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10 Best Christmas Movie Soundtracks
December 24, 2020 — There are so many Christmas songs out there, but there are only a handful of classics that everybody knows. This makes creating a Christmas film soundtrack somewhat of a challenge, because if you put the same old songs in every movie, none of them will be unique. These issues are usually fixed by having artists record a cover of the original song with their own twist. Sometimes, artists will end up recording an entirely new song for a film. Admittedly, there are a lot of bland Christmas movie soundtracks out there. That said, these ten scores set the prime example of what a good Christmas soundtrack can be.
1. The Nightmare Before Christmas
There has been a lot of arguing over the years over whether this movie is a Halloween or Christmas movie, but with the word Christmas in the title we all know the truth. This Tim Burton masterpiece ignores most conventions. Including skipping traditional holiday favorites for an original score with classics like “This is Halloween” and “What’s This?” The soundtrack is mostly composed by legendary movie composer Danny Elfman, and has 20 to 25 tracks depending on the release version. So there is plenty of original music to enjoy regardless of whichever release you hunker down with for the holidays.
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas
A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of the most revered holiday specials ever made, and the music is a big part of it. The soundtrack features a mixture of musical styles from children’s choirs to jazz instrumentals, and is composed of mostly Christmas classics. There are a few original tracks in there which immediately bring back childhood memories, like “Linus and Lucy” and “Skating.” This is the perfect record to play in the background on Christmas day.
3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
If it is Christmas classics you are looking for, this is one of the best soundtracks out there. People love this holiday special and the classic Christmas music that accompanies it. a lot of the tracks on this soundtrack give people warm holiday feelings. However, the original song “We’re a Couple of Misfits” makes this score special.
Elf is a polarizing film that people either adore or despise, though they can surely agree on how perfect the soundtrack is. From the original score by John Debney, to the cover of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Zooey Deschanel, there is something for everyone on this soundtrack. I am particularly fond of “Pennies from Heaven.” Not only because it is a great song, but also because it was placed perfectly in the film.
5. White Christmas
If classic holiday songs are what you are looking for, this would be your soundtrack. The White Christmas official soundtrack is just a list of Christmas classics, including the titular song, “Jingle Bells,” and “Silent Night.” This is probably the best overall soundtrack for getting you in the mood for setting up your Christmas decorations.
6. Polar Express
The Polar Express is based on a beloved children’s book, and instantly became a classic upon its release. One of the great things about this movie is that its soundtrack has a little bit of everything. There are some new songs written for the film, on top of old standards that everyone loves. It may actually be the most complete soundtrack on this list.
7. Office Christmas Party
If you are looking for something more offbeat for Christmas, look no further than the Office Christmas Party soundtrack. In all fairness, not every song on this album is Christmas-related. However, they make up for that with some fresh and inventive Christmas songs. Songs you have certainly never heard, which in this case is not a bad thing. Every track is also introduced by the DJ from the movie. This soundtrack is probably best for an actual party, for when you want to keep the atmosphere upbeat.
8. The Holiday
The Holiday has a surprisingly great Christmas soundtrack for a mostly forgettable movie. The film has star power with Jack Black, Kate Winslett, Jude Law, and Cameron Diaz. It is a shame though the premise was a bland rom-com that brought nothing new to the table. On the other hand, they did an excellent job with the soundtrack. Which featured a few Christmas classics like “Winter Wonderland,” on top of relatively newer holiday songs like Wham’s “Last Christmas.” Even some non-holiday tunes like “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers were thrown in for good measure.
9. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Original TV Soundtrack
It is not the most extensive playlist on here, but all of the songs are originals. You may not realize, but they have been a part of our lives for so long they may as well be as classic as “White Christmas.” “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is not just a song that most people can sing by heart. It has also gone on to find a life of its own in other Christmas soundtracks.
10. A Bad Mom’s Christmas
This movie may be a little under the radar, as it was a surprise sequel to a surprisingly good comedy. So while the film is a fun watch, it deserves an equal amount of attention for a soundtrack that features mostly rock and pop remixes of classic Christmas songs. It also features a few colorfully titled instrumentals by Christopher Lennertz. This is a great album to throw on anytime, and can serve a party or event for those trying to keep things classy but lively.
While there are many Christmas movies, it is clear most of them have great soundtracks. In the end, you really cannot go wrong with Christmas music — especially in major motion pictures. A few other films which deserve mention for their soundtracks are Home Alone 1 & 2, Die Hard, and A Muppets Christmas Carol. A few favorites that do not have the same song recognition factor others on this list have. Ultimately, the best Christmas soundtrack is the one you like the most. Hopefully — sooner than later — we will get to see a retrowave Christmas soundtrack on this list.