Favorite Original Country Holiday Songs
There's something about the twang of the guitar and the evocative storytelling in these country holiday songs that touches hearts and brings back nostalgic memories of spending time with family and friends during the holidays. Unlike our list of favorite country holiday covers of hymns and carols, these country holiday songs are all originals -- either written by the artist, or the first recording -- ranging from Jim Reeves' 'An Old Christmas Card' and Willie Nelson's 'Pretty Paper' to Alabama's 'Happy Birthday Jesus.'
10. Rodney Carrington, 'Camouflage and Christmas Lights'
Stand-up comedian Rodney Carrington gets sentimental in this song that salutes those who have sacrificed being with their families during the holidays in order to serve our country. Featured on his holiday album, 'Make it Christmas,' the track became his first Top 40 country hit.
9. Brad Paisley, 'Born on Christmas Day'
Ironically, the first song Brad ever wrote was this yuletide tune at age 12. When asked about it at the first-ever CMA Country Christmas special, Paisley casually quips: "It turned out really, pretty good, and, uh, I've written worse songs lately."
8. Elmo and Patsy, 'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer'
Grandma may not have the best of luck, but it sounds like she was enjoying herself sans medication and with spiked eggnog before the tragic accident. Plus, knowing the hillbilly 1979 tune was written as a joke makes us feel a little bit better.
7. Willie Nelson, 'Pretty Paper'
Roy Orbison first cut a record of this Willie Nelson-penned song in 1963. But since it's Nelson's song, we're going to highlight his version, which was featured on his 1978 holiday album. Nelson's "do good" message is a friendly reminder that Christmas isn't all about expensive gifts in shiny wrappings.
6. Alan Jackson Feat. Alison Krauss, 'The Angels Cried'
Featured on Jackson's 'Honky Tonk Christmas' album, this gorgeous and extremely sentimental country holiday song portrays the joy brought to the world once word broke of Jesus' birth. Jackson was smart to bring in the voice of an angel for the single, folk singer Alison Krauss: "And the creatures gathered 'round, / And didn't make a sound / And the angels cried."
5. Alabama, 'Christmas in Dixie'
Our favorite '80s country band had a soft spot for holiday tunes. From their first holiday album, Alabama share a cozy original song about how the holidays should be celebrated, calling out their hometown in Fort Payne.
4. Jim Reeves, 'An Old Christmas Card'
Who doesn't love getting mail, especially around holidays? Jim Reeves, known for pioneering the 'Nashville Sound,' sings of nostalgic memories when reading over an old holiday card from a loved one.
3. Merle Haggard, 'If We Make It Through December'
Haggard sings a humbling, emotional track in the eyes of a working-class father who can't afford to provide a traditional Christmas for his family. The song became a No. 1 hit in 1973, and its message of financial hardship still resonates with people today.
2. Gene Autry, 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'
'Back in the Saddle Again' singer Gene Autry knew how to perform holiday songs just a well as country classics. His recording about Santa's ninth reindeer spawned several TV specials and films, and was deemed the second best-selling record of all time, until the '80s. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer is also known for the holiday classic 'Frosty the Snowman' and the self-penned song 'Here Comes Santa Claus.'
1. Brenda Lee, 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree'
14-year-old "Little Brenda Lee" surprised listeners with her booming, mature sound on this twangy, upbeat number, recorded in July of 1958 with Nashville's prominent guitarist Hank Garland. It was her voice that kept this a perennial favorite over the years, and why we deem it our favorite original country holiday song.
What's your favorite original country holiday song? Share with us in the comments section below.