Magazine Feature

Dolly Parton, Cyndi Lauper, Kenny G & More Share Their Favorite Christmas Songs

Mariah Carey
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Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" is the most downloaded holiday song of all time. 

Pop stars, R&B upstarts and iconic divas tell Billboard their favorite holiday hits. 

Dolly Parton: "'Go Tell It On The Mountain' is probably my favorite Christmas song… certainly my favorite one to sing.  It tells the story of Christmas; but it's fun and easy to sing.  It's a wonderful song for great harmonies and a great sing-a-long. It is upbeat and uplifting.”

Icona Pop: “Wham! - 'Last Christmas.' It’s the ultimate Christmas song and you hate it as much as you absolutely love it!”

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Dolly Parton 

"Weird Al" Yankovic: “I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Stan Freberg’s 'Nuttin’ For Christmas.' Freberg’s one of my all-time heroes, and the song is simultaneously cheerfully goofy and unabashedly dark - my favorite combo!”
Cyndi Lauper: "'Hard Candy Christmas,' because not a lot of folks can have a big fancy Christmas. But in this song I found hope and resilience. People need hope. I thought it would be a good song to pass along this holiday season, plus I've always loved the song since Dolly Parton recorded it."

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Cyndi Lauper 

Straight No Chaser’s Randy Stine: “When I was a kid, it wasn't officially Christmas until my parents dropped the needle on Nat King Cole's album, ‘The Christmas Song.’  The title song's beautiful string arrangement, the warmth of that plucked upright bass, and obviously Nat's smooth velvety tone, has stood the test of time, and still is a must on any holiday playlist of mine.”
Parson James: “'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.' This song is just so perfectly hilarious. I grew up with a single mom who worked hard to get those gifts under the Christmas tree. So I'm all for a mama getting her groove back with Santa after several glasses of eggnog.”

Grey: “'Silent Night' by Richard Cheese because it changes keys twice!”

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Parson James

Kenny G: “My favorite holiday song is 'White Christmas' because it’s the first song I recorded for my holiday album Miracles. It was a test to see if I liked the way my saxophone sounded doing holiday songs and of course the rest is history. It brings back the wonderful memory of the innocent beginning of a heartfelt album and reminds me of all the joy I’ve had for so many years because I get to perform the beautiful holiday songs all around the world.”
Spencer Ludwig: “'The Christmas Song' by Nat King Cole. My mom puts this on repeat during the holiday season and we actually roast chestnuts and snuggle by the fire. She always says that this song reminds her of her dad — now it reminds me of her and of Christmas at home.”
Clean Bandit’s Jack Patterson: “My favorite holiday song is Justin Bieber’s version of 'Little Drummer Boy.' I think just because it’s incredible.”

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Kenny G

Clean Bandit’s Grace Chatto: “My favorite Christmas song is 'Last Christmas' because it’s so emotional and I love the string moment and the breakdown with the violins. Lovely.”
Jordan Smith: “My favorite holiday song is 'O Holy Night.' It's one of the first songs I can remember singing along to with my mom as a child. It also depicts so beautifully the night of Christ's birth, an integral part of the holiday season for me as a person of faith.”
The Revivalists’ David Shaw: “'Baby It's Cold Outside.' It's a classic take on the sexy side of Christmas.”

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Jhene Aiko

JoJo: "I love Mariah’s 'All I Want For Christmas.' I adore 'Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire.' Boyz II Men’s 'Let It Snow' is amazing too.”

Remy Ma: "I I love Christmas carols, especially the ones that are sung over by famous people, like Mary J. Blige. R. Kelly just put out a Christmas album, and it was so good. I like to listen to Christmas songs where people that you know put their own style on it.”

A version of this article originally appeared in the Dec. 10 issue of Billboard.