6 Popular Christmas Carols to Play on Guitar

Playing Christmas Carols On Guitar

Play Christmas Carols as an Absolute Beginner!

Everyone celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with music. Making Christmas more festive doesn’t have to be complicated. Leave all your worries behind and don’t worry because you can play your favorite Christmas carols just fine with easy guitar chord progressions.

Make this holiday season extra special playing easy guitar Christmas carols.

6 Easy Christmas Carols on Guitar

  1. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

This fictional reindeer should not miss its ride on Christmas eve. The song was a hit since 1949 and has become timeless where everyone in different generations would fondly sing this song. It’s storytelling time through singing the legendary luminous red-nosed, ninth and youngest of Santa Claus’ team of reindeers, Rudolph.

You only need three chords to play this song and you have 4 beats/counts per bar or measure, the usual counting of 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Verses:

A E A (A-3 bars; E-4 bars; A-1 bar)

Chorus:

D A E A, E D E  (D-1 bar; A-1 bar; E-1 bar; A-1 bar; E-2 bars; D-1 bar; E-1 bar)

  1. Silent Night

This sweet and nice 1818 popular Christmas carol never fails to serenade us. It is a cold holiday season but turns warm every time we hear this song. You can definitely pull this off even as an absolute beginner, playing four chords at a slow pace.

The pattern below is the same pattern for every verse in the song. Please note that for this song, 1 bar has 3 beats or counts of three, a waltz time signature.

G (4 bars) 

D G (D-2 bars; G-2 bars)

C G (C-2 bars; G-2 bars)

C G (C-2 bars; G-2 bars)  

D G Em (D-2 bars; G-1 bar; Em-1 bar)

G D G (G-1 bar; D-1 bar; G-2 bars)

Strumming Pattern Options:

  • Option 1: Strum down on count 1
  • Option 2: Strum down on all counts 1, 2 and 3
  • Option 3: Down, Down Up Down (1, 2 n 3)

  1. Jingle Bells

Another timeless song every child and adult can sing on Christmas Day. This was written in 1857 and was first recorded in 1889. It’s a fast song with 4 beats in a bar and it’s an easy play with four major chords. This can be a little tricky though, the chords are changing in between the four beats. It’s better to illustrate this by counting 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Verse:

G — C D G  (G-1 2 3 4; G-1 2 C-3 4; C-1 2 D-3 4; D-1 2 G-3 4)

G — C D G  (G-1 2 3 4; G-1 2 C-3 4; C-1 2 D-3 4; D-1 2 G-3 4)

Chorus:

G — C G A D (G-1 2 3 4; G-1 2 3 4; C-1 2 G-3 4; A-1 2 D-3 4)

G — C G D G (G-1 2 3 4; G-1 2 3 4; C-1 2 G-3 4; D-1 2 G-3 4)

  1. Deck The Halls

‘Tis the season to be jolly’, people sing it full of high spirits. Deck the Halls is a traditional Christmas carol encouraging everyone to decorate for Christmas. This is not a slow song, some parts may require a quicker shift of chords but you’ll be surprised that the tempo is a little slower than other fast songs with 80 bpm. The signature line “Fa la la” is where you get to shift chords faster, shifting chords on every count.

Here is the chord pattern all throughout the song. 

G —   (1 bar/4 beats)

C G D G (change chords per beat in 1 bar; C-1 G-2 D-3 G-4)

G —   (1 bar/4 beats)

C G D G (change chords per beat in 1 bar; C-1 G-2 D-3 G-4)

D G         (change chords on beat 1 and 3 in 1 bar; D-1 2 G-3 4)

G Em A D (change chords per beat in 1 bar; G-1 Em-2 A-3 D-4)

G —  (1 bar/4 beats)

C G D G (change chords per beat in 1 bar; C-1 G-2 D-3 G-4)

  1. Feliz Navidad

Expressing the joy of Christmas while feeling lonely in missing his family was how Jose Feliciano wrote this Spanish traditional Christmas/New Year greeting in 1970. The good vibe, nice groove and warmth of the song can make everyone sing along and wish you a Merry Christmas!

You can play this song in a simpler version of three chords; skipping the barre chord, F#m. The chord pattern below is the same for both verse and chorus, using 4 beats in a bar. Start fretting your first chord, D, on the third or last syllable of the word “Navi-dad.

D E A (D-1 bar; E-1 bar; A-2 bars)

  1. We Wish You A Merry Christmas

 Who doesn’t know how to sing this short and very familiar tune? This traditional Christmas carol will always be part of the list of Christmas songs, usually sung in the finale of every carolers. The challenge of fretting the unfamiliar B7 chord and a faster tempo will not outweigh the need to learn this classic. This song has 3 beats per bar or measure; counting 1, 2 and 3. Start at a slow space to get used to changing chords faster.

We wish you a Merry Christmas (start the chord on the word “wish”)

G C A D (1 bar/3 beats; 1 bar for each chord)

B7 Em   (1 bar/3 beats; 1 bar for each chord)

C D G    (C-1 2 D-3 G-1 2 3)

Good tidings … (start the chord on the first syllable of the word ‘ti’-dings)

G D A D (1 bar/3 beats; 1 bar for each chord)

G Em     (1 bar/3 beats; 1 bar for each chord)

C D G    (C-1 2 D-3 G-1 2 3)

Sing Your Christmas Carols!

Warm the season singing your heart out! You’ll definitely make your Christmas merry singing these Christmas carols. Grace your Christmas party with a song or join your friends or family for a caroling around the neighborhood. Don’t miss all the fun you can do with everyone and your guitar. 

You can even be extra generous by buying a guitar for a gift and teach your family how to play the guitar on your Christmas eve bonding.

Sing it and play it!

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