13 Brazilian Christmas Carols for a Feliz Natal

While Christmas in Brazilian culture isn’t as prominent as in North America, the holidays are still an important time of year, marked by traditional feasts and gatherings with loved ones. It’s common to see Brazilians getting into the spirit, and, as with many other aspects of Brazilian culture, music is key with Christmas music on every corner!

Every country has its own rotating playlist of Christmas favorites, including both traditional and modern tunes. Although Christmas music isn’t as popular in Brazil as in other countries, there are some notable songs you’re likely to hear during the season.

Our team here at Remitly created a list of thirteen Brazilian Christmas songs for your enjoyment, whether you’re somewhere warm and sunny for the holidays this year—or wishing you were. Settle in with some snacks, and give these festive songs a listen.

Original Brazilian Christmas Carols

In addition to its own versions of traditional Christmas songs, Brazil has many original carols beloved by Brazilians in the U.S. and around the world. Here are a few we’ve included on our list.

1. “Boas Festas” — Luis Morais

Breaking away from more standard traditions of Christmas music is Luis Morais’ “Boas Festas,” or “Happy Holidays” in English. This is a reinterpretation of the 1933 composition by Assis Valente, a Brazilian music pioneer. Despite Morais’ version that removes the lyrics, the song keeps its melancholy mood, incorporated now with a jazzy twist.

Even though “Boas Festas” isn’t the most cheerful Christmas song, it’s still perfect for the season, evoking the feeling of celebrating the holiday in a warm, sunny part of the world.

2. “O Velhinho” — Joyce Moreno

Looking for something more upbeat? Moreno’s iconic Christmas track “O Velhinho” (“The Old Man”) is a Brazilian favorite. It’s a calming yet energetic carol, using the traditional sound of Brazil’s Latin jazz alongside hopeful lyrics thanking ‘the old man’ (Santa Clause) for bringing gifts to all, whether they’re rich or poor.

“O Velhinho” is an essential Brazilian Christmas song—your festa de Natal wouldn’t be complete without it!

3. “Presente De Natal” — João Gilberto

The beauty of Brazilian Christmas music is the way it includes elements of jazz and other styles to create something unique. João Gilberto’s “Presente De Natal” (“Christmas Gift”) is an iconic holiday song and a great example of this style.

With a soothing jazz instrumental and lyrics that tell the story of a special someone being the only Christmas gift you need, this is a great choice for a more laid-back, romantic Brazilian carol. Listening to it each year at Christmas time is a true holiday treat.

Brazilian Christmas Carols

4. “Papai Noel Dos Baixinhos“ — Xuxa

Next on our list is “Papai Noel Dos Baixinhos” (“Little Santa Claus”) by Brazilian superstar Xuxa. Released in 1986, this uniquely Brazilian song has all the hallmarks of the 80s and has stuck around as a Christmas classic after almost 40 years.

The lyrics focus on Santa Claus, thanking him for bringing gifts and wishing him well until next year. This is a common song to hear around the holidays in Brazil—and it’s sure to leave you with that warm sense of Christmas nostalgia.

5. “Natal das Crianças“ — Ivete Sangalo

Released in 2013, “Natal das Crianças“ is a very famous Christmas song in Brazil. Although it’s a newer tune, this song deserves a spot on the top Brazilian Christmas songs list due to its popularity and Ivete Sangalo’s beautiful, mellow voice.

The title of the classic Brazilian recording translates to “Children’s Christmas.“ Its Portuguese lyrics describe the Christmas star guiding Santa Claus’ journey to give good girls and boys presents.

Brazilian Versions of Traditional Christmas Carols

In addition to the many original Christmas compositions, Brazil has several popular renditions of songs that North Americans will be familiar with. Here are a few iconic Brazilian versions of Christmas songs.

1. “Então é Natal” — Simone

First on this list is one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time in Brazil and elsewhere. “Então é Natal,” which translates to English as “So It’s Christmas,” is performed by Simone and is first on the list of reinterpreted carols.

This song is a Brazilian reimagining of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” a popular alternative Christmas song in North America and Europe. While the English version focuses on themes of peace and political unity, Simone’s version is more about the general feeling of the holidays and the slight sadness they can sometimes bring.

As with all the songs on this list, “Então é Natal” isn’t universally praised as a Christmas classic in the large country of Brazil. However, it’s one that you’re likely to hear during the holiday season.

2. “Sino de Belém” — Sérgio Reis

For those familiar with North America’s Christmas carol tradition, this one will be familiar. That’s because Sérgio Reis’ “Sino de Belém” (“Bethlehem Bell”) is a reinterpretation of the iconic “Jingle Bells,” though with a different message than the original.

Where the original “Jingle Bells” tells the story of a fun winter night “dashing through the snow,” “Sino de Belém” is about taking someone special to pray at Christmas Mass and reflecting on the holiday’s religious origins.

3. “Bate o Sino” — Atchim e Espirro

Another reimagining of “Jingle Bells,” this song is by the Brazilian clown duo Atchim e Espirro. This version is more upbeat, happy, and festive than some other versions and is intended for children and families celebrating the holidays together.

Though this might not be the most popular song among adults, Brazilian children love it—and love to sing along.

4. “Ave Maria” — Oscar Castro – Neves and Toninho Norta

“Ave Maria“ is a well-known song in Latin America and beyond. While it doesn’t specifically tie into Christmas, it has become associated with the season due to the Brazilian version released by Oscar Castro-Neves and Toninho Norta in 1996.

The song is one of the most famous in Brazil. The traditional song about the Virgin Mary gets the perfect Brazilian twist.

A samba rhythm drives the song, while Denise Dumont, Bebel Gilberto, and Lois Albez lend their angelic voices to the melody. The song admirably mixes sleigh bells with the traditional percussion for a touch of Christmas cheer.

5. “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” — Joyce Moreno

Joyce Moreno’s take on “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town“ re-imagines the western Christmas song with a Brazilian northeastern rhythm.

Joyce treats listeners to her beautiful voice while the gentle rhythm sways in the background. Put it on at your next holiday party and set the stage for a very merry Christmas get-together.

6. “White Christmas” — Ivan Lins

“White Christmas“ brings Brazilian flavor to Irving Berlin’s 1942 classic. You can hear Ivan Lins’ longing to see snow on Christmas Day, yet the Brazilian percussion brings coconut trees and sunshine to cold winter days.

Gingerbread house

7. “Silent Night” — Dori Caymmi

Originally written in German and first performed in 1818, “Silent Night“ has been translated into dozens of languages, but the version by Dori Caymmi on “A Brasilian Christmas“ is sung in English.

The Brazilian rhythm that backs the track puts a new spin on the beloved song. Taken as a whole, this rendition of “Silent Night“ perfectly represents Christmas in Brazil, as it speaks to the country’s religious roots while still managing to reflect what makes the South American country unique.

8. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” — João Bosco

Our final song is a beautiful rendition of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.“ João Bosco’s words are sure to tug on your heartstrings as he expresses his intention to return home for the holidays. For Brazilian expats, this Portuguese translation of the song is sure to be moving.

As you can see, our list contains many unique takes on Christmas songs—it’s really worth a listen. So why not spend Christmas with it as your soundtrack?

Christmas Connections—From Anywhere

The holidays are a time to come together and enjoy the season with the people you love. Whether you celebrate with a big feast and piles of presents or keep it low-key and relax with your family, a playlist of Christmas carols from around the world brings the season to life.

If you’re in a different country than your loved ones this year, share the Christmas spirit with Remitly’s international money transfer app. Send money to Brazil quickly, easily, and inexpensively. Try it for yourself — download the app for free here.

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