Drinks, snacks, mistletoe and music ... that's pretty much all you need for a great Christmas party. Country stars have been providing the soundtrack to gatherings nationwide for decades, but if you're a little lost on where to begin, we've put together this playlist of the 10 best Christmas party songs.
Not all of these cuts are upbeat and merry; one or two might be best saved for the end of the night, when it's just you and that special guest left amongst the candlelight, empty cups and dirty dishes.
Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks each have a song included, and the top spot on our Christmas party songs list goes to a song we all know (though few can name the artist).
"Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy"Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks is sure to get any Christmas party going with his sampling of Buck Owens' Bakersfield sound. Brooks has sold over three million copies of the Beyond the Season album, one of two he put out during his career. This fast-paced country-rocker is perfect for a get together with adult friends, and just right to kick off this list of the Top 10 Christmas Party Songs.
"Winter Wonderland"Brooks and Dunn
Brooks and Dunn's version of this classic is lively and spirited, perfect for your Christmas party. The slower, more poignant songs have their place during the holidays, but when it's time to have fun, we want the thrills of Kix Brooks' guitar and Ronnie Dunn's vocals. "Winter Wonderland" can be found on the duo's 2002 album It Won't Be Christmas Without You.
"Jingle Bell Rock"Bobby Helms
Dozens of artists -- George Strait and Eddie Rabbit, to name two -- have released their own recordings of this 1957 hit, but Helms' original still stands alone as the most endearing version, earning him a spot on our 10 Best Christmas Party Songs list. Everyone knows the words, and after a few glasses of eggnog, revelers should be singing along together -- for better or worse. "Jingle Bell Rock" was a Top 20 hit for Helms.
"Last Christmas"Taylor Swift
While it's nice to assume that everyone at your party will be crazy for country music, a few may enjoy hearing a pop cover. Taylor Swift's version of George Michael's "Last Christmas" should more than suffice. It's one of the best country Christmas songs since 2000; the EP it was featured on sold almost one million copies. The singer proves that even during a Christmas celebration, sadness and regret can sound sweet. In addition to making this list of the 10 Best Christmas Party Songs, "Last Christmas" was included on our list of the Top 10 Traditional Christmas Songs.
"Baby, It's Cold Outside"Lady Antebellum
Lady Antebellum were practically built to sing songs like this. The steamy interplay between Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott is messaged beautifully on "Baby, It's Cold Outside." The No. 6 song on our list of 10 Best Christmas Party Songs is one you may want to save until it's just you and that one special guest who seems to be lingering around a little longer than the rest. "I'll just help you clean up?" Sure, we've heard that line before.
"Let It Be Christmas"Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson's hit topped our list of the 10 Best Original Christmas Songs, and would rank higher on the list of the Top 10 Christmas Party Songs, but it falls more under the category of songs you want to play on Christmas morning with the family rather than a few nights before when there's a line to stand under the mistletoe. Still, it's one your country music loving friends and family will want to hear at your get together. Find this song on Jackson's Let It Be Christmas album from 2002.
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"Brenda Lee
Brenda Lee was hardly a teenager when she recorded this song in the late '50s. Even though more contemporary artists like Toby Keith and LeAnn Rimes have taken a turn at reinventing it, the original has persevered and earned a place on our Top 10 Christmas Party Songs list. Lee's label originally released this song as a pop song, but country radio stations have since kidnapped it.
"Santa Baby"Kellie Pickler
Kellie Pickler's addition to this list of the 10 Best Christmas Party songs is one for the women. It's doubtful you'll find a bunch of cowboys singing along to "Santa Baby" (unless they've had way too much spiced eggnog), but the ladies may want to do their best impression of Pickler's recreation of this Eartha Kitt classic. The North Carolina born cutie isn't a diva, but she sure acts like one on this song, and we love her for it.
"Run, Run Rudolph"Luke Bryan
Dozens of artists have covered this Chuck Berry original, but few have played "Run, Run Rudolph" with as much energy as Luke Bryan. He recorded this song in 2008, and it cracked the country Billboard charts. The singer stays true to the original, only allowing his Georgia twang to set his version apart from the others.
"All I Want for Christmas Is You"Vince Vance and the Valiants
This is the most played Christmas song on country radio, making it an easy choice for No. 1 on the Top 10 Christmas Party Songs list. But that's not the only reason it's here. It's charted multiple times since its 1989 release. Lisa Layne (not Vince Vance) is the lead singer, and her straightforward rendition of the holiday love song makes it one people look forward to hearing. Perhaps it's that few people have covered this version of the song that allows "All I Want for Christmas Is You" to remain so dear to Christmas revelers. Unlike traditional songs like "Jingle Bells" and "White Christmas," we have no reason to grow tired of it.