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Best Christmas and Holiday Songs From the 1990s: From Mariah Carey, ‘NSync, TLC, More

Mariah Carey Best Christmas Songs of the 90s
Mariah CareyGregory Pace/Shutterstock

Festive throwback! The 1990s brought Us Beanie Babies, AOL Instant Messenger, Crystal Pepsi, Clueless — and some of the catchiest holiday songs ever.

From Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” to Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song,” the ‘90s were jam-packed with holiday tunes that remain favorites more than three decades later.

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Boy bands, including the Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, Hanson and Boyz II Men released festive songs for the season that still hold up. Boyz II Men teamed up with Brian McKnight for 1993’s “Let It Snow” and in December 2020 they reunited to perform the track during a joint TV appearance.

‘NSync, for their part, dropped the Home for Christmas album in 1998. The record has endured as a holiday classic despite the band — Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Chris Kirkpatrick and Joey Fatone — going their separate ways in 2002.

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“I mean, I don’t put on the album, but if it’s on a station that I choose, I have fun with it,” Chasez exclusively told Us Weekly in December 2017. “They are fun memories for me. I don’t know how to equate it other than saying it’s a college memory.”

TLC’s holiday single, “Sleigh Ride,” was featured on the Home Alone 2: Lost in New York soundtrack in 1992, which starred Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister two years after the original film was released.

Sandler’s catchy song about Hanukkah, which originally premiered on Saturday Night Live in 1994, has been added to over the years, totaling four versions.

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“That’s a long time for one song,” the comedian told Ellen DeGeneres in December 2019, on the song’s 25th anniversary. “If there are any other Jewish people out there who want to write a new one, that’d be great. I’d love to share the Hanukkah spirit with you.”

Scroll down to flash back to the ‘90s and celebrate the holidays … retro style!

1. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (1994)

From James Corden’s epic Carpool Karaoke mashup of Carey singing her holiday classic with everyone from Adele to Selena Gomez, to New York City’s Empire State Building doing a choreographed light show to the song, all anyone wants for Christmas is to belt this 1990s hit.

2. ‘NSync’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” (1998)

The only thing better than Kirkpatrick’s dreadlocks in this video is Gary Coleman’s waterproof green outfit. Then again, there is also Santa’s autographed 8×10 photo of the band.

3. Backstreet Boys’ “Christmas Time” (1997)

Not to be confused with the Backstreet Boys’ 2012 “It’s Christmas Time Again,” the 1997 song “Christmas Time” was first released on the holiday edition of their “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” single.

4. Hanson’s “Everybody Knows The Claus” (1997)

Just six months after Hanson’s debut Middle of Nowhere, the brothers released a Christmas album, Snowed In, which included a handful of original tunes — most notably the catchy track “Everybody Knows the Claus.”

5. 98 Degrees’ “This Gift” (1999)

This sounds like, well, any other 98 Degrees ballad, except it contains Christmas words.

6. TLC’s “Sleigh Ride” (1992)

Chilli, T-Boz, and Left Eye got in the Christmas business too — with this original song featured on the Home Alone 2: Lost in New York soundtrack.

7. Amy Grant’s “Grown-Up Christmas List” (1992)

Although David Foster and Linda Thompson technically wrote the song for Natalie Cole in 1990, the ballad didn’t take off until Amy Grant added her own verse in 1992. Kelly Clarkson also paid homage to the song on an American Idol Christmas special.

8. Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song” (1994)

“When I was a kid, this time of year always made me feel a little left out because in school there were so many Christmas songs and all us Jewish kids had was the song, ‘Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel,’” Sandler lamented on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update before premiering the humorous ditty in 1994.

9. Gloria Estefan’s “Christmas Through Your Eyes” (1993)

The Latin-American songstress wrote the title track from her 1993 Christmas album with Diane Warren.

10. Carnie and Wendy Wilson’s “Hey Santa!” (1993)

This was the title track of the first album from Carnie Wilson and Wendy Wilson after Wilson Phillips went on hiatus.

11. LeAnn Rimes’ “Put A Little Holiday In Your Heart” (1997)

The ballad came from a 1997 made-for-television movie on ABC called Holiday In Your Heart, which was based on a story co-written by a then 15-year-old LeAnn Rimes.

12. Boyz II Men and Brian McKnight’s “Let It Snow” (1993)

Nice and slow snowfall: Nineties R&B royalty united for this song containing super-90s phrases like “You are my everything.”

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