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5 Easy Holiday Songs For The Uke

5 Easy Holiday Songs For The Uke

There’s no better time than the holiday season to discover how easy of an instrument the ukulele is to play. By design, holiday songs are catchy, simple and easy to learn, making them a great way for people of all ages to learn the ukulele. But learning these songs will be a blast even if you’ve been playing the ukulele for years. For your reading pleasure, we’ve handpicked five easy holiday songs to learn on the uke. We’ll give you each song’s lyrics, chords, and unique backstory. Enjoy!


“Jingle Bells” by James Lord Pierpont

“Jingle Bells” is one of the world’s most famous songs, but hardly anyone knows where it came from and who created it. As it turns out, we have a British guy named James Lord Pierpont to thank for writing this beloved holiday tune. Written in England back in 1857, the song was originally called “One Horse Open Sleigh” and was actually intended to be thought of as a Thanksgiving song, not a Christmas one. It became associated with the holiday season decades later when American choirs began adding it to their holiday repertoires.

Written in the key of C, “Jingle Bells” is one of the easiest holiday songs for the ukulele. We recommend using a simple strumming pattern for this song.


C              
Dashing through the snow
                   F
In a one horse open sleigh
                  G
O'er the fields we go
                C
Laughing all the way
C
Bells on bob tails ring
      C7       F
Making spirits bright
F                 G
What fun it is to laugh and sing
                  C
A sleighing song tonight

G   C
Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way
G7              C
Oh, what fun it is to ride
    D7             G
In a one horse open sleigh
C    
Jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way
G7              C
Oh, what fun it is to ride
    G              C
In a one-horse open sleigh

 C  
A day or two ago,
                    F
I thought I'd take a ride
                   G
And soon Miss Fanny Bright,
                C
Was seated by my side
C
The horse was lean and lank,
          C7         F
Misfortune seemed his lot
             G
We got into a drifted bank,
                  C
And then we got up-sot

G   C
Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way
G7              C
Oh, what fun it is to ride
    D7             G
In a one horse open sleigh
C    
Jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way
G7              C
Oh, what fun it is to ride
    G              C
In a one horse open sleigh  



“I’m Dreaming Of a White Christmas” by Irving Berlin

Written by Irving Berlin and sung by Bing Crosby, this gorgeous song has a bittersweet backstory. The song, which sold over a whopping 100 million copies internationally, was first performed by Bing Crosby on his NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day, 1941. The song’s nostalgic and somewhat melancholic nature struck a chord in America’s servicemen who were stationed overseas during the second world war, which made it an instant success.

Compared to “Jingle Bells,” this song’s chord progression is slightly more challenging, but it’s still a breeze to play on the uke.




          G               Am   D     D7
          I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
          C                 Am           G       
          Just like the ones I used to know
          D               G             G7
          Where the treetops glisten
                C              Am
          And children listen
            G              Em             Am      D   D7
          To hear the sleigh bells in the snow


         G                    Am   D     D7
         I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
         C            Am             G   
         With every Christmas card I write
         C         G        Em        C                 
         May your days be merry and bright
               G    Em    Am   C  D          G
         And may all your Christmas’ be white


          G               Am   D     D7
          I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
          C                 Am           G        
          Just like the ones I used to know
          D               G             G7
          Where the treetops glisten
                C              Am
          And Children listen
            G              Em             Am      D   D7
          To hear the sleigh bells in the snow


        G                  Am   D      D7
        I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
         C         Am                 G
        With every Christmas card I write
         C              G  Em          C                 
        May your dreams be merry and bright
             G      Em    Am   C    D     G    
        And may all your Christmas’ be white





“Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” by Johnny Marks


Written by songwriter Johnny Marks, the version of this song that most of us know and love was sung by Brenda Lee, who was astoundingly only 13 years old at the time of the recording in 1958. Featured in movies like Home Alone and Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer, this Christmas hit didn’t actually become popular until Brenda Lee became famous until years later in the early 1960’s. Though the song originally fit in the country music genre, we now think of it as original rock and roll music.


This song has a good amount of chords, but they’re not difficult to master. We recommend starting slow and working your way up to the speed of the recording.



