Christmas Music Playlist R&B and Gospel

There’s a running joke between my son Mazi and I about who’s more Mr/Mrs Christmas around the MyBrownBaby household. Both of us absolutely stan for Christmas music. Like, with an almost fanatical zeal that’s wholly unnatural. We start playing it religiously the day after Thanksgiving, and we pump up the volume big time when we’re decorating the tree, hanging lights outside, and wrapping presents. Best believe, too, that when our feet are under the table at Christmas dinner—no matter whose table it is—our Christmas play list is bumping in the background. It’s that serious.

Every year, I add on a few more songs to our play list—some of them old treasures that I’ve discovered on iTunes, others new offerings I’ve heard on the radio and purchased at the store or online. Old standbys include beautiful Christmas songs by Kirk Franklin, Whitney Houston, Dianne Reeves, Anita Baker, Brian McKnight and Harry Connick, Jr.; this year, I added on songs from Justin Bieber (at the insistence of my girlpies!), Jason Mraz, Macy Gray, Musiq Soulchild and Tamia, CeeLo Green and Mary J. Blige, plus some classic offerings by Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong that I copped on Spotify. (Please note: Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” is an obvious tradition and should be on every Christmas music playlist ever known to man; he most certainly is on all five of mine. I stretched a little in the list below, however, by putting a funky version by Macy Grey, who is one in a long line of singers who remade the classic version.)

If you’re a true Christmas music connoisseur, you’ll love this protracted list I whipped up just for MyBrownBaby (my playlist is way too long to reproduce here). Most of these are available on iTunes if you want to download them for a fantastical Soul Holiday Christmas Playlist of your own.


  1. Joy To the World, Whitney Houston
  2. Silent Night, Kirk Franklin & The Family
  3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Yolanda Adams
  4. The Christmas Song, Tamia
  5. Back Door Santa, Clarence Carter
  6. Winter Wonderland, Jason Mraz
  7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Wynton Marsalis
  8. I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Will Downing
  9. Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto, James Brown
  10. Christmas In Hollis, Run D.M.C.
  11. Let It Snow, Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight
  12. Merry Christmas Baby, Faith Evans
  13. Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt
  14. Let It Snow, Dianne Reeves
  15. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Ledisi
  16. O Christmas Tree, Musiq Soulchild
  17. This Christmas (Hang All The Mistletoe), Macy Gray
  18. What You Want For Christmas, K-Nock, Quad City DJ’s & The 69 Boyz
  19. Sleigh Ride, TLC
  20. I Want To Come Home For Christmas, Marvin Gaye
  21. Christmas In The City, Mary J. Blige, Angie Martinez
  22. Christmas Night In Harlem, Louis Armstrong
  23. I’ve Got My Love To Keep You Warm, Billie Holiday
  24. It Must Have Been Ol’ Santa Claus, Harry Connick, Jr.
  25. The Christmas Song, Brian McKnight
  26. What Christmas Means To Me, Stevie Wonder
  27. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, Joe Sample
  28. Jesus Is The Reason For The Season, Kirk Franklin
  29. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Tony Bennet
  30. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Nat King Cole

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs? Tell me in the comments section so that I can cop some more holiday goodies for my playlist.

[*Editor’s note: Portions of this post appeared on MyBrownBaby in December 2011]

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. Silent Night and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer…both by The Temptations!

  2. O Holy Night by SWV is very good!!

  3. I have been jammin to Bootsy Collin’s ‘Christmas is 4 Ever’…at least when I can get away from Kids Bop.

  4. This is a great list with a few songs that I haven’t heard yet… Here are a few more of my faves:
    Silver Bells by Total Commitment
    The First Noel by Brian McKnight
    Mary Did You Know by CeeLo Green

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