12 YA Books Paired With 12 Christmas Songs

I’m a Christmas music snob

I can’t just listen to the generic department-store music. I hand pick each song that goes into my playlist and it goes in only with a very specific reason: Maybe it’s a song that hubby grew up listening to during Christmas. Or maybe it’s the song that I discovered when knitting a stocking for my friend. Or maybe it’s what I listened to while reading Harry Potter by the fire. Or maybe it’s a song I learned on the piano as a surprise for my brother.

All that to say . . . I’m selective. This is crucial if I’m going to keep myself from hating Christmas music forevermore! (Can I get an “Amen”?) We must guard the precioussss!

So, as I was cleaning up my little Christmas list on Spotify, I thought it’d be fun to pair Christmas songs with some YA books. (Tweet this!) After all, Christmas is reading season! Books, fireplaces, cocoa, trees, snow, pine candles…

Reading at this time of year is a MUST. So allow me to give some recommendations, both to music and to bookishness.

For listening ease, I’ve created a Spotify list of the songs I’m about to mention. If you have a Spotify, then you can follow along and press play as you go through them. If you don’t have a Spotify, just click on the name of the song in each header and it will take you to a YouTube playing of the song.

Here we go!

1. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins —> Carol of the Bells by George Winston


Just . . . listen to this version. IT IS PERFECT. Melancholy, but beautiful. The version of this song makes all the difference in the world. Not just any “Carol of the Bells” will do.

I chose this song because it sounds bittersweet, with a touch of hope–which is how I felt reading the first book. (We won’t talk about the rest of the series. 😛 )

2. Doon (Carie Corp & Lorie Langdon) —> The North Star, by Fretless


Irish? Scottish? I don’t even know…but this song belongs with this book FOREVER. I’m not actually sure if it even is a technical “Christmas” song, but it’s been on my Christmas playlist for years so . . . that makes it legit. (This is my blog post. I can do what I want. 😛 )

3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer —> Hallelujah, by Lindsey Stirling



Okay, Hallelujah isn’t exactly a Christmas song either. (Oh dear, is this becoming a habit?) But I say that the instrumental version is. 😛 (Yes, that’s totally cheating.) This song just seemed to fit so well! *shrug* Judge me if you want. It’s a violin song and violins are totally Christmassy. Besides, it’s Lindsey Stirling. And I think this particular violin song has Asian undertones and it’s simply gorgeous. It goes perfectly with a Chinese cyborg fairytale book.

4. Blood of Kings Trilogy, by Jill Williamson —> O Come O Come Emmanuel, by Enya


Oh my goodness, guys. Just listen to this song. It’s so haunting and epic and promising and Blood of Kingsey!! Now I want to re-read this series. And re-buy it. And shove it in everyone’s faces. Hands down my favorite Christian fantasy series of all times.

5. Harry Potter Series, by J K Rowling —> North Pole Express, by Jon Schmidt


The song starts with a train. Was there any other option for this series? 😉

6. What Light, by Jay Asher —> Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, by Relient K


Confession: I haven’t actually read What Light yet, but after reading the blurb, drooling over the cover, and stalking its release this song is the best I can do. It’s cheery, but also has a melancholy sound which I feel captures the main character’s journey of feeling like she isn’t settled into a home anywhere. Besides, she lives on a Christmas tree farm!

7. Legends of the Woodlands by Angie Brashear —> Ding Dong Merrily on High, by Rend Collective


Rend Collective is my new favorite band. And their Christmas album is GLORIOUS. Can you really go wrong with Christian Irish boys singing folksy campfire songs?

I chose this song to pair with the Legend of the Woodlands series because it makes me think of the people dancing and celebrating in Tuveil (the invisible gemstone city.) I can totally see Laila and Lars dancing around the campfire with all their friends, smiling and laughing until far past midnight.

8. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis —> The Holly and the Ivy by George Winston


Oh, did these books squeak in to my YA books post? Oopsie daisy.

I chose this song because I think that C. S. Lewis would approve and appreciate this gorgeous piano song. It has a light and magical feel that makes me feel hopeful, which is the same for the books. They were meant to go together.

