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How to Play 10 Easy (and Awesome) Holiday Songs on Guitar

How to Play 10 Easy (and Awesome) Holiday Songs on Guitar

It’s that time of year.

Trimming the tree, sipping on egg nog and of course, strumming a few tunes with family and friends.

Many of the songs we love to sing and play this time of year of simply arranged. And you can dig right in and play ‘em to your heart’s content.

Here are some of our faves that are easy to play at the drop of a hat (a Santa hat that is!).

Plus, these are easy to capo if you need a different key.

So grab some mistletoe and a gingerbread cookie, tune up and strum away.

What’s your favorite Holiday song to play? Tell us in the comments below.

Jingle Bells

"Jingle Bells" is one of the best-known and commonly sung American Christmas songs in the world.

It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and published under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh" in the autumn of 1857.

Even though it is now associated with the Christmas and holiday season, it was actually originally written to be sung for American Thanksgiving!

G ...............................................C
Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh,
Am......................D7..........................G
O'er the fields we go, laughing all the way.
...........................................................C
Bells on bob-tails ring, making spirits bright,
……. Am...............G ............D7…………………….......G…D7
What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight. Oh!

~Chorus~
G
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Jingle all the way!
C........................... G
O what fun it is to ride
...... A7.........................D7
In a one-horse open sleigh, hey!
G
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Jingle all the way!
C........................... G
O what fun it is to ride
......D7......................... G
In a one-horse open sleigh

3JS performs:


Deck the Halls

"Deck the Halls" is a traditional Christmas, yuletide, and New Years' carol.

The melody is Welsh dating back to the sixteenth century, and belongs to a winter carol, "Nos Galan,” while the English lyrics date to 1862.

The English lyrics were written by the Scottish musician Thomas Oliphant, although the repeated "fa la la" goes back to the original Welsh "Nos Galan.”

"Deck the Halls" is not a translation but new words by Oliphant to an old song.

D...............................Bm
Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
A7............D......A......D
Fa la la la la, la la la la
D......................Bm
Tis the season to be jolly,
A7............D......A......D
Fa la la la la, la la la la
A7........................ D
Don we now our gay apparel,
D..........Bm ... A..E7..A
Fa la la la la, la la la la
D........................Bm
Troll the ancient Yuletide carol,
G ..........D ........D..A7..D
Fa la la la la, la la la la

Here’s an acoustic version from Two World


Silent Night

"Silent Night" was composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria.

It was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in March 2011.

In 1859, the Episcopal priest John Freeman Young, then serving at Trinity Church, New York City, published the English translation that is most frequently sung today.

The version of the melody that is generally used today is a slow, meditative lullaby, differing slightly (particularly in the final strain) from Gruber's original, which was a sprightly, dance-like tune in 6/8 time.

G.....................................D...............G
Silent night! Holy night! All is calm all is bright
C .......................... G ..........................C.....................G
Round yon virgin mother and child Holy infant so tender and mild
D.......................... G..Em....G ........ D ..............G
Sleep in heavenly peace! Sleep in heavenly peace!
G.....................................D...............G
Silent night! Holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight
C .......................... G ..........................C.....................G
Glories stream from heaven afar Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah
D.............................. G..Em....G ........ D ..............G
Christ the Saviour is born! Christ the Saviour is born!


Hark the Herald Angels Sing

"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" was written by Charles Wesley.

This Christmas carol that first appeared in 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems.

Wesley had requested and received slow and solemn music for his lyrics, not the joyful tune expected today. Moreover, Wesley's original opening couplet is "Hark! how all the welkin rings / Glory to the King of Kings.”

The popular version is the result of alterations by various hands, notably by Wesley's co-worker, George Whitefield, who changed the opening couplet to the familiar one, and by Felix Mendelssohn.

A hundred years after the publication of Hymns and Sacred Poems, in 1840, Mendelssohn composed a cantata to commemorate Johann Gutenberg's invention of the printing press, and it is music from this cantata, adapted by the English musician William H. Cummings to fit the lyrics of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” that propels the carol known today.

G..........................D...... G......C.............. G........D....... G
Hark the herald angels sing "Glory to the new born King
............................... Em........A7 ...D...................A7........D
Peace on earth and mercy mild God an sinners reconciled"
G..................D7....G ...D.....G................D7....G........D
Joyful all ye nations rise_ Join the triumph of the skies
C .................. G........Am...E7....Am.........D7.......G...D....G
With angelic host proclaim "Christ is born in Bethlehem"
C..............G........Am...E7...Am..D7...G..........D7..........G
Hark the herald angels sing "Glory to the new born King"


Joy To The World

The words are by English hymn writer Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98 in the Bible.

The song was first published in 1719 in Watts' collection; The Psalms of David: Imitated in the language of the New Testament.

The music was adapted and arranged to Watts' lyrics by Lowell Mason in 1839 from an older melody which was then believed to have originated from Handel., However, Handel did not compose the entire tune. The name "Antioch" is generally used for the tune.

