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With the holiday season comes plenty of amazing music to get us in the mood. There’s nothing more pleasant than hearing some of your favorite Christmas songs at the piano. It’s even more fun to play them, but sometimes it can be tough to find easy arrangements of that music.
To help with that problem, I decided to research and find every easy piano Christmas song I could.
Below is a list of easy piano Christmas songs to play:
- Jingle Bells
- Silent Night
- Joy To The World
- Frosty The Snowman
- Away In A Manger
- The First Noel
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
- Let It Snow
- Deck The Halls
- Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Silver Bells
- Feliz Navidad
- O Holy Night
- Christmas Time Is Here
- The Grinch Theme
- Santa Clause Is Coming To Town
- The Christmas Song
- Jingle Bell Rock
- O Christmas Tree
- This Christmas
- Auld Lang Syne
The reasons these songs are considered easy is not just because of the arrangements I’ve found, but also because of how these Christmas songs are structured. I’ll go through each song briefly, showing you why I think it’s easy, how to practice it, and of course, link out to where you can get a good arrangement of it. With that said let’s start with the easiest Christmas song to play on the piano that I could think of; Jingle Bells!
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With its repetitive melody line, Jingle bells are probably one of the easiest piano songs you can play during the Christmas season. This entire song is based on the five-finger position no matter what key you play it in (although I recommend playing this in G major). Because of this, the hands don’t have to move at all beyond the scope of five keys, limiting the risk of missing notes!
The right hand can control the majority of the melody while the left hand harmonizes. The basic chord chart progression for Jingle Bells is as follows
I IV I ii V I IV I V I
When the pianist gets to measures 4 – 8 they will be playing the IV, I, ii and V chords. All of this is just to eventually lead from the dominant to the tonic.
This song is easy to remember because of the repetitive melody line. While most people sing just the chorus of Jingle Bells, if you want a challenge, consider learning the verses too. To play the verse the pianist will need to be comfortable playing a different set of intervals, adding sharps, and moving the right hand beyond it’s starting five-finger position.
If you’re a beginner I recommend checking out the Faber edition of Jingle Bells which you can find in their Pretime Piano Christmas book. It’s laid out well and there are finger numbers to help you understand where to move to and when. A basic grip on note reading is required, so if you have not taken a piano course yet I recommend checking out Piano Jumpstart to get the basics down.
If you’re in a rush and can’t learn sheet music, then I recommend checking out the video tutorial for Jingle Bells below.
This is a classic Christmas tune that should be a part of any pianist repertoire. It follows a simple pattern of I to V chords to start. After that, it goes to the subdominant IV chord and alternates with the tonic again. To finish out each verse the piano chords move to the dominant and alternate with the tonic there.
The simplicity of having to only focus on three different chord harmonies for the entire song makes it a great tune. There are plenty of arrangements of Silent Night floating around the web. Most of them are written in C major, and it really depends on how much embellishment you desire in the piece when it comes to difficulty.
I think because of how simple the song is, it would be fun to play it as a duet. Alfred has a great duet arrangement of Silent Night which you can find here. If you’re taking piano lessons then it’s fun to play this with a teacher.
The teacher part has a repetitive eighth-note rhythm to help fill out the harmonies. The student part features dotted eighth notes. Once the core rhythm of a quarter note followed by a dotted eighth note and quarter note is mastered, it can easily be done again throughout the piece. This arrangement is written well because both hands move at the same general pace and are easy to coordinate.
Joy To The World
This is a Christmas carol that is popular throughout the world. It was written by Isaac Watts back in the early 1700s and it’s stood the test of time!
Joy To The World can easily be learned at the piano without really needing to read sheet music (although you should if you can)! The following video, for example, breaks down the piece really well.
Both hands will start with both thumbs right next to each other. The right-hand thumb is on C and the left-hand thumb is on B. Keep in mind that your fourth finger on the right hand will be located on F sharp!
From there the right-hand start with the familiar descending line which naturally rolls right into the left hand. As the melody ascends you’ll find yourself naturally rolling back into the right hand. Have a look at the video to get an idea of how simple it can be to get the melody line of Joy To The World learned!
From here you might want to harmonize the song, and sheet music can be really helpful with that. This arrangement is in G major so having a basic understanding of how to improvise chords and melodies is more beneficial. Check out this piano improvisation course so you can apply the methods to any tune you want.
Frosty The Snowman
This list of easy piano Christmas songs would not be complete without an old-time favorite; Frosty The Snowman!
This song was written in 1950, so it’s more modern than some of the traditional holiday songs. It’s been at the center of television shows, movies, and even book adaptions. For kids, it’s simply a fun song to sing, and would be a treat to play at the piano around the family.
