What Makes A Great Christmas Song? Ever since Jose Feliciano wrote and recorded "Feliz Navidad" in 1970, it has been a Christmas mainstay; nearly 40 years later, it remains one of the top 25 most-played Christmas songs around the world. Music expert Bill Adler weighs in on what makes a Christmas song successful.
NPR logo

What Makes A Great Christmas Song?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/98695311/98710810" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
What Makes A Great Christmas Song?

What Makes A Great Christmas Song?

What Makes A Great Christmas Song?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/98695311/98710810" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Ever since Jose Feliciano wrote and recorded "Feliz Navidad" in 1970, it has been a Christmas mainstay; nearly 40 years later, it remains one of the top 25 most-played Christmas songs around the world. What exactly makes a Christmas song successful?

Guitar with a red flower.
iStockphoto.com

Bill Adler is a Christmas music expert of sorts — for more than 25 years, the former music critic has been making "Christmas Jollies" mixtapes of obscure Christmas songs. Adler, who is founding director of publicity at Def Jam records, weighs in on the good, the bad ... and the utterly unlistenable.

Tell us about your favorite Christmas songs — from carols, to quirky pop hits, we want to hear from you.