It’s hard to explain to people why you’re not super into Christmas/the holiday season. Maybe you had a horrible Christmas one year that’s stuck with you. Maybe you lost someone important near that day (*raises hand*). Maybe your Christmas means dealing with relatives who fat shame you or otherwise make it very, very hard to smile.
That said, one of the ways I’ve gotten around what is an incredibly difficult time of year is trying to find humor along the way. While I will always hold a place in my heart for the Island of Misfit Toys, I also find horror classic Black Christmas a perfectly suitable viewing choice for the holiday season. I watch the old Frosty The Snowman and follow it with South Park’s “Woodland Critter Christmas”, because I can.
Whatever the reasons, maybe sentimental music just isn’t quite your style. Or maybe you’re just a wee bit pickier. Either way, OTM has some grand solutions for you! Here are a few of our favourite jams for December 25th that don’t make us run for cover with our hands over our ears.
OTM’s 2014 Holiday Playlist
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – U2
A staple from my childhood, you really can’t go wrong with a little old-school U2 rocking around your Christmas/Yule tree.
Christmas In Hollis – Run DMC
Another holdover from childhood, I never tire of this track. Fun, danceable and witty as hell. For me, it’s not Christmas until I’ve blasted this song at least ten times.
Give The Jew Girl Toys – Sarah Silverman
Sarah Silverman doesn’t always do it for me, but Jesus Is Magic is pretty goddamn brilliant. This song wins at life for this alone: “You have a list/Well, Schindler did too/Liam Neeson played him; Tim Allen played you!”
Christmas In Las Vegas – Richard Cheese
Richard Cheese has some spectacular lounge versions of Christmas tunes, but this little gem is my favourite. Deck the halls with poker chips, baby!
The Lights and Buzz – Jack’s Mannequin
Written after coming back from the brink of death at the hands of cancer, this celebration of being alive set against the backdrop of California sunshine warms even my heart.
Seasons Of Love – Rent
Destined to make me cry every year by the time Jesse L. Martin belts out “the way that she died!” A gorgeous song that even those who don’t enjoy musicals can appreciate for its message.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Tori Amos
Ethereal, haunting… midnight in a melody. Late night contemplation in the silence of winter.
Christmas In America – Melissa Etheridge
A casual background listen may make this sound like a typical “missing my baby” song, but it’s actually about missing a soldier overseas. I send this one out to the men and women who serve, and their families waiting for their safe return home.
All I Need Is Love – Cee Lo Green Ft. The Muppets
A relatively new addition to the playlist, this catchy tune by Cee Lo is pure music gold. The Muppets! The 60s swinging flair! Cee Lo’s delicious pipes!
Let It Snow! – The Brian Setzer Orchestra
One of my favourite versions of an oft-covered tune. It’s upbeat and bouncy and, for a minute, I can forget that it’s associated with the holiday. Best enjoyed with spiked egg nog.
What’s This? – The Nightmare Before Christmas
One of my mandatory films for both Halloween and Christmas is Tim Burton’s classic stop-motion piece The Nightmare Before Christmas. The macabre, playful lyrics of this song make it a fun playlist addition.
Have A Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
Burl Ives=childhood. I immediately see Rudolph and Frosty whenever I hear his voice. Sometimes, the classics are impossible to beat.
Frosty The Snowman – Fiona Apple
Fiona Apple singing happy music. Kinda jarring, isn’t it? Her take on this is so sassy and fun, I can’t help but dance around like the snowman in question.
One Of Those Christmas Days – Third Eye Blind
The first entry under “ridiculous songs” is this short, lewd and fun entry from the band best known for “Semi-Charmed Life”.
Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer – Poe
Already a bit of a morbid and ludicrous song, Poe’s take on it adds a strangely sultry element that’s completely out of place yet works all the same.
Christmas At Ground Zero – Weird Al Yankovic
Al’s done a few twisted Christmas songs along the way in his career. This one’s so cheery in its depiction of the world ending, you can’t help but smile. Bonus: look up “The Night Santa Went Crazy”. Hilarity will ensue.
Merry Fucking Christmas – South Park
Offensive as hell, but perfectly Mr. Garrison, this is one of my favourite Christmas bits from the series aside from the aforementioned “Woodland Critter Christmas”.
Santa’s A Fat Bitch – Insane Clown Posse
ICP is a little… special. Every once in a while though, their offensive and inane lyrics come together in a way that gets me laughing. The subtext of rich and poor and their differing experiences of a holiday drowning in commercialism is surprisingly clever.
Last Christmas – Manic Street Preachers
I love this take on the old Wham! tune. Manic Street Preachers have a whole bevvy of bad-ass covers you might not expect from them, and this one is a shining example.
Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid
This song is so…. ethnocentric and oblivious. It’s convenient that only white men get to sing the main bits, too. But it’s classic. It’s the combination of artists, the blatant “this is a charity song” feel of it that keeps me enjoying it against my will.
Winter Wonderland – Jewel
There are probably ten thousand versions of this song (slight exaggeration), but I come back to this one often. It feels retro yet not dated, if that makes sense.
Song For A Winter’s Night – Sarah McLachlan
Gorgeous, haunting and great for snuggling by the fire with hot chocolate or cider. Sarah’s voice has that soothing feel to it.