The days are getting colder and the holidays will soon be drawing near. That means it’s time to break out the cozy sweaters, watch “Elf” on repeat, and most importantly, start listening to your favorite festive tunes!
We’re all familiar with classics like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” but what are some holiday songs that people like to belt out in France or Germany? To help you get into the holiday spirit, we’ve put together a list of the top holiday songs from around the globe. So grab a mug of hot cider, snuggle up to your speakers, and enjoy these international holiday tunes
“Les Anges dans nos Campagnes”
Translation: “Angels We Have Heard on High”
Artist: Andrew Gant, Vox Turturis
This 18th century French Christmas carol was originally composed by an unknown author in Languedoc, France. While this is a traditional Christmas song in France, you might recognize its English version, “Angels We Have Heard on High,” which was translated in 1862 by James Chadwick, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, northeast England.
“Fröhliche Weihnacht überall”
Translation: “Merry Christmas Everywhere”
Artist: Vienna Boys Choir
This German-language Christmas carol has become a classic during the holiday season. The oldest record of the song can be found in a German songbook written by Heinrich Liebhart in 1882. Take a moment to listen to the Vienna Boys Choir’s chilling rendition—it’s sure to give you goosebumps.
“Ríu Ríu Chíu”
Artist: Ensemble Corund
This Spanish villancico is a popular piece of Renaissance music that has garnered contemporary fame as a Christmas carol and has appeared on several Christmas-themed music collections. The nonsense syllables “ríu ríu chíu” are often taken to represent the song of a nightingale.
“I'll Be Home For Christmas”
Artist: Frank Sinatra
Country: The United States
“I'll Be Home For Christmas” is a Christmas classic that was written to honor soldiers overseas who have longed to be home for Christmastime. Bing Crosby originally recorded the song in 1943, scoring a top ten hit, but we think Frank Sinatra’s rendition adds a nice soulful touch that’s sure to put you in the holiday spirit.
Artist: Rod Stewart
Country: The U.K.
While “White Christmas” isn’t necessarily an English song, British singer-songwriter Rod Stewart puts a nice spin on one of the best-selling singles of all time. Plus, “White Christmas” is a favorite holiday classic, no matter which country you live in.
Irving Berlin is the composer who originally penned the song. Legend has it that he wrote “White Christmas” in 1940, in warm La Quinta, California, while staying at the La Quinta Hotel. Berlin had proclaimed to his musical secretary, "I want you to take down a song I wrote over the weekend. Not only is it the best song I ever wrote, it's the best song anybody ever wrote."
“Sevivon Sov, Sov, Sov”
Artist: Kenny Ellis
This Hebrew Hanukkah song is extremely popular in Israel and other Hebrew-speaking countries. Sevivon is Hebrew for “dreidel,” the spinning top that people play with during Hanukkah. “Sevivon” is the perfect song to sing with family and loved ones after lighting the menorah.