9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott —> Here We Come A Wassailing by London Philharmonic Orchestra


The only reason I picked this song (and the only reason it’s on my playlist) is because they sing it in the Little Women movie (best movie ever!) and every time I hear it I think of tromping through the snow carrying hot Christmas dishes and presents to the neighbors. In fact, last year hubby and I skipped through the snow with our gifts, singing this song, on Christmas day. Yes we did. 😀

10. Unblemished, by Sara Ella —> I Saw Three Ships, by Jon Schmidt


Why this song? Because THERE ARE SHIPS IN THESE BOOKS. (Have you seen the cover for Unraveling?) And Sara’s world building is so magical that this song just seemed to fit.

11. Storm Siren Trilogy (Mary Weber) —> God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, by Elle Zamudio


I chose this version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen for the Storm Siren Trilogy because Elle Zamudio makes me think of Nym. She’s hard core, she sings hard core, and I feel like even in wishing people tidings of comfort and joy, it’s done in a “This isn’t all sparkles and roses, people. Comfort and joy come after DOMINATING THE WAR.” It’s an intense rendering of the song. And Nym is intense and awesome and would probably be really good friends with Elle Zamudio.

12. Blades of Acktar, by Tricia Mingerink —> I Celebrate the Day by Relient K


Just makes me think of when Leith is first discovering hope and freedom through the Maker. It’s like a beautiful, humbled brokenness. No, it’s not the perfect song for this book, but it’s as close as I can get. And it makes me think of Leith Torren. 😀



What Christmas song would you pair with your favorite book? (Or any book?) I want to know!

Which of these was your favorite?




About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. GEORGE WINSTON!!!!!!!!!yaayyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Seriously, his carol of the bells is epic.

    And reliant k has the best Christmas album I have ever heard. ESPECIALLY Merry Christmas here’s to many more…and I celebrate the day (which is my favorite song in the world!!!!!!!!!! And fits Leith perfectly!)


    A time to die: Merry christmas, here’s to many more. The non Christmas song would be Love and War by fleurie

    The Methuselah project: Into the Silent Night by For King and Country

    Blades of Acktar: Hallelujah by Cloverton (check this version out! It was made into an actual Christmas song!!!!)

    • It is the only version I listen to now. Yay! So glad someone else appreciates his brilliance!

      I love your pick for A Time to Die. And now I must go listen to Love and War by fleurie. Also…THAT CLOVERTON SONG WAS AMAZING!

    • Isabella, not until this moment did I notice your reference to The Methuselah Project 3 weeks ago. This author is honored that my book came to your mind.

  2. I’d never heard of Elle Zamudio before…..OH MY WORD. Christmas music that sounds like it’s at war?? This is my kind of Christmas music. 😀 😀 😀 *listens to whole album immediately*

  3. Fun idea! Yes, and as Isabella said, there is actually a Christmas version of Hallelujah by Cloverton, it is the most beautiful thing. And Lindsey Stirling’s cover was meant for Christmas if you watch her music video. 🙂

  4. I dunno, but I wanna listen to the ones you listed!

  5. Jill Williamson

    Fun post, Nadine! I’d never heard that Enya song before. It sounded so medieval! Loved it. I also love Reliank K’s Christmas album. I Celebrate the Day is one of my favorite songs. Brad and I saw Reliant K the first year they went on tour when the lead singer wore a chicken mask on his head. It was hysterical. When we saw them the following year, they had been totally re-styled into more of a boy band. Much less nerdy fun than that first year, but they still did a great concert.

    • It was the perfect song! It made me want to re-read your series all over again. 🙂

      You saw Relient K on tour? Jealous! Ha! It sounds like a blast–right up your alley.

  6. The O Come O Come Emmanuel song is GORGEOUS wow! And I seriously have some YA reading to catch up on. I’ve only read 3 of these books/series. Ah well I wasn’t introduced to YA christian spec until I found the Out of Time series soo “Goes in search of a good song for the Out of Time series.”

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, and I love the Chronicles of Narnia pairing!! And from this list I have added several books to my to-be-read list! And I will listen to the songs as I read them 🙂

  8. I haven’t heard many of these Christmas albums, but I did follow your Spotify list!! Woot woot! Checking out those albums soon! MUST! Thanks for sharing! fun fun fun list!

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