Tis the season for an endless amount of Christmas songs to be played. It seems Christmas music starts being played earlier and earlier every year too. This year some stores started playing Christmas carols before Halloween even ended. Sometimes that can mean too much of a good thing where people end up sick of hearing Christmas music fairly quickly. But for most people, myself included, there are a handful of Christmas songs that remain the exception to that rule.
Below are some personal favorites that include lesser known tunes, some popular favorites and some untraditional but fun Christmas songs. But there should be something to fit everyone’s mood this holiday season and hopefully bring a little joy to everyone’s world. But Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! These are just personal favorites so please feel free to leave your personal favorites in the comments section below too. To hear each song simply click on the highlighted song titles and there is a link at the end of almost all the songs to purchase each song too. But have fun rocking around the Christmas tree!
1) “Christmas and Me Are Through” by Your Vegas: The song and the band may not be instantly recognizable, but this talented quintet from England are definitely a band to watch and this song is a perfect example of why. The song is a tale of a man who’s heartbroken at the holidays. and while the song starts off with “Laugh a little louder, sing a little prouder…” it soon takes a melancholy turn with lyrics like “Santa Claus, Santa Claus, there’s no Christmas here anymore.” With imagery of eating cold turkey from the microwave it’s a heart wrenching tale of a someone hurt and abandoned who in turn abandons the holiday. But much like Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas,” Your Vegas has created one of the most achingly beautiful Christmas songs about heartache ever created.
During parts of the song front man Coyle Girelli’s distinctive, stunning voice is reminiscent of famous crooners like Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison especially when the song hits one breathtaking crescendo at the end of the song (in the form of a very powerful “me.”) If the song sounds familiar to some it’s likely because it was featured in a previous holiday episode of the NBC show Chuck. But download this unforgettable Christmas song because it’s a must have on any Christmas playlist. Also keep an eye out for this up-and-coming band in 2011 because they seem poised to do big things with the release of their sophomore CD Borderland. Buy “Christmas and Me Are Through” HERE.
2) “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley: While this song does tend to get a fair amount of airplay it still remains one of those timeless classics that never seems to grows old. Elvis was “the King” in many ways including turning heartbreak into beautiful tunes and “Blue Christmas” illustrates that perfectly. No matter how many people cover this song it will never come close to the original. This is the song that truly set the standard for songs about missing loved ones during the holiday season. This instantly recognizable tune is one of those popular songs that it is pretty much impossible to dislike. Even despite having lyrics like “And when those blue snowflakes start falling that’s when those blue memories start calling, you’ll be doing alright with your Christmas of white but I’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas.” it’s never depressing or a downer and always a welcome addition to any Christmas playlist. All hail The King for making feeling blue at the holiday not only ok but turning it into one absolutely amazing Christmas song. Buy the song HERE.
3) “Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon: Once again yes this song does get played a bit but it is still truly defines the word timeless, especially when America is still in a time of war. Lennon of course created some of most legendary and enduring songs and this song ranks up there with “Imagine” and “Instant Karma” as one of his best creations. Both the song and it’s message are equally beautiful. This song remains one of the best and most brilliant Christmas songs ever made. While a lot of Christmas songs talk about peace on earth and goodwill to men, with every note and word of this song it truly sounds like a sincere wish and it really feels possible. So thank you to the late, great John Lennon for sharing all of his musical gifts with the world including the flawless “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” Buy the song HERE.
4) “O Holy Night”: This very traditional Christmas song is great when done by pretty much anyone. It’s truly such a beautiful song and a timeless classic. Quite honestly it’s really hard to make this poweful song sound bad and can truly stop people in their tracks if done right. While there are so many gorgeous, unique versions of “O Holy NIght” here are a few versions that are personal favorites: Josh Groban’s haunting version (listen HERE), the heavenly version done by Celtic Women (listen HERE ) and for a good laugh try this hilarious version done by Cartman from South Park (listen HERE).
5) “The Christmas Song” by The Raveonettes: No this isn’t “The Christmas Song” most are probably thinking of that starts with “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” This is an original composition by the Danish duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo. This has the same heavy but haunting sound of the Raveonettes which is sort of similar to a mix of Jesus and Mary Chain with a little bit of the Everly Brothers, 60s surf rock and 50s doowop influence thrown in. Simply put both The Raveonettes sound and this song is mesmerizing. With the seamless interweaving of sultry female and male vocals this is one of the best and most underappreciated Christmas songs ever made. There’s just something about this song that’s a bit romantic and will have anyone wanting to curl up with the one they love by a roaring fire. Buy the song HERE.
6) “Pretty Paper” by Roy Orbison: Roy Orbison made a career of producing strikingly gorgeous songs about loneliness and heartbreak. But “Pretty Paper” turns wrapping paper and Christmas decorations into a profound song about a homeless man being ignored by people as they continue on with their holiday preparations. “Pretty Paper” with imagery of “ribbons of blue” is a somber song and much like most of Orbison’s songs it’s melancholy but unforgettable. The song actually wasn’t penned by Orbison but by Willie Nelson when he was known more songwriting then singing. With the flawless and extraordinary voice of “the Big O” and affective metaphor filled words it is a truly one underrated Christmas song. So at this holiday season take a lesson from this masterpiece by Roy Orbison and don’t overlook those who need help during a season. Because after all isn’t the spirit of the holiday season supposed to be about giving? Buy the song HERE.
