Koe Wetzel/ Ron Davis/Getty Images/AnneMarieFox/Amazon Prime
If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I love a sad country song anytime of the year.
Even during the holidays, I simply cannot get enough.
So instead turning to some of my usual sad country songs that I can always count on to make me happy all year round, I’ve been spinning a few of the best sad country Christmas songs here lately.
It’s hard to find really good, high quality sad country Christmas songs, but I’ve managed to narrow down 10 of my favorites in case you wanna have a blue Christmas this year… or have heard “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” one too many times.
For a lot of people, this is a beautiful time to reconnect with friends and family, and while I’m not saying you should walk around feeling sad during the holiday season, I think we all have moments where we feel sad for any given personal reason, and these songs will certainly help you feel a little less alone.
Merry Christmas, y’all. Let’s get into it…
“Hard Candy Christmas” — Dolly Parton
This tune was famously included in the soundtrack for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and was actually written by Carol Hall and not Dolly Parton.
It peaked in the Top 10 on the country charts and has been certified Gold by the RIAA, and is right in Dolly’s wheelhouse, as she sings about a time when families could only afford to buy their children hard candy as a Christmas present, pretty similar to her own upbringing in rural east Tennessee.
“Christmas Makes Me Cry” — Kacey Musgraves
A truly stellar modern, original Christmas song, Kacey included “Christmas Makes Me Cry” on her 2016 A Very Kacey Christmas.
It was co-written by her along with Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark, where she details how, even though it’s supposed to be the most wonderful tome of year, it makes her feel blue as she realizes another year has gone by and not everything is all sunshine and rainbows.
“Lonely Christmas Call” — George Jones
Released in 1962, “Lonely Christmas Call” tells the heartbreaking story of a husband who just wants his wife to come back for the holidays and spend it with their kids.
It’s not clear if she up and left or if the couple got divorced, but it’s a heartbreaking Christmas song, no doubt about it. Not that it comes a surprise, because sad songs are obviously a George Jones specialty:
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” — Elvis Presley
The song was first written by lyricist Kim Gannon and composer Walter Kent and recorded in 1943 by Bing Crosby, who made it very popular and scored a top 10 hit with it.
Honestly, there’s no feeling worse than wanting to be home for the holiday’s and the homesick feeling that comes along with not being able to be there with friends and family for whatever reason. Hearing it always makes me feel so nostalgic and teary-eyed…
And while this might not technically be a country song, Elvis is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, so I say it counts in my book for the purposes of this list. There’s just something extra melancholy about the way Elvis sings it, and it was included as part of the tracklist for his 1957 Elvis’ Christmas Album.
“White Christmas” — George Strait
I guess this one isn’t necessarily a stone cold country heartbreaker like some of the others here, but there’s a certain wistful nostalgia to it that always makes me feel a little bit sad.
George Strait included his rendition of “White Christmas” on his 1986 Merry Christmas Strait to You! album, which has since been certified double platinum by the RIAA.
“It Won’t Be The Same This Year” — Vince Gill
This might be the saddest one on the whole list. Vince included “It Won’t Be The Same This Year” on his Let There Be Peace on Earth holiday album, which he dedicated to his half-brother, Bob.
Bob was in a severe car crash at the age of 22, when Vince was only 11, and suffered severe brain damage as a result. He continued to struggle for the rest of his life, ultimately losing contact with his family, and as Vince sings, “it won’t be the same this year” without him, as Bob passed away in 1993.
If you’re missing a loved on this Christmas, definitely give this song a spin:
“If We Make It Through December” — Merle Haggard
An all-time great Merle Haggard song, this solo write became one of the beloved and signature songs of his career, and peaked at #1 on the U.S. Hot Country Songs chart.
“If We Make It Through December” was the lead single for his 1973 album Merle Haggard’s Christmas Present, and became the the title track to a non-Christmas album four months later.
“Blue Christmas” — Loretta Lynn
The late, great Loretta Lynn included her version of “Blue Christmas” on her 1966 eighth solo studio album and first Christmas album, Country Christmas.
It’s definitely a bit more upbeat than the others on this list, but Mrs. Loretta certainly nailed her version of the song Elvis first made famous.
“Pretty Paper” — Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson penned this one based entirely on an incredible and true story, but it was first made famous by Roy Orbison, when his version peaked at #15 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Willie later recorded his own version of the song in 1964, and again in 1979, for his own Christmas album.
It’s become a Christmas standard, and is easily one of my favorites to listen to this time of year.
“Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)” — John Denver
Written by Bill and Taffy Danoff, “Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)” was originally recorded by the late John Denver and included on his 1975 Rocky Mountain Christmas album, after it was initially on his Farewell Andromeda record.
The narrator begs his dad not to get drunk on Christmas so his mom doesn’t cry. I guess it could be seen as more light-hearted and funny in a certain way, depending on how you want to look at it, but the beautiful thing about music is that it’s up for interpretation.
In my opinion, if your mama’s cryin’ on Christmas, that’s pretty damn sad…
“Please Come Home For Christmas” — Koe Wetzel
Our most recently-released song on this list, Koe Wetzel included it on his Christmas EPKoe Wetzel Presents… Wetzel’s Wonderland, and I thought it was the easy standout from my very first listen of the project.
“Please Come Home for Christmas” was written in 1960 by Charles Brown and Gene Redd, and released the same year by Brown. It peaked at just #76 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, but has become a classic over the years.
Koe’s reimagined version definitely has a lot of his signature Texas flair, and I think his voice sounds absolutely fantastic here. Definitely check it out if you haven’t yet, it’s one of the best covers of this song I’ve ever heard:
That’ll do it for my list, what are some of your favorite sad country Christmas songs?