The 50 Christmas songs you really will love (we promise)

Christmas songs don’t have to suck! From traditional favorites to obscure nuggets, we’ve got the proof right here (and it’s wearing festive antlers).

0

Comments

Add +
30

Low, “Just Like Christmas”

Behold the indie Christmas song that spawned a thousand indie Christmas songs. Before Low’s Christmas album, the holidays were, like, not cool; this 1999 gem changed that by dint of being so bewitchingly beautiful. The slow, somber track suggests Karen Carpenter backed by Phil Spector’s wall of sound. Just take a listen: Very likely your heart will melt like a snowman next to a hairdryer.—Sophie Harris

 Download on iTunes    Download on Amazon


Watch the video for “Just Like Christmas” by Low

29

Vince Guaraldi Trio, “Christmas Time Is Here”

A silky, subtle counterpart to the more upbeat “Linus and Lucy,” Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas gem might be the season’s most tasteful mood-setter—even with the voices of the Peanuts themselves crooning angelically along as they skate across a frozen cartoon pond. There’s no specific religious imagery here, but the bittersweet melody and ballad-style treatment serve as a reminder that there’s more to the holidays than face-stuffing and present-hoarding.—Hank Shteamer

 Download on iTunes    Download on Amazon


Watch the video for “Christmas Time Is Here” by Vince Guaraldi Trio

28

Dean Martin, “Let It Snow”

Inclement weather serves as an excuse for fireside snuggling and prolonged goodnight kissing in this romantic charmer, written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn in 1945 but perhaps best captured in Dean Martin’s 1959 recording. Swinging lightly through the lyrics in an insouciant bedroom purr, lubricated with liquid ls, Martin adds a hint of nice naughtiness to the equation. (Note how his “hold me tight” gets upped to “grab me tight.”) It may be cold outside, baby, but Dino’s voice will warm you right up.—Adam Feldman

 Download on iTunes    Download on Amazon


Watch the video for “Let It Snow” by Dean Martin

27

Best Coast + Wavves, “Got Something for You”

New California indie-pop It couple Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast and Wavves frontman Nathan Williams team up for a holiday tune that truly makes the hipster senses tingle with delight. Cosentino’s sultry voice and Williams’s soft backing vocals make “Got Something for You” just too darn cute to skip. Oh, and the chiming sleigh bells in the background—whether emblems of hiptastic irony or otherwise—don’t hurt the cause either.—Rachel J. Sonis

Watch the video for “Got Something for You” by Best Coast + Wavves

26

Eartha Kitt, “Santa Baby”

Before Victoria’s Secret and the slutty Kris Kringles of SantaCon, there was a time when Christmas could be genuinely sexy, as evidenced by this saucy 1953 number from cabaret tigress Eartha Kitt (described by Orson Welles as “the most exciting woman in the world” ). “Just slip a sable under the tree / for me,” coos gold-digging Eartha. “Been an awful good girl,” she adds, with delicious emphasis on the awful.—Sophie Harris

 Download on iTunes    Download on Amazon


Watch the video for “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt

25

Bobby Helms, “Jingle Bell Rock”

For a song that goads you to “jingle around the clock,” its sleepy lap-steel arrangement makes it possibly the worst choice for that endeavor. Accept no imitations (like this Hall & Oates abomination); the original is the perfect soundtrack for a postprandial nap next to the tree.—Andrew Frisicano

 Download on iTunes    Download on Amazon


Watch the video for “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms

24
Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan, “Must Be Santa”

Leave it to a Jew who famously embraced Jesus in the ’70s—re: Dylan’s current affiliation, it’s anyone’s guess—to produce the most klezmerish Christmas ode of all time, an accordion-fueled stomp that finds the bard of Hibbing, MN, cataloging the features of Old Saint Nick, 20 Questions–style. It might seem a little weird that the man responsible for immortalizing Santa’s “big, red cherry nose” in song is the same one who recently issued a 14-minute historical epic about the sinking of the Titanic. Then again, maybe it makes perfect sense.…—Hank Shteamer

 Download on iTunes    Download on Amazon


Watch the video for “Must Be Santa” by Bob Dylan

23

Bing Crosby and David Bowie, “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth”

The transgenerational meeting has generated numerous parodies over the years, and sure, there’s something weirdly off about crooner Crosby discussing Christmas traditions with Low-era Bowie (Bing’s spiritless take on modern music: “It’s marvelous, some of it really fine”). But there’s also a timelessness about the resulting collab, in which the pair interweave separate melodies while standing shoulder to shoulder.—Andrew Frisicano

 Download on iTunes    Download on Amazon


Watch the video for “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

22

Kurtis Blow, “Christmas Rappin’ ”

Selling over 400,000 copies, Kurtis Blow’s holiday single, “Christmas Rappin’,” was the first song the old-school Harlem rapper released when he got signed by powerhouse Mercury Records in 1979. Blow made history that year by becoming the first rapper ever to be picked up by a major label. But who could blame them? Even if it is a tad corny, “Christmas Rappin’ ” is undeniably catchy at its core. With a fun rhyme and a funky beat, this tune is bound to get stuck in your head, and for most people, it surely does.—Rachel J. Sonis

 Download on iTunes    Download on Amazon


Watch the video for “Christmas Rappin’ ” by Kurtis Blow

21
James Brown

James Brown, “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto”

Ever a man of the people, Brown begs the big dude in the red suit to shell out gifts to “mothers and soul brothers.” Not that the song sounds preachy or anything—more funky (duh) and perfectly suited to a fun holiday soiree. Fans of this soulful yuletide hit would do well to check out the rest of Brown’s excellent Christmas oeuvre.—Tim Lowery

 Download on Amazon


Watch the video for “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” by James Brown



Users say

0 comments

TONY Christmas Songs playlist on Spotify