorus.

7. Christmas Is Near – The Stanley Brothers

A bon-a-fide bluegrass classic, Ralph and Carter take you back to Christmas in the mountains. Pat your foot right along with the Christmas memories and the timeless sound of The Stanley Brothers.

8. Christmas Time At Home – Rhonda Vincent

This has become a modern day classic from the Queen of Bluegrass. The chorus has been stuck in my head for the past month! There’s nothing like “popcorn strings and handmade things” to fill you with holiday cheer!

9. Merry Christmas From Our House To Yours – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Doyle learned this one from Buck Owens & The Buckaroos, and thank goodness he did! The vocal power of Quicksilver is unequaled, and this is a prime example of that. Besides, how cool is it to be wished a Merry Christmas from Doyle Lawson!?

10. The Night Before Christmas – Mike Snider

This is not the same holiday classic you remember from your childhood. Mike Snider does his own unique spin on this Christmas tale, and it will leave you in stitches! Who else would have Santa Claus buying presents at Walmart and picking his nose!?

11. Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem – Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys

Keith Whitley is up front on this Christmas classic. It has been recorded many other times by such greats as Emmylou Harris, John Starling, and more, but Keith’s rendition takes the cake. This is one of everyone’s favorites and reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas.

12. The Christmas Guest – Grandpa Jones

“Everybody’s Favorite Grandpa” shares the classic tale of Conrad and his Christmas guests. If you have never heard Grandpa’s version, make sure you do. I’ve been listening to this every Christmas since I can remember, and I’m always touched hearing about the best Christmas gift: love.


Hopefully, you’ll enjoy listening to these Christmas classics. Merry Christmas!

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About the Author

Daniel Mullins

Daniel Mullins is an IBMA award-winning journalist and broadcaster from southwestern Ohio, with an American Studies degree from Cedarville University. He hosts the Walls of Time: Bluegrass Podcast and his daily radio program, The Daniel Mullins Midday Music Spectacular, on the Real Roots Radio network. He also serves as the station’s music director, programming country, bluegrass, and Americana music.