10 essential Christmas songs by Texans


The month of December is no stranger to lists, from Christmas wish lists to end-of-year “best of” lists regarding pop culture. So to keep in the festive spirit, I curated this list of 10 holiday songs by Texans y’all just gotta listen to before Christmas. 

There are many, many more that could be mentioned, but since this is the season of giving, I kept each artist to one appearance on this list. I’m no music critic, but I am a Texan and that qualified me enough for this task. 

Here they are, in no particular order (so don’t yell at me):

1. “A Willie Nice Christmas,” Kacey Musgraves featuring Willie Nelson

Let’s get straight to the point here. “A Very Kacey Christmas” is one of my favorite Christmas albums and the relationship Musgraves and Nelson have forged makes for magic set to song. This duet shouts out Hanukkah and Kwanzaa but as someone pointed out to me recently, there aren’t many songs about smoking weed on Christmas. 

Best line: “May we all stay higher than the angel at the top of the tree”

2. “When Santa Rides Through Texas,” Casey Donahew and Cody Johnson

When these two staples of Texas red dirt music linked up, this song was bound to have even the grinch-iest listeners cracking a smile. Santa ditching all those holiday standards once he crossed into Texas makes for a song begging to be sung along to. 

Best line: “He throws a party for George Strait’s exes when Santa rides through Texas”

RELATED: 10 of the most depressing Christmas songs of all time

3. “8 Days of Christmas,” Destiny’s Child

Named the best band from Texas (it’s true!), Destiny’s Child’s catalog is piled high with hits. Among them is this slimmed-down take on the “12 Days of Christmas.” If you’re still wondering what to get that special someone in your life, this song offers options. Sure, maybe you can’t afford a Mercedes, but you can always give your T-I-M-E. 

Best line: “On the eighth day of Christmas my baby gave to me a  pair of Chloe shades and a diamond belly ring”

4. “Underneath the Tree,” Kelly Clarkson

Like my esteemed colleague Eric Webb wrote in his list of favorite Christmas songs, Clarkson’s “Underneath the Tree” needs to be in your holiday playlist, right alongside Mariah Carey’s classic. The Fort Worth native delivers soaring vocals like MC, and the two songs play to the same theme: All I want for Christmas is you. 

Best line: “Presents, what a beautiful sight, don't mean a thing if you ain't holding me tight”

RELATED: Ring in 2018 with music at these Austin New Year’s Eve shows

5. “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas,” George Strait

In Texas, Strait rules as the King of Country Music, and this jingle is a natural fit for both holiday dinners and honky tonks. This song is so quintessentially Texan, even the grocery chain H-E-B used it for its Christmas advertising featuring tamales, cacti and horses.  

Best line: “When it's Christmas time in Texas, it might look just like a summer day”

6. “Christmas in Austin,” Shelley King

King’s ode name-drops the highlights of the Live Music Capital of the World in the wintertime, including the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar and the Texas Capitol tree. The jazzy tune also celebrates everyone who chooses to eat Mexican food on Christmas (and really, why would you not?).  

Best line: “No place on Earth I’d rather be spinning under the Zilker Tree”

7. “Merry Christmas From The Family,” Robert Earl Keen

Best enjoyed beer in hand, Keen’s Christmas song is dedicated to complicated family relationships (some of which you don’t even understand). It’s also dedicated to everyone who has ever had to run out to the store for the weird requests that only family members can offer. Long live Stop ‘N Go. 

Best line: “A box of tampons and some Marlboro Lights”

RELATED: Dale Watson will wish your friends and family a ‘Honky Tonk Christmas’

8. “Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy,” Buck Owens & The Buckaroos

Owens’ song about a child putting the pieces together about the true identity of Santa has been covered by country stars like Brad Paisley. Born in Sherman, Owens’ twangy vocals make for a succinct country Christmas delight that’s unmistakable.

Best line: “Santa put his arm around mama, and mama put her arm around him”

9. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Jessica Simpson

Every other song on this list is an original, but what’s Christmas without the classics? Simpson’s rendition is sultry, indulgent, and slinky all wrapped in a neat package. Her vocals take the spolight as light strings, piano and a drum help transport you to a holiday lounge.  

Best line: “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough, and have yourself a merry little Christmas now”

10. “One More Christmas Beer,” Sunny Sweeney

This song goes out to every family that can’t seem to go five minutes without falling into dysfunction. If your family is anything like mine, with everybody together under one roof, yelling and roughhousing are unavoidable. The best option: Just sit back and have a beer. Kudos to Sweeney for sneaking a hiccup into a Christmas song. 

Best line: “God bless the family, can’t wait ‘til it’s over”

Listen to the whole playlist below. Have a song you think should’ve been on this list? Leave a comment. 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Music

Austin360 arts list, April 27-May 3
Austin360 arts list, April 27-May 3

Theater & dance “As You Like It.” William Shakespeare’s most beloved romantic comedy — about exiled heroine Rosalind, who escapes into the the unpredictable Forest of Arden disguised as a boy and doesn’t expect to meet the lovestruck Orlando — gets the City Theatre treatment this spring. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday...
Austin will crown a new Funniest Person, plus more comedy in May
Austin will crown a new Funniest Person, plus more comedy in May

The race for Austin’s comedy crown heats up in May (along with the creeping temperatures). Root for your favorites May 1 on the final night of the preliminaries of the Funniest Person in Austin Contest at Cap City Comedy Club. The contest to crown Austin’s funniest, which continues through the final rounds mid-month, began over 30 years...
This week: Mobley’s new music, Jack White, Joey Bada$$ among top picks
This week: Mobley’s new music, Jack White, Joey Bada$$ among top picks

OUR TOP PICKS Friday: Mobley “Fresh Lies” release at Waterloo Records. The adventurous electro-pop artist doesn’t consider this new release an album. Instead, he thinks of it as an album-sized excerpt of an ongoing project, his exploration of the relationship between man and country cast as a romantic love song. This idea is as old...
Cine Las Americas film festival kicks off May 2
Cine Las Americas film festival kicks off May 2

When 88-year-old Abraham Bursztein’s children sell his Buenos Aires home and prepare to move him into a retirement home, he instead plans a secret one-way trip to Poland. Bursztein, a Holocaust survivor, decides to embark on a mission to find the Christian friend who saved him during World War II. The dramedy “El Último Traje&rdquo...
Movies in theaters, 4/27/18
Movies in theaters, 4/27/18

OPENING THIS WEEK “Avengers: Infinity War” Grade: B+. Review page 25 “The Rider” Grade: B. Review page 26 NOT REVIEWED “Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami.” Not rated. 115 minutes. This documentary provides electrifying performances and personal footage of singer and actress Grace Jones. Alamo South. NOW PLAYING &ldquo...
More Stories