When Christmas time approaches, Elvis Presley may not be the first singer that comes to mind. You are more likely to think of Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra. However, he did record several Christmas songs and released plenty of Christmas albums.
So, let’s take a look at what he did to celebrate the holiday time by considering the best Elvis Christmas songs of all time.
Looking back on his career, it was not what it was always portrayed to be. At times, he has been rather an enigma. When he arrived on the scene, he was the first of his kind musically. But, he had times when he was out of favor, especially when The Beatles and the like arrived.
He was labeled the “King of Rock n Roll.” But, it has to be said that the likes of Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran could also make a claim for that title.
They wrote their own songs. Elvis didn’t. And they both played decent guitar, which, again, Elvis couldn’t. Their stage acts were pretty good as well. But fate intervened in that situation for both and prevented any argument on that front.
A Certain Something
You read biographers and commentators who are fiercely trying to protect the reputation of Presley. Often by seemingly deliberately getting the facts wrong. He didn’t write “hundreds of songs,” as one claimed. The truth is he didn’t write any, other than two with co-writers at the end of his career.
Furthermore, Elvis said in 1957, “I never wrote a song in his life. Never even had an idea for one.” But it can’t be denied he had a “certain something” that the others didn’t have.
And, of course, he had a very good voice to go with it…
It was that voice that elevated him to a position of importance in the world of Rock and Roll. He recorded some memorable tracks and raised the roof at times. But he could also be mellow and gentle in the way he puts songs across. And that is what most of these Elvis Christmas songs we are going to look at have.
Christmas songs don’t usually need an “all hell let loose” type of performance. They need to make us feel warm and comfortable on winter nights with our families and loved ones. He could do that, as we will see with the best Elvis Christmas songs of all time.
Top 13 Best Elvis Christmas Songs of All Time
Santa Claus Is Back In Town
This is a song written by Mike Stoller and Jerry Leiber. It was included in Elvis’ Christmas Album from 1957.
In 1960, it was released again as a single. It is a song written by Leiber and Stoller to meet two goals. Firstly, it has to be Christmasy. Secondly, it was for Presley, so it needed certain things.
You can hear elements of Presley’s track “Trouble.” And it also has a bit of “King Creole” in there, albeit at a slower tempo. But, in my view, that is all good. If you’re going to write a song for him, then include what he is best at. This track does that.
The First Noel
A favorite Christmas carol for many people that creates the atmosphere of that special time of year. It was released on his album Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas.
He also re-recorded it with the Royal Philharmonic orchestra. They recorded their parts at Abbey Road studios in London.
Holly Leaves and Christmas Trees
Another track from his 1971 album, Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas. It is a song designed to bring people the feeling of a magical Christmas time. But it does exactly the opposite.
It’s a song about someone walking the streets in the snow missing his partner who isn’t there. The song was written by Glen Spreen and Red West.
The Wonderful World of Christmas
This is the title track from the album Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas. It was written by George Wyle and Eddie Pola. Also, it was recorded by Perry Como.
In this Christmas song by Elvis, he sings in a slightly different way than you might imagine. But, it still is a song that will give you plenty of Christmas spirit.
Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
This is a song written by Gene Autrey and Oakley Haldeman. It was inspired by Autrey riding a horse in a parade through Los Angeles. It was first released by Autrey, reaching #5 on the American Country Music chart.
They released it again in 2019, when it was #26 on the American main chart. There have been plenty of cover versions, and Elvis Presley recorded his version in 1957. His deep voice adds something to the song.
The song is about Father Christmas coming to town, and the children are all very excited. An easy-going, uptempo Christmas song that will put you in the holiday mood.
If I Get Home On Christmas Day
Back to the Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas album from 1971 again. This is a romantic ballad of the sort that Presley sings so well. It is a song that tells of someone returning to his partner for Christmas.
The song was written by British songwriter Tony Macauley. Macaulay is well-known in the UK for writing hit songs for The Foundations and Edison Lighthouse. This is a good example of his work which Elvis delivers well.