7) “Father Christmas” by The Kinks: Ray Davies sure made one catchy bummer of a song about St. Nick (yes Father Christmas is what Santa’s called in the UK) It’s naughty because of the lyrics and threatening to steal from Father Christmas in the song. The song is really about a man who plays Father Christmas outside of a department store and he gets mugged by a group of children who say: “Father Christmas, give us some money, we got no time for your silly toys, we’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over, we want your bread, so don’t make us annoyed, give all the toys to the little rich boys.” While the words are a bit depressing at times and this may be the only Christmas song to ever mention violence against Santa it is quite upbeat and a holiday classic with a great message behind it. Because it ends with an important disclaimer in “Have yourself a merry, merry Christmas, have yourself a good time. But remember the kids who got nothing while you’re drinking down your wine.” Ray Davies and company made one masterpiece of a song with this one. Buy the song HERE.
8) “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by U2: Christmas sadly can be the time of year where people get a bit of the winter blues, one of the biggest reasons as illustrated is missing someone. While this song was originally done by Darlene Love the cover by U2 is the most recognizable and perhaps best version of the song. Done during the Joshua Tree era this is one Christmas song that still can be played a billion times but never becomes annoying or played out. The combo of Bono’s voice in its prime and the rock n roll beat make missing someone a bit more lively and upbeat. Also for an added bonus check out the Christmas song U2 released on World AIDS Day in 2008 for The (RED) Campaign. The song “I Believe In Father Christmas” is a cover originally done by Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The fresh, modernized version of this song about being hopeful and trying to believe in Father Christmas will hopefully make it more mainstream. With the signature U2 sound and thought-provoking words this hopefully will become as much a classic as the aforementioned popular U2 Christmas tune. So check out U2’s “I Believe In Father Christmas,” another U2 Christmas masterpiece made for a very good cause. To buy “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” go HERE.
9) “Closing of The Year” by Wendy and Lisa (From the movie Toys): Love or hate the Barry Levinson movie Toys one thing can’t be argued with is that singers Wendy and Lisa sure created one awe-inspiring Christmas song. The combination of breathtaking female vocals, the addition of a children’s choir and even singer Seal makes this one of the most lively and amazing holiday songs out there. It may not be a straight up Christmas song but still will put everyone in the Christmas spirit. It has very traditional words and the song has almost a magical feel to it. This song really deserves a whole lot more airplay then it gets and will make the closing of the year even more festive and fun. To purchase the TOYS soundtrack go HERE.
10) “2,000 Miles” by The Pretenders : Most people know the music of the talented band The Pretenders but their song “2,000 Miles” is far from just another tale about wanting someone home for Christmas. This longing, tender song is more like of the band’s sweet ballads like “I’ll Stand By You” as opposed to more rocking songs like “Brass In Pocket.” But it is a classic and once again this song has been covered by a lot of people but nothing can top hearing Chrissie Hynde’s immortal voice every year singing “It must be Christmas time.” This is one of those songs that gets played on a few stations but never truly gets the recognition it deserves. Buy the song HERE.
11) “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses: Leave it to the creators of the 80s tune “I Know What Boys Like” to come up with a Christmas song that starts off a bit bitter but ends sweet. With lightning fast, almost spoken word lyrics like “Merry Christmas but I think I’ll miss this one this year.” It also offers up an insistence that this Christmas will be spent alone for our heroine after many failed attempts of meeting up with the guy of her dreams. But by the ending after a chance encounter at the grocery store it ends with a “Merry Christmas couldn’t miss this one this year!” It may be from the 80s but still is just as awesome as when it was created. Buy the song HERE.
12) “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt: Yes this song is covered a lot and can be a bit overplayed but it is ridiculously catchy. It’s also refreshingly different song in the fact that it sounds like it belongs on naughty list more so then the nice list. It’s a little bit seductive and sassy and has lyrics that would make any diva happy due to asking Santa for things like diamond rings and other expensive swag. It’s a playful classic and nobody sings it better then the legendary Eartha Kitt. But also check out this awesome version done by Kylie Minogue too (listen HERE). Buy the Eartha Kitt version HERE.
13) “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid (assorted artists): The song which features a who’s who of 80s artists alot who are still going strong like Bono, Phil Collins, Sting and Simon LeBon is being discovered by a whole new generation of fans and still remains one of the best Christmas songs ever done. Maybe it’s the intermingling of the beautiful voices of the different singers, maybe it’s the message or maybe it’s because it’s simply a gorgeous song. Whatever the reason a lot of great Christmas songs came from the 80s and this is one of the best. The Band Aid supergroup was the brainchild of Bob Geldof who created the song to raise money and awareness of famine in Africa. With a message of feeding the world the song gets bonus points for really singing about the message of giving and thinking of others during the holidays. Sorry could not find a link to buy this song.
14) “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” from How The Grinch Stole Christmas: This song not only is part of a beloved holiday movie classic but is perhaps one of the most enjoyable songs ever created. The lyrics describe the miserable main character with a heart two sizes too small before of course he succumbs to the charms of the adorable Cindy Lou Who. But even despite the lyrics that include “You’re a vile one Mr. Grinch, You have termites in your smile You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile Mr. Grinch.” it’s definitely a upbeat song. But it’s definitely one of the most fun Christmas songs to sing. Much like the movie the song is a classic and this song should put a smile on the faces of even the most grinchiest of Grinches this holiday season. Buy the song HERE.
“Making Christmas” from The Nightmare Before Christmas: OK when most people think of this Tim Burton cult classic it usually brings up images of Halloween. But at its heart the movie was a Christmas movie. “Making Christmas” is all about the people of Halloweentown trying to figure out a way to make Christmas happen in their town. It’s very catchy and probably a bit more Christmasey then say “Kidnap The Sandy Claws” also from the movie but this fun, darker song definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.
“The Chipmunk Song” by The Chipmunks: Yes their high pitched voices can get annoying but this is one of those guilty pleasure Christmas songs that so many people like but won’t admit to it. It is fun and should make every adult feel like a kid again wanting toys at Christmas and it makes singing “Me I want a hula hoop.“ way too enjoyable.