12 Fingerstyle Songs of Christmas

Christmas Song Guitar Lessons (The 12 Fingerstyle Songs of Christmas)

It's that time of year once again and what better way to spend it than with your beloved guitar (friends and family too of course), playing all your favourite Christmas songs.

Here are twelve fingerstyle arrangements of some of the most famous and popular Christmas songs of all time. They all range in difficulty and cover a huge amount of techniques.

Each song comes with a full demonstration of the arrangement, video lessons and guitar notation/tab to really help you out. So get ready to really impress all your friends and family this Christmas!

Let's get straight on and start learning all these great fingerstyle arrangements. Buckle up as there is a HUGE amount to learn here!

The 12 Fingerstyle Songs of Christmas 

  1. Jingle Bells (James Lord Pierpont)
  2. Here Comes Santa Claus (Gene Autry)
  3. Last Christmas (George Michael)
  4. Merry Xmas Everybody (Slade)
  5. Frosty the Snowman (Steve Nelson)
  6. Jingle Bell Rock (Bobby Helms)
  7. Silent Night (Franz Xaver Gruber)
  8. Happy Xmas (War is Over) (John Lennon)
  9. We Wish You A Merry Christmas (composer unknown)
  10. Driving Home For Christmas (Chris Rea)
  11. All I Want For Christmas Is You (Mariah Carey)
  12. Auld Lang Syne (Robert Burns)

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Xmas Fingerstyle Medley

How about a Christmas Fingerstyle medley of some of the songs to kick things off?

Jingle Bells 

The first song we're going to learn is well over a hundred years old and is one of the best known songs in the world. You simply can't go through December without hearing this song somewhere, and for that reason it's the first of the list.

Demo:

Part 1:

Probably the hardest part about this arrangement is the alternating bass line, especially on the C chord. Do bear in mind that you can simplify that chord by just alternating between the A and D strings, this will likely make the tricky C chord considerably easier.

If you want in-depth lessons on how to correctly alternate the bass strings and really develop great thumb independence/technique, then I have a whole section dedicated to it in my 'Complete Beginner's Guide to Fingerstyle Guitar' course.

Jingle Bells Guitar Tab

Part 2:

Here we learn how to play the chorus to Jingle Bells. Warning! Prepare for the tune to be stick in your head for the rest of the day.

Jingle Bells Guitar Tab


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Here Comes Santa Claus

Here Comes Santa Claus was written in 1947 by Gene Autry and is a greatly loved Christmas song. It's great fun to play and sounds good executed at any speed, fast or slow.

Demo:

Intro:

The song begins with a quick four bar intro, this short section appears again after the 2nd verse.

Here Comes Santa Guitar tab

Verse (part 1):

The first section of Here Comes Santa Claus is quite similar to Jingle Bells, you'll hear straight away that the first few notes are identical.

Here Comes Santa Guitar tab

Verse (part 2):

Things get a little harder here and you may find gripping the F chord tough, but persevere and you'll get it!

Here Comes Santa Guitar tab


Last Christmas

Last Christmas was written in 1984 by George Michael and is one of the most successful Christmas songs released in the '80s.

This fingerstyle arrangement is pretty demanding to play, but once you start to master all the subtle techniques it becomes a great deal of fun.

Demo:

Chorus:

First off let's look at the chorus, thankfully the entire song is just four chords. This takes a little pressure off the mind and allows you to focus more on the melody line.

Last Christmas Chorus Guitar Tab

Bridge:

Remember that this song should be played lightly, don't be too aggressive on the strings and really let them ring into each other.

Last Christmas Bridge Guitar Tab

1st Verse:

The light strums run throughout the whole song and land on the counts of 2 and 4. Gently strum (roughly) the G and B strings on these counts.

Last Christmas Verse Guitar Tab

2nd Verse:

Similar to the last verse but the melody has changed a little.

Last Christmas Verse Guitar Tab

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Merry Xmas Everybody

This song was written by British rock band Slade in 1973 and went straight to number 1 in the UK after its release. 

Merry Xmas Everybody has a reasonably simple chord progression throughout but with the fingerpicking thrown in it does get a little tricky. However, it's a great deal of fun to play!

