Are you on the naughty list or the nice list? If you’ve been asking yourself this question it’s a sure tell sign that the holidays have fallen upon us again! And to get you into the festive spirit, we’ve compiled a list of the best Christmas songs EVER! From old classics to new alternative tracks, we’ve mixed it up to give your eardrums a sweet sampling of all the feels during Christmastime, whether you were naughty or nice!
Chuck Berry – “Run Rudolph Run”
Kick off your holidays with this rock n’ roll Christmas classic. Chuck Berry brings his 12-bar blues melody to this 1958 recording all in honour of the most famous reindeer of all. Covered a number times by the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Billy Idol and The Grateful Dead to name a few, Berry’s version remains the holiday favourite!
Bobby Helms – “Jingle Bell Rock”
Get the familia dancing (or immediately think of “Mean Girls”) when you throw on this classic Christmas track. Known as the first mainstream Rock n’ Roll Xmas song, it’s been covered hundreds of times since 1957. Helms’ version, the OG, is the certified holiday staple.
Darlene Love – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
Darlene Love & her soulful voice take on “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” in this song from 1963. Rated as the #1 Rock n’ Roll Christmas song in Rolling Stone, nobody can match her powerful vocals. Take a sleigh ride with Love this season and baste in the golden horns & sax.
David Bowie & Bing Crosby – “Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy”
What do you get when you mix modern edge with elegant style? Bowie and Crosby delivering one of the most successful duets in Christmas music history. Created for Crosby’s final Merrie Olde Christmas TV special, the two were able to refashion the 1941 classic “Little Drummer Boy” by adding “Peace on Earth” as a medley sung by Bowie. Generations united and tradition was changed during Christmastime in 1977.
Bob Dylan – “Must be Santa”
Recorded for his 2009 album, “Christmas in the Heart,” Must Be Santa serves up Dylan like you’ve never heard him before. Based on a German drinking song, this tune is guaranteed to turn up any Christmas party. The glee, the polka, the cheering – you will want to learn the words fast so you can join along in the rowdy cheer.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Christmas All Over Again”
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers make great music, and this Christmas song is no exception. Recorded in 1992 to raise money for The Special Olympics, this song serves as a reminder of what’s important around the holiday season: giving back. Petty ends the song fittingly with his xmas wish list, including a Rickenbacker guitar and a Chuck Berry songbook. Crank this one up to 11!
Bruce Springsteen – “Merry Christmas Baby”
Any Christmas song list wouldn’t be complete without The Boss! Serving up sleigh bells, horns, the entire E-Street band and deep, raspy vocals, this song feels like unwrapping a present on Christmas morning. This song was written in 1947 and covered by numerous artists, but it wasn’t perfected until Springsteen had his go at it in 1987 at the height of his popularity.
The Waitresses – “Christmas Wrapping”
Catch Christmas fever with The Waitresses this year with one of the greatest holiday hits of the past 50 years. It’s a cheerful yet bittersweet song reminding us that things manage to sometimes work out in the end to our surprise. Leave your bah humbugs at the door and semi-rap along with this new wave hit.
The Pogues – “Fairytale of New York”
This is not your classic Christmas tale. At first you’re serenaded with sweet lines to warm your heart, but quickly the story takes a turn for the worst and you’re left in the middle of a Christmastime breakup. The glory and the angst make this a powerful holiday anthem! It’s also noted as one of the best Christmas songs ever according to many UK publications.
The Killers – “Don’t Shoot Me Santa”
The Killers have released a Christmas song once a year for the last 10 years! “Don’t Shoot me Santa” was released in 2007 with a portion of the money raised going to Bono’s (RED) foundation. Serving up that classic Killers style with a Christmas twist, anyone not into the traditional festive sound will appreciate this track. With lyrics like “I’ve got a bullet in my gun” this holiday hit is a little dark.
The Raveonettes – “The Christmas Song”
Roll out the red carpet; this song needs to be honoured. Srsly. It’s a beautiful gem and all you need to do is press play and enjoy the soothing sounds of this Danish duo. The Raveonettes combine 50s rock n’ roll with tenderness, darling enough to sweeten up any Grinch this Christmas.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “All I Want for Christmas”
This isn’t your fan-fave Mariah Carey song. This is a slowdown, dream-like love song with a sweet yearning for yuletide affection. What do the Yeah Yeah Yeahs want for Christmas? Kisses & cheer. Put this on your holiday playlist because it will be the perfect pairing for a snowy Christmastime day.
Death Cab for Cutie – “Christmas Baby Please Come Home”
One serving of Ben Gibbard singing his Christmas blues please. Yes, Mr. Gibbard brought his DCFC sound to the holidays, and it’s sad and delicate. Part of a compilation album released in 2004, Maybe This Christmas Tree, it’s the complete opposite of what you get when you listen to Darlene Love’s original version.
The xx – “Last Christmas”
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to romanticize WHAM’s Last Christmas? Well The xx provides with this sultry, festive cover. The xx take the pop element and bring it into this century with a dream element. This is WHAM updated.
Sufjan Stevens – “O Holy Night”
Sufjan sure loves holiday harmonies. So much so, he’s recorded and released over 100 Christmas songs. From originals to covers it was hard to pick just one favourite for the list. A classic like “O Holy Night” can be appreciated by the young and old. Plus he brings an unconventional staccato banjo sound to a song written in 1847. Rejoice!
The Shins – “Wonderful Christmastime”
The Shins bring their Indie rock croon to this longtime Christmas fave. With not much restructuring to Paul McCartney’s original version, this song became the most played tune of the holiday season last year, according to PlayNetwork. Even ousting Mariah from the #1 spot which she held since 1994.
Pearl Jam – “Someday at Christmas”
It’s 99 percent likely your favourite band has a Christmas song. Pearl Jam released this one in 2004 specifically for their fan club members. Sit back, relax and let Eddie Vedder serenade you this holiday season.
The Lumineers – “Blue Christmas”
The newest Christmas song delivered to indie rock music fans this year is courtesy of The Lumineers! Taking Elvis’ 1964 “Blue Christmas” and sombering it down, The Lumineers serve up a sulky lullaby that is surely to become a classic holiday offering.
What’s on your holiday playlist?