Tis the season and whether you’re hard at work stringing up Christmas lights, putting holiday cards on the mantel, or just relaxing in front of the fireplace with friends and family, you’re gonna need a holiday playlist. Well, never fear, we’ve got you covered.
Of course, we’ve all got our favorite classics: Rufus Wainwright’s “Baby it’s cold outside”, Elvis’ “Blue Christmas”, and my personal favorite, Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You.” But this year, we decided to go off the beaten path a little. This holiday season, we’re celebrating the covers, the sad songs, and the downright goofy holiday songs.
- Ocean is Theory: Stocking Stuffer Back in 2011, Ocean is Theory, an Atlanta-based indie rock band, released a free Christmas EP called Conversations with Santa. The band ultimately broke up in March 2013, but you can still download their four track EP over at Pure Volume, which includes a few Christmas covers, such as Judy Garland’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
- Dropkick Murphys: The Season is Upon Us The Dropkick Murphys dropped this cheeky track in 2012, but it’s fitting for anyone reluctant about returning home for the holidays. They also have a new album out, Signed and Sealed in Blood, available on iTunes for any rock fans on your gift list. Or, just burn a copy of the single onto a CD and give it to your cranky old uncle to let him know how you really feel about the holiday spirit.
- Joni Mitchell: River Possibly one of the most depressing Christmas songs to exist, River is emotional and heart breaking. But for some of us, that’s exactly what the holidays are like. And while break ups are always unfortunate, aren’t they even worse at times of cheer and love?
- John Mayer’s St. Patrick’s Day Although not a traditional Christmas song per say, he does touch upon a sad truth of the holiday season: no one wants to be alone at Christmas time.
- The Waitresses: Christmas Wrapping Though this track is from the 80s, the sentiment is one we can all understand when caught up in the holiday rush. “So deck those halls, trim those trees/Raise up cups of Christmas cheer,/I just need to catch my breath,/Christmas by myself this year.”
- Nick Lowe: Christmas at the Airport Nick Lowe recently released a holiday album titled Quality Street and his Christmas at the Airport does not disappoint. In his music video, Lowe chronicles an elf’s attempt to fly home for Christmas, with all the usual airline dilemmas. And sound-wise, Lowe has created a song that could stand alongside the classics of yore.
- You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch I can’t help it: every single time I hear this song, I’m filled with memories of decorating the Christmas tree and baking cookies. That’s one of the wonderful things about music; it can transport you to a memory you thought you’d lost. How the Grinch Stole Christmas will always be on my list of holiday movies as well.
- Adam Sandler: The Chanukah Song Speaking of holiday movies, this next song was featured in the film Eight Crazy Nights. That’s right, put on your yarmulke because it’s time for Chanukah. Although Chanukah came early this year (lining up with Thanksgiving), we can all appreciate the amount of work that Adam Sandler put into writing not one, but three versions of this song. And lets be honest, is there any other Chanukah song that gets as much air time?
- Colbie Callait: Santa Baby Even though Colbie Callait is known for her relaxed summer songs, I absolutely love her cover of Eartha Kitt’s Santa Baby. The track comes off her holiday album Christmas in the Sand released in 2012. Check out the whole album for a mix of covers and original songs.
- The Maine: Last Christmas I’m a sucker for pop-punk and an even bigger sucker for anything related to Wham!, so when The Maine covered Last Christmas on their EP “…And a Happy New Year” back in 2008, I was sold. The EP includes originals like “Santa stole my Girlfriend” and “Ho ho hopefully.”
Have any holiday favorites we forgot? Let us know in the comments section!