As of the late 20th century, "Joy to the World" was the most-published Christmas hymn in North America!

G..................................D.........G
Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
...... C...........D7 ..........G
Let earth receive her King
G
Let every heart .
G
Prepare Him room
.........G
And Heaven and nature sing
.........D
And Heaven and nature sing
.......... G....... Cadd9...G..............D.........G
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.


I Saw Three Ships

"I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In)" is a traditional and popular Christmas carol from England.

A variant of its parent tune "Greensleeves,” the earliest printed version of "I Saw Three Ships" is from the 17th century, possibly Derbyshire, and was also published by William Sandys in 1833.[1][2]

The lyrics mention the ships sailing into Bethlehem, but the nearest body of water is the Dead Sea about 20 miles away!

G D G D G Em D G

....G.............D..............G...........D
I saw three ships come sailing in,
........G...........................D
on Christmas day, on Christmas day
....G............. D ..............G..........D
I saw three ships come sailing in,
.......G.............Em...........D ......G
on Christmas day in the morning.


O Come All Ye Faithful

"Adeste Fideles" is a Christmas carol which has been attributed to various authors, including John Francis Wade (1711 – 1786), with the earliest copies of the hymn all bearing his signature, John Reading (1645 – 1692) and King John IV of Portugal (1604 – 1656).

The original four verses of the hymn were extended to a total of eight, and these have been translated into many languages.

The English translation of "O Come, All Ye Faithful" by the English Catholic priest Frederick Oakeley, written in 1841, is widespread in most English speaking countries.

......G ................D
O come, all ye faithful
G.....D...G....C...G....D
Joyful and triumphant
....Em......A.......D...G...D..G...D...A...D
O come ye, oh come ye to Bethlehem
G........C.....G.....D7...G
Come and behold Him
D .......G... Em...A...D
Born the king of angels

Chorus:

.......G.......D ..G....D......G
Oh come let us adore Him
.......G...... D...G..D7..G...D
Oh come let us adore Him
......G.......D7..G..D....A7..D..G
Oh come let us adore Him
G......D.........G
Christ the Lord

Team Three performs


Twelve Days of Christmas

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" is an English Christmas carol that enumerates in the manner of a cumulative song a series of increasingly grand gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas.

The song, first published in England in 1780 without music as a chant or rhyme, is thought to be French in origin.

The standard tune now associated with it is derived from a 1909 arrangement of a traditional folk melody by English composer Frederic Austin, who first introduced the now familiar prolongation of the verse "five gold rings.”

C.............................Am...................F ............G...........C
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
...... C.......Am....F...G....C..F..C
A partridge in a pear tree

C.............................Am...................F ............G...........C
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
G
Two turtle doves
...... C.......Am....F...G....C..F..C
And a partridge in a pear tree

C.............................Am...................F ............G...........C
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
G
Three French hens
G
Two turtle doves
...... C.......Am....F...G....C..F..C
And a partridge in a pear tree

C.............................Am...................F ............G...........C
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
G
Four calling birds
G
Three French hens
G
Two turtle doves
...... C.......Am....F...G....C..F..C
And a partridge in a pear tree

C.............................Am...................F ............G...........C
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
C.......D.........G
Five gold rings
.................... C
Four calling birds
...........Am
Three French hens
F.................. G
Two turtle doves
...... C.......Am....F...G....C..F..C
And a partridge in a pear tree


We Wish You a Merry Christmas

"We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is a popular sixteenth-century English carol from the West Country of England.

The origin of this Christmas carol lies in the English tradition wherein wealthy people of the community gave Christmas treats to the carolers on Christmas Eve, such as figgy puddings that were very much like modern-day Christmas puddings.

It is one of the few English traditional carols that makes mention of the New Year celebration.

......C...........................F
We wish you a merry Christmas
.......D ......................... G
We wish you a merry Christmas
.........C........................F
We wish you a merry Christmas
............G................C
And a happy New Year.
..........C.............Bm
Glad tidings we bring
...... Am...............G
To you and your kin;
.........C.................. F
Glad tidings for Christmas
...........G.................C
And a happy New Year!

Aly & AJ perform this classic.


The First Noel

"The First Noel" (also written "The First Noël" and "The First Nowell") is a traditional classical English carol, most likely from the 18th century, although possibly earlier.

The word Noel comes from the French word Noël meaning Christmas, from the Latin word natalis which translates as birthday.”

In its current form, it is of Cornish origin, and it was first published in Carols Ancient and Modern (1823) and Gilbert and Sandys Carols (1833), both of which were edited by William Sandys and arranged, edited and with extra lyrics written by Davies Gilbert.

Today, it is usually performed in a four-part hymn arrangement by the English composer John Stainer.

.........C ........ G........F................C
The First Noel, the Angels did say
.............. C.................G..................F................... C
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
........C................ G............F....................C
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
...........C .................G................ F.........C
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.
...C.......G .......F.....C.....G
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
C....................G ...... C ....G
Born is the King of Israel!

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