To play this song I recommend starting with your thumbs on G for the left hand, and A for the right hand. The melody starts with the left-hand G and goes from there. Setting your hands on the piano this way eliminates the need to jump around with the right hand (something you’ll need to do if you plan to harmonize with the melody).
Check the tutorial video out for more details of how to actually play it.
Away In A Manger
A quick look in a hymnal and you’ll find this beautiful Christmas carol. Away In a Manger refers to the birth and everything surrounding that period in history. It was written in the late 1800s and has undergone several publishing editions to become the version we know it as today.
The melody is really familiar, and it’s something you can almost hum your way through while trying to figure out which keys to play.
While there are YouTube tutorial videos showing how to play this, I always suggest either reading this arrangement from a hymnal or checking it out in a Christmas piano book.
The Premier Piano Course has this tune as well as awesome arrangements of other Christmas pieces too. It’s not just the simple verse and choruses, but also elaborate introductions and outros for some fo the pieces that make this one of my favorite piano Christmas books available. You’ll want to have a bit of playing experience and solid rhythm first, but it’s definitely on the intermediate side of the spectrum.
Check out book 4 of the Premier Piano Christmas Course here.
The First Noel
Depending on your skill level, some Christmas songs can seem quite demanding, especially the ones that are based in jazz literature. The First Noel, however, is a piece that you can easily get started with.
This piece allows pianists to harmonize in the left hand while the right-hand plays the melody which spans no further than an octave. Simply holding down the bass notes is even an option, or you can fill out the chords as you feel more comfortable harmonizing.
I recommend playing this song in C major. This way you can rotate between the tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords. Simply using your ear and no sheet music, this is one of those piano songs you can simply figure out through trial and error.
Still, it helps to have an easy resource to look at, so I suggest learning from this piano version. The way the pieces are arranged is by the left and hand and right hand only playing together occasionally. Otherwise, the hands will essentially play one after the other and in close proximity to help with ease of performance.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
If you’ve listened to a lot of Christmas music, then you know that jazz has always been a huge element of the most popular tunes. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is one of those, and it’s something that warms the emotions during the holidays.
The melody spans an octave, and sometimes beyond. With that comes some turning under of the thumb as you would find in a basic piano scale. This song will get your hands moving around the instrument and also experimenting with some beautiful sounding chords in the process. There are so many excellent versions of this tune floating around from Sinatra to Buble.
This easy version is a great version to start with.
If you would rather read a sheet music version of this, then I recommend checking out the Hal Leonard Christmas book. It also includes some other favorites in big note notation so that the piece is easier to read. Get it here.
Let It Snow
I really love Let It Snow. It’s one of the many Christmas songs that has a smooth jazz flow to it. Experience with syncopated rhythms will make this piece easy to play. Do some tapping exercises before starting it and then hop in to enjoy all of the fun!
This piece is easy to play in F major or D major. If you try it in F major, the one flat you’ll need to worry about is B flat. I think the piece sounds better in a key like D major, although you’ll need to worry about two sharps, C sharp and F sharp. Other than that it’s fairly straight forward to play.
The video below is a pretty good arrangement of it, and it has the sheet music at the top you can follow along with, not just falling notes.
Deck The Halls
Decorating is such an enormous part of the holiday season. It only makes sense to learn a tune that focuses on that very aspect of piano playing. Deck the Halls has a very familiar melody and chord progression that makes it really easy to play no matter what level you are.
Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, I’m sure you’ve named all of Santas reindeer at some point in your life. It’s been around since 1939 so it’s definitely a mainstay in Christmas culture. What’s funny about this song like Frosty The Snowman has spun into TV specials, countless movies, and books. It’s just that popular!
This song is not only pleasing to play for pianists, but it’s something the kids will love too. I used to play a version of it when I was a kid and I loved it. The entire melody was laid out perfectly with the lyrics which helps when learning the song.
There’s Jingle Bells and then there are Silver Bells! This is a popular song that was written in 1950 popularly recorded by all of the great singers of that era.
Hal Leonard includes this piece in their Ultimate Series book. I think this book is really good for lower-skilled pianists who want to play their favorite holiday tunes without needing to be too advanced. The arrangements actually sound good!
If you’re looking to add a bit of Latin flavor to your Christmas season, then definitely add Feliz Navidad to the list of tunes. This song was written in 1970 by a Puerto Rican singer and has become a staple in holiday culture since 1970.
This is a great song for piano, especially if you can pair it up with a guitar player as a duet.
O Holy Night
Going back to the more traditional Christmas tunes, we have O Holy Night. This song was 1847 and is based on a French poem. Whether it’s the French or English version, both have the same focus on the birth.