Demo:

Intro:

Merry Xmas Everybody Guitar Tab

Verse/Pre Chorus:

Merry Xmas Everybody Verse Guitar Tab

 

Chorus:

Merry Xmas Everybody Guitar tab Chorus

Bridge:

Merry Xmas Everybody Guitar Tab


Frosty the Snowman

This song was originally written by Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson, and first recorded by Gene Autry in 1950. It's been covered many times across multiple styles of music, with one of the most popular covers being done by The Ronettes in 1963.

Intro:

The song has a very simple four bar intro, just strumming through some basic chords.

Frosty the Snowman Guitar Tab

Verse:

Things get a little more complicated for the verse, but still it follows a straightforward chord progression.

Frosty the Snowman Guitar Tab

Bridge:

The only other part to the song is the bridge, a slightly hard chord progression to get through but a lot of fun to play.

Frosty the Snowman Guitar Tab


Jingle Bell Rock

This classic Christmas song was written by Bobby Helms in 1957 and it will almost certainly be a song you stumble upon at Christmas time. It's received frequent radio-play each year for over 60 years now and shows no sign of letting up. 

Demo:

Intro/Outro:

Jingle Bell Rock Guitar TabVerse:

Jingle Bell Rock Guitar Tab

Bridge:

Jingle Bell Rock Guitar Tab

Verse 2/3:

Jingle Bell Rock Guitar Tab

Outro:

Jingle Bell Rock Guitar Tab


Silent Night

One of the prettiest Christmas songs around and a real joy to play. I know some of the songs we've look at in this list so far have been really hard, so I've tried to make this one a little easier. I hope you enjoy!

Demo:

Lesson:

Silent Night Guitar Tab

 

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Happy Xmas (War is Over)

This song was written by the great John Lennon in 1971 with the John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band. For an extra helping hand, Lennon recruited the Harlem Community Choir to help out with the backing vocals. Although the song didn't race to the top of the Charts upon its release, it has become and continues to be a Christmas classic to many. 

Demo:

The Chords:

Make sure that you really master the chord progression before you begin learning to play the fingerstyle version.

Verse:

Remember that you can simplify this down as much as you want to. Feel free to take out the alternating bass at any point, and don't feel as though you have to add all the chord variations.

Happy Xmas (War is Over) Guitar Tab

Chorus:

Happy Xmas (War is Over) Guitar Tab

Write your own fingerstyle arrangements!

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We Wish You a Merry Christmas

This one is slightly easier than some of the others that we've looked at but it still has its challenges. One of the hardest things about it is the chords, there's a lot of them and they seem to fly by at a great speed. As always, take your time and go slow. 

We wish You a Merry Xmas Guitar Tab


Driving Home for Christmas

Written in 1988 by Chris Rea, Driving Home for Christmas is a timeless classic. This isn't the easiest song on the list but it certainly is a lot of fun to play!

Intro:

Driving Home for Christmas Guitar Tab

1st Verse:

Driving Home for Christmas Guitar Tab

Chorus:

Driving Home for Christmas Guitar Tab

2nd Verse: 

Driving Home for Christmas Guitar Tab

Bridge:

All I Want For Christmas Is You (Mariah Carey)


All I Want for Christmas Is You

Written and produced by Mariah Carey herself, All I Want for Christmas Is You is the ultimate Christmas song. It's full of twists and turns and fast move chords, this is tricky but great one to play.

Intro:

All I Want for Christmas is You Guitar Tab

1st Verse:

All I Want for Christmas is You Guitar Tab

Chorus:

All I Want for Christmas is You Guitar Tab

2nd Verse:

All I Want for Christmas is You Guitar Tab

Bridge:

All I Want for Christmas is You Guitar Tab

Outro:

All I Want for Christmas is You Guitar Tab


Auld Lang Syne

To finish up the 12 Fingerstyle Songs of Christmas list we're going to learn the New Year's classic Auld Lang Syne. 

Auld Lang Syne guitar Tab


If you want to make sure that you're really on the right track with fingerpicking, then try one of my fingerstyle guitar courses - find out more here.

If you have any questions or want to share anything at all, then please leave a comment below.

I hope you've found this lesson useful and thank you for reading.

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