Holiday Songs: Copyrighted or Public Domain?

This is an excerpt from Holiday Music: A Guide to Copyrights, Mechanical Licenses, and Christmas Songs. To download the whole PDF for free, click HERE.

When you choose which Christmas songs you want to record this holiday season, it helps to know upfront whether you’re going to need to pay a publisher for the right to record their song.

Here is a list of some top Christmas songs that ARE in the PUBLIC DOMAIN.

“Angels We Have Heard On High”

“Away In A Manger”

“Deck The Halls”

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

“Good King Wenceslas”

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

“It Came Upon The Midnight Clear”

“Jingle Bells”

“Joy To The World”

“O Come All Ye Faithful”

“O Come O Come Emmanuel”

“O Holy Night”

“O Little Town of Bethlehem”

“Silent Night”

“The First Noel”

“The Twelve Days of Christmas”

“We Wish You A Merry Christmas”

“What Child Is This”


Christmas Songs NOT in the PUBLIC DOMAIN (Writer/Composer)

“All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” (Donald Yetter Gardner)

“Do You Hear What I Hear?” (Noel Regney, Gloria Shayne Baker)

“Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie)

“A Holly Jolly Christmas” (Johnny Marks)

“Carol Of The Bells” (Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich)

“Feliz Navidad” (Jose Feliciano)

“Frosty The Snowman” (Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins)

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin)

“Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)” (Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman)

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram)

“It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” (Edward Pola, George Wyle)

“Jingle Bell Rock” (Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe)

“Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” (Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne)

“Little Drummer Boy” (Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone)

“Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” (Johnny Marks)

“Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” (Johnny Marks)

“Silver Bells” (Jay Livingston, Ray Evans)

“Sleigh Ride” (Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish)

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” (Mel Tormé, Robert Wells)

“White Christmas” (Irving Berlin)

“Winter Wonderland” (Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith)

If you decide to cover a copyrighted song, check out Limelight, a service that helps independent artists clear the rights for cover songs.

Sell your holiday song on Facebook, iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, Spotify, and more! 

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