There are many popular versions by Mariah Carey and Josh Groban. Then there is the hymnal style version often heard in cathedrals and churches alike. The melody is really easy to latch your ear onto, and it can be played straight rhythm.
Below is the version I like the best. It starts off with the harmonies in arpeggios in the left hand. As the harmonies continue to change, the rhythm remains constant. This allows pianists to develop a consistent finger pattern for the entire Christmas song and that makes the single note righthand melody easier to play.
Check it out below!
Christmas Time Is Here
Seriously, who hasn’t seen A Charlie Brown Christmas? This is one of the most iconic holiday tunes out there from the popular TV series that airs on local networks every season.
I’ve done some searching around to find a good transcription of this, and this one is by far the best.
Everything in the transcription is nearly identical to what you would hear in the recordings. With a song as universal as this one, this is important, especially performing it in front of a large group during the holidays.
The Grinch Theme
Need some mischievous fun to add to your Christmas piano song list? If so, then you can’t possibly leave out the theme from The Grinch movie! From the cartoon adaption to the popular Jim Carey film, this a song that everyone knows and has a ton of fun singing in the deep gargle voice.
Unlike most other Christmas songs, this one is written in the minor key; G minor to be exact. I’ve seen it played in D minor, F minor, and even E minor! Which key you play it in depends on how many black keys and white keys you prefer to play.
I think D minor works well for it, but you can check out this piano tutorial version below to get an idea of how it can be done. You’ll see that the bass line moves in octaves and the right hand has some pretty dense minor chords. However, the chords are not overly embellished, are mostly written in the root position, and a basic understanding of how minor chords work is all you need.
Santa Clause Is Coming To Town
Old St Nick is such a big part of the Christmas tradition. Santa Clause Is Coming To Town is definitely something to add to your repertoire list this holiday season. I really enjoy playing the Hal Leonard and Faber versions of this piece. You can usually find it in one of their large Christmas piano books. There is some syncopation in the melody, so you’ll need to be comfortable with dotted rhythms first.
The Christmas Song
Nat King Cole made this song one of the most popular Christmas pieces of all time. This is a jazzy Christmas tune that has a well known orchestral arrangement. There are some recordings however where it’s played entirely on the piano with the vocals and it’s truly sublime.
For this Christmas song, I definitely recommend getting piano sheet music. The sheet music can help you figure out some of the more complex chords, and most of them come with lead sheet markings so that you can mix things up as you become more comfortable.
Jacob Koller has an excellent rendition of this song on YouTube. He even includes the sheet music as he plays along with it so you can see the extent of the harmonies. It’s a different twist on the original, but nonetheless worth a listen!
Jingle Bell Rock
I like to call this song the little brother of the original. Jingle Bell Rock is an upbeat version of the original with different lyrics. The feel of the song is actually quite similar though with the repetitive notes in the melody line.
The harmonies are much different though as this has an old bluesy character to it. There are some great rock and jazz arrangements of Jingle Bell Rock along with plenty of tutorial videos with a simple YouTube search.
I found this cover of Jingle Bell Rock really captures the essence of the tune well. Listen to it for some inspiration and even copy his playing to learn it!
O Christmas Tree
No Christmas song list is complete without O Christmas Tree. The Christmas tree is one of the biggest symbols of this holiday, so much that an entire tune is dedicated to it!
The chord progression is fairly basic. If you were to play this song in the key of D major the chord progression would be as follows:
- D Em A D
- D Em A D
- D G A D
- D Em A D
That’s pretty much it for this song. In total, you only have to worry about the tonic, subtonic, dominant and subdominant chords. To jazz the piece up, even more, you could even throw in a B minor chord into the top line of the verse as a passing harmony.
Rather than explain this too much more in words, have a look at the tutorial video below. It’s in F major but works quite well either way.
A truly soulful holiday song is This Christmas. It was written by Donny Hathaway in the 1970s and was even the focal point of a 2007 movie!
This song has that soulful groove that many traditional Christmas tunes simply don’t have. This is a fun song that if you can learn it on piano, would be great to play with drumset, bass guitar, and a vocalist.
Auld Lang Syne
Leading out of every Christmas season is the new year. This means that I could not complete this piece without making mention of Auld Lang Syne. This song was written in 1788 and is a song based on the reflection of old times. I think as the holiday season comes to a close, it’s definitely the right vibe.
I’ve played many piano arrangements for this, some easy and some difficult! To make this simple, you should learn the bass line first, embellish it with some chords and then reserve the right hand for the entire melody line. In the video below you’ll see that the left-hand moves in broken chords, but if you’re just starting definitely play those chords blocked first until you’re comfortable with the melody.