I don’t remember when I started to hate Christmas music, but if I had to guess, it probably started when I first heard the broken skis variation on “Dashing Through the Snow.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Scrooge. I adore the holiday, the Christmas specials, and everything it means, but I turn into a real Grinch, if you ask me to sing “Jingle Bells.” Even though there’s nothing more that I’d love than to chuck the copies of Sounds of the Season: NBC Holiday Edition or Michael Bublé’s Christmas from my parents’ CD collection, there are a handful of Christmas songs I like, albeit most of them humorous or less traditional tracks. Therefore, I opted to find 25 Christmas songs that I actually enjoy. Here are the definitive BurgerADay Christmas jams.
- The Mountain Goats-“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
If you’re like me, you’re of the opinion that everything John Darnielle touches turns to gold, and the Mountain Goats could even make a Christmas song bearable. I only like this song when the Mountain Goats are playing it.
- Gayla Peevey-“I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas”
This song isn’t very good, but it’s goofy, annoying nature is kind of irresistible.
- John Denver-“Please, Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas”
This is a festive Christmas jam, and it’s actually pretty funny. Country songs usually aren’t that appealing to me, but more classic Country is usually pretty good. Something comical and country is good.
- The Entire First Act of Rent
You bet your sweet ass this is cheating, but it’s easy to forget that Rent, like Die Hard or Iron Man 3, is a Christmas movie and play. Even though songs like “One Song Glory” or “Santa Fe” have nothing to do with Christmas, the holiday is the backdrop. Thus, it works.
- Pansy Division-“Homo Christmas”
The queer-punk pioneers’ Christmas song is both hilarious and catchy. Plus, it’s got jabs at Morrissey, so it has so much to love. It would be great if PWR BTTM, the rulers of queer punk could cover this.
- Run D.M.C.-“Christmas In Hollis”
This hip-hop Christmas song is kind of corny, but in a fun kind of way. If you’re into that sort of thing.
- Brand New-“O Holy Night”
Leave it to Brand New to make a church song sound creepy as hell, but that’s really the best type of Christmas song ,isn’t it? Plus, you can practically hear Jesse Lacey’s Catholic guilt soaking this.
- Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles-“O Come O Come Emmanuel”
This is an acapella hymn that isn’t uncommon to hear around the Holiday, but it’s always struck me as somewhat eerie in the refrain. It’s uplifting, but this version is also a little creepy, slightly unsettling. (Note: For some of these hymns, the listed version is not available on YouTube but is on iTunes and Apple Music)
- The Pogues-“Fairytale of New York”
As an Irish New Yorker, it’s almost a sin that I’ve never heard this song prior to this year. It’s both a festive and solemn song. It’s perfect for the dysfunctional among us on Christmas.
- David Bazan-“God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman”
The former Pedro the Lion frontman’s recent Christmas album is all pretty great if you’re looking for a downer for the holiday season. This song is just a personal preference, but I really could have used any song from that album here. The minor-key slowed down takes on the songs provide a nice atmosphere for a solemn holiday.
- Fall Out Boy-“Yule Shoot Your Eye Out”
This acoustic Christmas song has Pete Wentz writing some of his best, snarkiest lyrics. Where the acoustic guitar is simple, the lines “The gifts your receiving from me will be one awkward silence/and two hopes you cry yourself to sleep waiting by the phone” are classic FOB. This is one of the best songs for when you’re feeling extra emo on Christmas.
14, St. Olaf Choral Ensembles-“Oh, Come All Ye Faithful”
It’s always a treat when a hymn is also a truly fun song, as is the case with this one. G.W. Cassler’s arrangement is strong. When you get dragged to church, hopefully they sing this song.
- Weird Al Yankovic-“The Night Santa Went Crazy”
Weird Al takes what seems like what will be a cute novelty song and twists it into a Christmas raging ode to the big-man himself.
- blink-182-“Happy Holidays, You Bastard)
Even if you prefer the slightly more serious “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas,” the “Bastard” track is truly the classic for anyone that only wraps two fucking presents.
- Trey Parker (As Mr. Garrison)-“Merry Fucking Christmas”
This song is offensive as fuck, but isn’t that why we watch South Park? This is the song to sing to the real Grinches. In fact, all of the Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics album is pretty good if you need some songs to piss off your family.
- Rob Scallion & Doug Walker (The Nostalgia Critic)-“I Fucking Love Christmas”
This humorous metal anthem is about taking Christmas to the extreme. Plus, it has Jesus on lead guitar so it’s kind of the best of both worlds for Christmas, right? Plus, I’m a sucker for a good solo.
- Frank Sinatra-“Silent Night”
Sinatra’s take on this hymn places the focus on his lead melody, but the choral aspects sound straight out of a Midnight Mass. It feels like being in a sleepy Church, and is one of the most relaxing sounds during the holiday.
- Ramones-“Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”
This song is classic Ramones. It’s as easy to sing along to as “Jingle Bells,” and if you grew up in a house with a lot of bickering around the holidays, there’s certainly something you can find in there to help you out.
- Idina Menzel & Michael Bublé-“Baby It’s Cold Outside”
Yeah, I trashed Bublé in the intro, but the Sintra-isms of Bublé mixed with Menzel’s musical theatre chops make this Christmasy duet fun. Plus, this isn’t really a Christmas song. It’s more of a fucked up, sort of seduction song.
- The Wonder Years-“Christmas at 22”
The Wonder Years have built their career on relatable lyrics, and this song is no different. “Christmas at 22” is also the only song that really makes me emotional, because it’s really an honest song about being home from college and making time to see all your college friends during the holiday break, even though your home doesn’t really feel like it.
- Dropkick Murphys-“The Season’s Upon Us”
The Boston-boys are hilarious in this song, and it’s perfect for blue collar punk fans.
- Vince Guaraldi Trio-“Christmas Time is Here”
Whether you prefer the instrumental or vocal version of this song, it’s perfect for a lazy Christmas by the fire.
- John Lennon, Yoko Ono, The Harlem Community Choir & The Plastic Ono Band-“Happy X-Mas (War is Over)”
The folky Christmas tune both captures the essence of a holiday melody, but it still stands on it’s own as a rock song. It’s also a hopeful protest song, which is sometimes what you need the most.
- Man Overboard-“Decemberism”
This song is built similarly to Fall Out Boy’s “Yule Shoot Your Eye Out,” but where Wentz’s lyrics are bitter, Man Overboard’s are much more mournful and melancholy. Zac Eisenstein and Nik Bruzzese both sound like they’re on the verge of breaking down, and I firmly believe that most of the best Christmas songs are downers.
- My Chemical Romance-“All I Want For Christmas Is You”
That being said, the best Christmas song isn’t a downer. Of all the classic Christmas songs, I like Mariah Carey’s the best, but I can’t help but enjoy it just a little bit more when it’s run through MCR’s filter. Gerard Way sings this with the same level of glee he has in “Dead!” showing that the band loves happy things just as much as death.