songs for guitar christmasMillions of people learn how to play the guitar every year because they know that with some hard work and a few months of practice, they’ll be able to pick up the skills required to play the songs they love. Learning how to play Christmas songs for guitar is easier than you think if you’ve mastered simple chord transitions and playing in rhythm. We’re going to show you how to play a few Christmas songs for guitar, but first, let’s talk about the history of Christmas-inspired music.

 

Christmas Songs for Guitar a Brief History

 

The Christmas music most of us know and love today is a hodgepodge of songs written relatively recently (in the past 70 years) and ones written centuries ago. These seemingly jovial and carefree songs sometimes contain storied and even troubled backgrounds.

 

 

“Silent Night” is a song that was written way back in 1818 by an elementary school teacher in Austria named Franz Xaver Gruber. His friend, Joseph Mohr, who had written the words two years before, asked him to create a melody for the lyrics along with a guitar accompaniment. Soon after, a version written for organ emerged. In 2016, “Silent Night” is not only a beloved Christmas song, but also one of the most popular and well-known pieces of music in the world.

 

santa flying reindeer sleigh“White Christmas” is a popular Christmas song with a sad origin story. Written by Irving Berlin, the song was first heard on Christmas day on a radio show sponsored by the Kraft Company in 1941. For many Americans, this Christmas, which was just 18 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, was not a happy one. Just a year later, many young Americans spent Christmas away from their families overseas. “White Christmas” was played over and over again to remind the troops of home. When Bing Crosby traveled overseas to perform for the troops, “White Christmas” was his most requested Christmas song, but he felt unsure about performing it because he was worried the song would make the troops sad. By the end of the war, “White Christmas” was the bestselling song of all time, and it held that distinction for 56 years until Elton John’s remake of “Candle in the Wind” when Princess Diana died in 1997.

 

 

 

Similar to “White Christmas,” “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” is a well-known song with its roots steeped in sad circumstances. Written in 1939 by copywriter Robert May, the song was adapted from a story in a coloring book developed by department store giant Montgomery Ward. May, who was assigned the task of writing the coloring books story, apparently struggled while creating the story because his wife was suffering from cancer, and he couldn’t afford to keep up with medical bills. May’s daughter loved the reindeer she’d see at the local zoo, and this certainly helped give him the idea for Rudolph. One morning, he looked out into the fog-covered lake outside his Michigan home when the idea for the story came to him. As he worked on the story, his wife’s health worsened, and she passed away. May’s boss offered to give the assignment to someone else, but he insisted on finishing the story, claiming that he “needed Rudolph now more than ever.” The coloring book story was a smash hit, and a decade later, the story was adapted to music by May’s brother-in-law Johnny Marks. Singing cowboy Gene Autry recorded the song, which sold 2 million copies in the first year and remains one of the best-selling tunes of all time. Now it’s one of the great Christmas songs for guitar.

 

“Joy To The World” is one of Christmas’ most beloved carols, and its musical origins are relatively unknown. The song as we know it today sounds remarkably similar to sections of the christmas bells on sheet musiccomposer Handel’s Messiah which premiered in 1742, but he isn’t credited for writing the song. The words, which are by English hymn writer Isaac Watts, are based on the second half of Psalm 98 in the Bible. Whoever set Watts’ lyrics to music might’ve done so with Handel’s piece in mind, but we can’t know for sure.

 

For the final song on our Christmas songs for guitar list, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was written in 1944 by songwriters Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine for Judy Garland’s 1944 movie, Meet Me in St. Louis. The song began with a simple melody that Martin became so frustrated with that he threw it away. Blaine convinced Martin that the melody was too good to give up on, so he dug it out of the trash and began crafting the lyrics for the song. The first draft of lyrics were too sad according to Judy Garland who asked for a revision. It was so sad that Garland refused to sing it even after movie producers insisted. “If I sing that,” she’s quoted saying, “little Margaret will cry and they’ll think I’m a monster.” The revised version of the song contains lyrics that are less sad than the original, but that are still sarcastic and somewhat dark for being a Christmas song.

 

We’ve set these Christmas songs for guitar to the key of G because it’s a range most people are comfortable singing in and the chords are relatively easy to master.

 

Here are all the chords you’ll need to know to play these songs:

 

christmas songs for guitar chords

 

chords for christmas songs

 

 

Silent Night

 

Set in a simple 3/4 time signature, this song can be played with the chords being plucked or strummed. The guitar should take a backseat to the vocals, so don’t play too loud.

