Texas Living

9 Texan Christmas Tunes for Every Holiday Gathering

By Staci Parks 12.1.23

Christmas is a special season in Texas, packed with finding the perfect gift and preparing for holiday guests. While there are different takes on how Texans celebrate the holidays, one thing brings us all together: Christmas music. (Well, that and Christmas Eve tamales!)

We’ve rounded up nine of our favorite Texas Christmas songs from some of our favorite musicians.

“8 Days of Christmas,” Destiny’s Child

More like a time capsule, this song captures a moment before Beyoncé was, well, Beyoncé. Houston’s very own Destiny’s Child sings about Christmastime in the early 2000s, mentioning “dirty denim” and gift certificates to get CDs.

“Feliz Navidad,” Kacey Musgraves

The Golden, Texas, native’s take on this timeless classic fuses Latin-inspired rhythms with a well-known and -loved traditional tune. Delicately singing in both Spanish and English, Musgraves musically nods to Texas’ Mexican-influenced culture.

“Home to Texas for Christmas,” Mickey Gilley

Gilley didn’t grow up in Texas, but he got here as quickly as possible — his music and public image soon became synonymous with the Lone Star State. This upbeat, honky-tonk tune reminiscences on family get-togethers and reconnecting with old friends.

“I Don’t Know What Christmas Is (But Christmastime Is Here),” Old 97’s

This isn’t your typical Christmastime tune, but it’s a fun one! Beloved Dallas-based rock band Old 97’s performed this song — practically unrecognizable, dressed as aliens — as part of 2022’s “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.”

“Merry Christmas Strait to You,” George Strait

Straight is no stranger to Christmas songs, having released several holiday albums in his storied career. But this 1986 cut embodies all the great things about a George Strait song: easy Texas swing with an upbeat tempo and feel-good vibe.

“Merry Texas Christmas Y’all,” Asleep at the Wheel

Several artists have covered this song, but Asleep at the Wheel — a cornerstone of Austin’s early music scene — knows the ins and outs of a Texas Christmas as well as anyone. As the song goes: “There’s not much snow down Texas way, but we sure do mean it when we say, ‘A Merry Christmas Texas, you all.’”

“Pretty Paper,” Roy Orbison & Willie Nelson

Texas legend Willie Nelson penned this song, but Roy Orbison made it a hit. This tune tells the tale of a real-life street vendor in Santos, Texas, who was disabled below the neck from childhood spinal meningitis. Over time, the song has struck a chord with audiences and musicians alike, as artists ranging from Kenny Chesney to Dolly Parton have covered it.

“The Night Before Christmas (In Texas, That Is),” Gene Autry

Travel back in time with this 1950s tune from the Country Music Hall of Fame’s “singing cowboy.” Autry’s rendition of the classic “The Night Before Christmas” has a Texas twist, with visions of Levis, 10-gallon Stetsons, and boots in lieu of stockings.

“When It’s Christmastime in Texas,” George Strait

As any Texan knows, King George’s Christmas catalog is so robust that every holiday playlist needs at least one or two. While “there may not be snow in San Antonio,” this song invites images of twin fiddles and “swingin’ around the Christmas tree” for a Texas Christmas to remember.

If you’re looking for even more of a Texas twang, check out our Texas road trip playlist as you travel for the holidays.

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