O Little Town of Bethlehem
This is a song with an interesting history. The original words were written by Phillips Brooks in 1868. Whilst the words are the same, a different tune is used on either side of the Atlantic.
The British hymn published in 1906 is different from the American version. Presley sings the American version. The song is describing the birthplace of Jesus and paints a mental picture of what it may have been like.
Today, it bears no resemblance to what we imagine…
It is full of neon lights exclaiming, “Jesus was born here,” all directing you to different places. That’s commercialism for you, I suppose.
Elvis does a good job of what is actually a hymn and not something you would normally associate with him.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
This is another track from the album with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which they recorded at Abbey Road in London. A very sad song in many ways, it talks about being separated from loved ones during the holiday period.
It was written by Walter Kent and Kim Gannon during the Second World War, which made it appropriate for some. Bing Crosby originally sang the song in a scene from a film about a soldier dreaming of being home for Christmas but knows he won’t be.
Elvis’s version is much different from Crosby’s but still captures how the soldier would be feeling.
If Every Day Was Like Christmas
This is a song written by Presley’s bodyguard Red West. West released it first himself without any success. He then gave it to Presley, who was looking for a new Christmas song for a 1966 single.
It was released again later in 1970 on his album, The Classic Christmas Album. The single reached #9 in the UK in 1966.
Another track from The Classic Christmas Album and a rather different Christmas song from Elvis. It was written by Jay W. Johnson and Billy Hayes. It was released first in 1948 by Doye O’Dell, and Elvis recorded it in 1957.
It is different in context from most of what we have looked at so far. Whilst there have been songs about missing someone or being away from them, this one comes across as rather bitter.
He sings about how hard it is to be alone at Christmas, especially if you’re missing someone.
A Christmas song that needs little introduction to anyone. Another track from his album with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The song was written in 1941 by Irving Berlin for the 1942 musical, “Holiday Inn.”
It has had plenty of covers over the last 70 or so years, but it is synonymous with Bing Crosby. In terms of physical media, his version sold over 50 million copies. That made it the world’s biggest-selling single.
Elvis does a decent version of it, but it would be difficult to beat Bing Crosby on this one. But, for Presley fans, it will be an important recording. And a very popular Elvis Presley Christmas song.
Continuing the recordings he did with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is this famous song. It was written in 1934 by Felix Barnard and Richard Bernhard. It wasn’t written as a Christmas song, just a song about two people and their relationship in winter.
The lyrics were changed a bit to give it a Christmas meaning, as it was always seen that way. Since the original recording, it has been covered by over 200 artists, Elvis being one in 1971. An ever-popular song at Christmas time that you are likely to hear just about everywhere.
“Silent Night” is a traditional German song written by an Austrian priest, Joseph Mohr. It is about spending time with friends and family and isn’t about the commercialism that Christmas is today.
It is one of the best-known Christmas songs that creates a feeling of peace and calm. Elvis’s version of “Silent Night” is somewhat different from most of the other versions. But, once again, for Presley fans, it will be a winner.
Looking for Great Music for Christmas and the Holidays?
Well, take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Mariah Carey Christmas Songs of All Time, Easy Christmas Songs For The Piano, the Best Songs About Winter, the Best Songs About Snow, and the Top Songs About Coming Home to get you in the holiday mood.
And you’ll need to listen to those songs. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Smart Speakers, the Best Party Speakers, the Loudest Portable Bluetooth Speakers, the Best Bluetooth Speakers with Light Show, and the Best Bluetooth Speakers With Radio you can buy in 2023.
Best Elvis Christmas Songs of All Time – Final Thoughts
As I said earlier, you don’t usually associate a Rock n Roller with Christmas. But Elvis recorded a series of Christmas albums, all of which were successful.
Recorded mostly for his army of fans rather than trying to break new ground, they are a great gift for any Elvis fans at Christmas.
Until next time, Merry Christmas, and happy listening.