Non-sucky Christmas songs to take back your ears

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Wanted: Frosty the Snowman © by kevin dooley, used under Creative Commons license.

Scenario: I’m having a holiday party and need party-music-that-sounds-cool-but-also-wintry.

Scenario: My cube-mate’s been playing Christmas tunes since Dec. 1. If I hear Mariah Carey sing All I Want for Christmas is You once more I will snap. I’d like to take over the airwaves with my own mix for a day — what’s a good list to work from?


Offbeat Home has solutions to all the scenarios — songs to stream and songs to buy that are full of jinglebells.

Albums I love

Snoopy vs. the Red Baron is still my family’s traditional Christmas record. It’s a faux radio drama telling the tale of Snoopy’s Christmas truce with the Red Baron. $9.49 on Amazon.

The Maybe This Christmas albums got me through working retail at Christmas time. Full of Death Cab and Ben Folds songs, it’s definitely not traditional holiday music.

Stream for free

Rhapsody has a fantastic playlist called Indie Winter Wonderland — and they offer a free trial, so it’s perfect for seasonal listening.

Rdio also offers a free trial. I made a playlist we can share and collaborate on. Cool, yeah? It kicks off with Thistle Hair the Christmas Bear, a totally bizarre Christmas song about a bear who gets in the holiday spirit. From there it’s got a mix of stuff I hope you will like!

If you have an Rdio account, feel free to collaborate on the playlist — and pop any suggestions you’d like into the comments.

Comments on Non-sucky Christmas songs to take back your ears

  1. Punk rock Christmas songs are so fun!!! Really, do not be turned off by the word “punk” thinking it means something, well, stereotypical. I, personally, love punk rock. I’m an original punk rock girl. But, even my Phish-lovin’ son thinks these songs are a hoot.

    And it’s all freeeeee! Every day is a new song!

  2. I got so excited by the Rhapsody link at first, thinking it was the band Rhapsody of Fire. I loves me some power metal! If you do too, try Tarja. She’s a Finnish classically-trained soprano who used to front Nightwish, a power metal group. Her first solo album, Henkäys Ikuisuudesta, has some amazing Christmas songs on it.

    • Oooo ooo! you might like Raskasta Joulua – it’s an album you can get on Amazon (although it may be something else – everything I can find on it is in Finnish). But basically it’s Finnish and traditional Christmas songs in power metal form. 🙂

  3. I’ve been wearing out a four disc compilation jazz album this year. It’s called “Baby It’s Cold Outside – Smooth Jazz for a Cozy Evening”. Featuring Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Billy Holiday, Ricky May and 30+ more, it’s great all year round but but perfect for the holidays.

    I also love “A Very Ally Christmas” – Vonda Shepard’s holiday soundtrack for Ally McBeal featuring various artists.

    I mixed songs from both of these with Beegie Adair’s Christmas Jazz album for my work holiday function and it was a hit!

  4. I vote for Bing Crosby, Mannheim Steamroller, and Trans Siberian Orchestra. Hubby and I actually get to see Mannheim in concert this Christmas, something we’ve wanted to do for years! Their music gives me chills.

  5. Enya has a lovely winter/Christmas album: And Winter Came. It’s very Enya-ish, but in a christmas/snowy way. It’s really lovely! And might be good for background music.

  6. I search out new Christmas songs each year. I build my own CD’s full of the songs I love. Occasionally I find a really amazing version of a song I used to dislike/hate ex. Sarah McLachlan’s version of “What Child is This” or “Jingle Bell Rock” by Thousand Foot Krutch. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (live action) soundtrack has some pretty fun Holiday songs. You can also search Punk Goes Christmas on Youtube and find two fan made CDs. If you are looking for more traditional fare with new flare, Reliant K’s album “Let It Snow…” is a wonderful choice. If you need anymore ideas email me, I have 6 CD mixes so far, I’m sure we can find somethings

  7. I bought this album last year and was not disappointed^^ The last “song” is creepy Phil Spector talking, but other than that it’s a pretty great oldies twist on Christmas classics~!

  8. Two additional suggestions that are hits in our household/yearly 4 hour Christmas commute between our parents houses:
    -Blind Boys of Alabama: Go Tell It on the Mountain is pretty religious, but very soulful and just unique. Very fun!
    Christmas Grass is a compilation of Blue Grass Christmas covers. It is AWESOME! Everyone I’ve played it for loves it.

  9. Slacker radio used to have a Dysfunctional Christmas station but that seems to have been replaced by Eclectic Christmas & Hipster Christmas and both are pretty great.

  10. If you’re into rock, check out “Wir warten auf’s Christkind” by “Die Roten Rosen”, which is an alias for “Die Toten Hosen”, a very well-known German punk-rock band. The album is full of rock-versions of traditional Christmas songs and carols (Little Drummer Boy, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, Ave Maria…) and some original songs (which might not be as entertaining if you don’t speak German, but oh well). I love it so much!

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