[Intro] G     Em    C   D

G                                         D
Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop
D                                       G
Mistletoe hung where you can see every couple tries to stop
G                                           D
Rocking around the Christmas tree, let the Christmas spirit ring
D                                                        G
Later we'll have some pumpkin pie and we'll do some caroling

C                          Bm
You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear
Em                              A                   D
Voices singing let's be jolly, deck the halls with boughs of holly
G                                          D
Rocking around the Christmas tree, have a happy holiday
D                                                 G
Everyone dancing merrily in the new old-fashioned way

C                          Bm
You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear
Em                              A                   D
Voices singing let's be jolly, deck the halls with boughs of holly
G                                          D
Rocking around the Christmas tree, have a happy holiday
D                                                 G
Everyone dancing merrily in the new old-fashioned way
D                                  D      D    D         G   C G
Everyone dancing merrily in the new   old - fa - shioned way





“Winter Wonderland” by Richard B. Smith and Felix Bernard


Written in 1934, “Winter Wonderland” has been covered by more than 200 artists over the past seven decades. Richard B. Smith was inspired to write the lyrics for the song after seeing a park in his Pennsylvania hometown covered in snow. He was recovering from tuberculosis at the time, and the cheerful themes of the song almost seem like an escape from the pain he was experiencing. Johnny Mathis’ 1958 version of “Winter Wonderland” helped solidify the song’s place in holiday music prominence.


This song begins in the key of D and modulates to the key of F# during the chorus. Again, we recommend taking these songs slow at first before playing them at their normal speeds.


D             
Sleigh bells ring are you listening
      A             
In the lane snow is glistening
 A7        Em            A      A7
A beautiful sight we're happy tonight
Bm           A            D
Walking in a Winter Wonderland


    D             
Gone away is the blue bird
      A            
In his place is the new bird
   A7          Em         A   A7
He’s singing our song as we go along
Bm           A            D
Walking in a Winter Wonderland


Chorus:
F#            B              F#
In the meadow we can build a snowman
F#                B            F#
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
A                  D                A
He'll say Are you married We'll say No man
   A7             E                  A
But you can do the job when you're in town

   
     D
Later on we'll conspire
     A
As we dream by the fire
  A7      Em        A             A7
To face unafraid the plans that we made
Bm           A            D
Walking in a Winter Wonderland







“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Robert Lewis May


This beloved Christmas song was actually born out of tragedy and grief. Robert Lewis May came up with the concept behind “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” in 1939 on a holiday coloring book promotional assignment for the department store Montgomery Ward in Chicago. During May’s work on the assignment, his young wife was losing her battle with cancer and was bedridden, leaving the job of parenting their four year old daughter up to him alone. Taunted as a child for being shy and small, the inspiration for the Rudolph story came straight from May’s own life. May shared his idea for the coloring book with his daughter and she loved it. The coloring book proved to be a massive success for Montgomery Ward that Christmas, but May’s wife sadly died around that same time. May eventually persuaded his brother-in-law Johnny Marks to write music to the story and one of the world’s most famous and beloved Christmas songs was born.


This song will be easy to learn, memorize and play. If you’re looking for a challenge, try swinging the strumming pattern rather than playing it straight.


       C          G          C           G
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen
C         G         C          G
Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen
Em           Am
But do you recall
        A7                 D7
The most famous reindeer of all




G
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
                D
Had a very shiny nose
D
And if you ever saw it
                     G
You would even say it glows
G
All of the other reindeer
                          D
Used to laugh and call him names
D
They never let poor Rudolph
                    G
Play in any reindeer games



C              G
Then one foggy Christmas Eve
C             G
Santa came to say
D
Rudolph with your nose so bright
A7                 D7
Won't you guide my sleigh tonight




G
Then how the reindeer loved him
                        D
As they shouted out with glee
D
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
                 G
You'll go down in history







To get the most out of these songs, we recommend memorizing their chord progressions and practicing them to the slow click of a metronome. Focus on transitioning from chord to chord slowly before adding in vocals. With a little focus and work, you’ll be playing these holiday favorites in no time!

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