Well-known English-language Christmas carols

This is a list of well-known Christmas carols which are free-to-use (ie public domain or copyright-free) meaning the words can be copied and sung, to at least one tune, with no concerns about copyright or performance licensing.

"Well-known" is a very subjective:   this list has been compiled by scanning Christmas lists published on the internet by various parishes in the English-speaking world, and choosing the carols which appear across multiple parishes and countries.

Adeste Fideles / O Come all ye Faithful

Angels We Have Heard on High

Away in a Manger

Go Tell it on the Mountain

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

Joy to The World

O Little Town of Bethlehem

O Holy Night

Once in Royal David's City

Silent Night

The First Nowell

The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy

What Child is This

Are there other carols that are so well-known that they should be on this list?   Or ones that you think aren't well-known and don't be long here?    Please leave a message in the Comments section at the bottom of the page.

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  1. God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
    of The Father’s Love Begotten
    See Amid The Winter’s Snow
    On Christmas Night All Christians Sing
    While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night
    Mary’s Boy Child

    These are well known in the UK. I cannot comment on those known better in the US
    Thanks for doing all this work to give us ideas for hymns suitable for the liturgy, so helpful! Have a Blessed Christmas!

    1. Thank you Dr Jenny, your suggestions are most welcome. fyi, Mary's Boy Child is not public domain, though it sounds old, it was actually written for a Hollywood choir in 1956. There's more information about it here.


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