The Best of Indie Christmas Songs

Our favourite indie artists are feeling the holiday spirit

Contrary to popular belief, Christmas music is more than George Michael, Band-Aid, and Mariah Carey. Let these indie musicians serenade you at this time of year.

Arcade Fire – “Jingle Bell Rock”
Some of the guys in Arcade Fire recorded a few Christmas songs at a party in 2001 and gave it out as Christmas present for friends. They were leaked, and holiday cheer pandemonium ensued.

The Ramones – “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”
This track was first released as a B-side in 1987 to “I Wanna Live”. Interestingly, the song never charted when it was originally released, but gained attention only after The Ramones were no more.

The Killers – “Don’t Shoot Me Santa”
The second Killers Christmas track was recorded in 2007 as a digital track. Some of the proceeds went to the AIDS Foundation as part of Bono and Bobby Shriver’s (PRODUCT) campaign. Japanese Vogue says the video was produced and edited by Criminal Minds star Matthew Gray Gubler. And, it features Brandon Flowers in a Christmas sweater.

The White Stripes – “Candy Cane Children”
A rare treat from legendary rock band The White Stripes, “Candy Cane Children” was released in late 2002, but was featured on their 1998 holiday themed-compilation. It can also be found on a 7″ vinyl.

Julian Casablancas – “I Wish It Was Christmas Today”
The Strokes frontman also recorded this song as part of an SNL skit in 2011, but the original offers a humorously cynical outlook on “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Bright Eyes – “Blue Christmas”
Proceeds from Bright Eyes’ 2002 A Christmas Album went to the Nebraska AIDS Project, and “Blue Christmas” was featured in an episode of the teenage cult show, The O.C. The album was originally released only digitally, but saw a vinyl release in 2009.

The Kinks – “Father Christmas”
This 1977 track has been covered countless times, and was featured in commercials for the 2006 film Unaccompanied Minors. It tells the tale of a department store Father Christmas who is beaten up by poor children, asking him for money instead of toys.

Fitz & The Tantrums – “Santa Stole My Lady”
Released as half of a digital/vinyl EP of the same name, “Santa Stole My Lady” was released at the end of November 2010. It’s a magical, holiday take on Fitz & The Tantrums’ jazzy sound.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “All I Want For Christmas”
Back when Myspace was cool, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were feeling so Christmassy that they released their single online for free. When they posted it, they dedicated it to all of the people they love. Talk about holiday spirit.

Death Cab For Cutie – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
As part of the 2004 Christmas compilation Maybe This Christmas Tree, Death Cab for Cutie recorded this Christmas classic written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry.

She & Him – “Baby, Its Cold Outside”
This track from A Very She & Him Christmas was released in 2011, but was re-released a year later with an adorable retro-cartoon video starring animated versions of duo Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.