 

G                         D           G
Silent night! Holy night! All is calm all is bright
C                G                C              G
Round yon virgin mother and child Holy infant so tender and mildsilent night candles
D                 G Em    G       D         G
Sleep in heavenly peace! Sleep in heavenly peace!

[Verse 2]
G                          D              G
Silent night! Holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight
C                   G           C                   G
Glories stream from heaven afar Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah
D                     G Em  G          D          G
Christ the Saviour is born! Christ the Saviour is born!

[Verse 3]
G                         D          G
Silent night! Holy night! Son of God love’s pure light
C                  G             C                   G
Radiant beams from thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace
D                 G Em   G     D           G
Jesus lord at thy birth! Jesus lord at thy birth!

 

White Christmas

 

Like “Silent Night,” this song should be approached with a certain fragility in mind. The guitar strums a simple pattern in 4/4 here.

[Verse 1]
G               Am   D     D7
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,
C                 Am           G
Just like the ones I used to know.christmas trees in snow
D               G             G7
Where the tree tops glisten,
C              Am
And Children listen,
G              Em             Am      D   D7
To hear the sleigh bells in the snow.

[Verse 2]
G                    Am   D     D7
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,
C            Am             G
With every Christmas card I write.
C         G        Em        C
May your dreams be merry and bright,
G    Em    Am   C  D          G
And may all your Christmas’ be white.

[Verse 1]
G               Am   D     D7
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,
C                 Am           G
Just like the ones I used to know.
D               G             G7
Where the tree tops glisten,
C              Am
And Children listen,
G              Em             Am      D   D7
To hear the sleigh bells in the snow.

[Verse 2]
G                  Am   D      D7
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,
C         Am                 G
With every Christmas card I write.
C              G  Em          C
May your dreams be merry and bright,
G      Em    Am   C    D     G
And may all your Christmas’ be white.

 

 

 

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

 

This song can feature plenty of volume and enthusiastic guitar playing. There should be a bounce in your playing here to reflect the playful nature of the song. It’s one of the Christmas songs for guitar that will get everyone singing, so have fun with it.

 

G
Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
G                D
had a very shiny nose.
D
And if you ever saw him,
D                     G
you would even say it glows.rudolph the red nosed reindeer

G
All of the other reindeer
G                          D
used to laugh and call him names.
D
They never let poor Rudolph
D                    G
join in any reindeer games.

C              G
Then one foggy Christmas Eve
D7            G
Santa came to say:
D
“Rudolph with your nose so bright,
D
won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

G
Then all the reindeer loved him
G                        D
as they shouted out with glee,
D
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
D                       G
you’ll go down in history!

 

Joy To The World

 

This song should be played, well, as joyfully as you can! Plenty of volume and enthusiasm should help your guitar playing match the joyously loud singing of this carol.

 

[Verse 1]

G                     C       G
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
C     D           G
Let earth receive her King;
G           G           G
Let every heart prepare Him room,
G                 Gjoy to the world
And Heaven and nature sing,
D                 D
And Heaven and nature sing,
G           C           G  D   G
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

[Verse 2]

G                     C       G
Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
C     D           G
Let men their songs employ;
G           G           G
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
G                 G
Repeat the sounding joy,
D                 D
Repeat the sounding joy,
G           C           G  D   G
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

[Verse 3]

G                     C       G
He rules the world with truth and grace,
C     D           G
And makes the nations prove
G           G           G
The glories of His righteousness,
G                 G
And wonders of His love,
D                 D
And wonders of His love,
G           C           G  D   G
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

 

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

 

This song can be strummed or played with fingerpicking. It’s a good idea to play this one slowly and without a lot of volume. It’s one of those great Christmas songs for guitar that makes everyone nostalgic.

 

G        Em     Am           D7
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
G        Em       Am  D7
Make the Yuletide gay
G        Em      Am               B7    Em         G  G7
From now on, our troubles will be miles awaychristmas tree and stockings

[Chorus]

C                   Bm
Here were are as in olden days
Am         D7  G

happy golden days of yore
Em       F#7              Bm
Faithful friends who are dear to us
D              Am  D7
gather near to us  once more

[Verse]

G           Em       Am          D7
Through the years we all will be together
G      Em      Am  D7
If the Fates allow
G      Em      Am            B7      Em   G7
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
C               Am           D7        G
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

 

 

Music has the incredible power of bringing people together, so we hope these Christmas songs for guitar provide some comfort and joy to you and your family this holiday season.

 

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