Modern Folk Christmas Music for Your Holiday Playlist

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re looking for some modern folk Christmas music to add to your holiday playlist, look no further! We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite tracks to get you into the holiday spirit.

The History of Folk Christmas Music

The history of folk Christmas music is a long and varied one. Folk musicians have been playing Christmas music for centuries, and the genre has evolved considerably over time.

One of the earliest examples of folk Christmas music comes from England in the form of the traditional carol “Good King Wenceslas.” This carol dates back to the 14th century and was first published in a book of religious songs in 1582. It wasn’t until the 18th century, however, that “Good King Wenceslas” began to gain popularity as a Christmas carol.

The popularity of “Good King Wenceslas” was due in part to its message of goodwill and charity, which resonated with many people during the holiday season. The carol also became popular because it was easy to sing and had a simple melody that could be easily learned by people of all ages.

“Good King Wenceslas” wasn’t the only folk Christmas song to become popular in England. Other traditional carols such as “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and “Deck the Halls” also gained popularity during this time period. These songs were typically sung by groups of people gathered around a fire on Christmas Eve.

While English folk musicians were busy creating popular Christmas carols, their counterparts in other parts of Europe were doing likewise. In Germany, for example, Martin Luther wrote a now-famous arrangement of “Silent Night” in 1818. This arrangement helped to popularize the song outside of its native Austria and made it an international Christmas standard.

Folk Christmas music continued to evolve in the 19th and 20th centuries with new arrangements and renditions being created by musicians all over the world. Today, there are literally hundreds of different versions of traditional folk Christmas songs available for people to enjoy. Whether you prefer the original versions or more modern interpretations, there’s sure to be a folk Christmas song that you’ll enjoy listening to during this holiday season.

The Different Types of Folk Christmas Music

Folk Christmas music is a huge genre with a lot of sub-genres. In this article, we’ll be discussing the different types of folk Christmas music so you can choose the right type for your holiday playlist.

Traditional Folk

Traditional folk music is a genre of music that was passed down orally, from generation to generation. Folk songs were usually about everyday life and were simple enough that anyone could learn them and sing them. They were often about love, nature, religion, or patriotism. Some of the most popular traditional folk songs include “Scarborough Fair,” “Greensleeves,” and “Danny Boy.”

Contemporary Folk

Contemporary folk music is a genre that encompasses a wide range of styles, from traditional folk ballads to modern singer-songwriter fare. It’s the perfect genre for creating a modern Christmas playlist, as there are so many great contemporary artists making great holiday music. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Indie Folk

Indie folk is a fusion of traditional folk music and contemporary indie rock. It began in the mid-2000s with bands like Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver, who brought a new sensibility to old-fashioned sounds. Indie folk is often intimate and introspective, with soothing acoustic guitars and wistful lyrics. If you’re looking for something a little different this holiday season, give indie folk a try.

The Best Folk Christmas Albums of 2018

The end of the year is fast approaching, which means it’s time to start thinking about your holiday playlist. If you’re looking for something a little different this year, why not try some modern folk Christmas music?

There are plenty of great folk Christmas albums to choose from, but we’ve compiled a list of our favorites from 2018. From traditional carols to original songs, these albums are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

So whether you’re looking for something to sing along to in the car or just want some background music for your holiday party, be sure to check out our list of the best folk Christmas albums of 2018.

-The Head and the Heart, “Christmas in Seattle”
-Lake Street Dive, “Free Yourself Up”
-The Decemberists, “Traveling On”
-Mumford & Sons, “Delta”
– Iron & Wine, “Our Endless Numbered Days”

The Best Folk Christmas Songs of 2018

The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time to start compiling your Christmas playlist. If you’re looking for some modern folk Christmas songs to add to your rotation, we’ve got you covered.

Here are some of the best folk Christmas songs of 2018:

1. “Christmas Time is Here” by The Head and the Heart
2. “Light a Candle” by First Aid Kit
3. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Jenny Lewis
4. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” by The Paper Kites
5. “Merry Christmas From the Family” by Mount Eerie
6. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Sufjan Stevens
7. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by The Head and the Heart
8. “Silent Night” by Matt Corby
9. “Winter Winds” by Mumford & Sons
10. “Christmastime is Here Again” by The Beatles

How to Make Your Own Folk Christmas Music Playlist

When it comes to holiday music, there are a few options: You can go traditional with carols like “Silent Night” or “Joy to the World,” or get more modern with songs like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” or Wham!’s “Last Christmas.” But what if you’re looking for something in between?

That’s where folk Christmas music comes in. This genre takes the best of both worlds—the warm, nostalgic feel of classic holiday tunes and the fresh, contemporary sound of new songs—to create a sound that’s perfect for any holiday gathering.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with this guide to the best folk Christmas music for your holiday playlist. From classics like Bob Dylan’s “Christmas in the Heart” to modern favorites like Sufjan Stevens’ “Songs for Christmas,” these tracks will get you in the festive spirit in no time.


This has been a great year for modern folk music and Christmas music lovers alike. We hope you enjoyed our playlist and found some new favorite songs to help get you through the holidays. From all of us at Modern Folk Music for Your Holiday Playlist, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

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