Kate Rice


It’s December, and that means we can officially listen to Christmas music! While I enjoy lots of traditional carols, I dig the newer/lesser-known/flat-out-whack Christmas and holiday songs, too. This time of year also means I put some effort into avoiding certain overplayed Holiday tunes (Mariah Carey, I’m looking at you…) 

Here are a few songs I’ve been vibin’ with this season; mellow to metal, groovy to jazzy. Give ’em a listen and see if they fit on any of your holiday playlists!

 “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues and Kirsty Macoll

 This jaded Holiday tale with a Celtic kick has maybe THE best phrase I’ve ever heard: 

“I could have been someone”; “Well, so could anyone…”

 “Christmas in Hollis” – Run DMC

Remember the good ol’ days of MTV — aka Music TeleVision — when you could actually watch, you know, music videos…?

“Are You Burning, Little Candle?” – Jane Siberry

This Canadian Songstress has been on one playlist or another of mine since the ‘80s. Here’s a sweet holiday song that’s satisfyingly sentimental…

Are you burning, little candle?
High upon the Christmas tree
Symbol of a new beginning
Faith and hope and sweet release

“Christmas Blues” – Holly Cole

Cause not everyone thinks the holidays are swell — and Holly Cole’s smoky delivery hits…

I’m sure that you’ll forgive me

If I don’t enthuse

I guess I’ve got the Christmas blues

“Donde Esta Santa Claus?” – Los Lobos

Lookin’ for the man with the bag, with a Latin flair… 

“Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” – Bing Crosby/David Bowie

Another classic from the good ol’ days of MTV…

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” – Shadowblur

This headbangin’ instrumental version of one of my favorite Christmas songs only has 13 views on YouTube? That’s just wrong, y’all. I don’t know a thing about these folks — but it’s a fun hard take on the “carol” — check it out!

YouTube video

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” – Piano Guys

“O Come O Come” is my very favorite spiritual Christmas song. So many versions…but this one is one of the more popular — and breathtakingly beautiful — takes…

“Funky Ass Christmas” – Aloe Blacc

The name really says it all. Now go get your groove on…

YouTube video

 “O Tannenbaum” – Ekimi 

I have no idea why I bought this CD years ago — but I’m glad I did. This jazzed-up/mellowed-out version of a holiday classic still makes me happy — as does the entire Next Noel album…

YouTube video

“Silent Night” – Michelle Beauchesne

A peaceful cello rendition to end this list…

There’s plenty more where these came from — search YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and more for your seasonal songs. Don’t forget to check through old album, CD, and maybe even cassette collections to find some of the traditional Bing Crosbys or Harry Belafontes – the warm sound of vinyl really takes me back to my childhood, scratches and all! Downtown’s Sonic Rainbow is a really great resource for music you can hold in your hands. Happy listening!