In Which We Rank The Christmas Songs That Don’t Suck

The Maestro
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There’s a ton of shitty Christmas music out there. Of course, some might argue that it’s in perfect proportion to the amount of shitty music that’s out in the rest of the year, but the tricky thing about music for the holiday season is that even if a song is good, if you hear it 937 times in a three-week span, chances are you’re gonna start hating it anyhow. So I would say that there’s an even finer line to be walked between good and shitty when it comes to listening at this time of year.

That said, there’s a ton of really, really, good music out for Christmas… I’ll pitch three of my own selections here, but let’s get the ball rolling on your picks below in the comments as well!

First off, a bunch of people pitched this one when we started our initial conversation in the secret DFOverlords lair. I think what makes this so endearing for me every time is that they got Clarence Clemons to do all the low “Ho Ho Ho”s in the background… It’s hilarious and awesome quite honestly. So for choice number one… Bruce Springsteen’s cover of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town”.

Next on my list is my all-time favorite Christmas album, Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack from A Charlie Brown Christmas Carol. I feel like this one is also gonna be a widespread one – it’s also celebrating its 50th birthday this year! The guy is just an absolute genius. I got a book of the piano transcriptions a few years ago as a present and I love pulling it out every holiday season to just get my ass kicked right and left by it – he was an absolute monster player and my piano abilities pale in comparison.

Finally, because I am a NEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRDDDDD (and because my username does indeed hold very specific meaning to me) I have to pick Handel’s Messiah. There’s a reason it’s lasted as long as it had in the canon of Baroque and classical music. Handel was one of the most brilliant composers the world has ever known and his music just fills me up with wonder and awe at how he managed to put together such a masterpiece. The Hallelujah Chorus, in particular, is probably the best-known bit of this piece and it’s him at his most bombastic. So if you feel a need for the Holy Spirit to enter ya, give this a go.

So let’s hear it! There’s lots of good stuff out there.

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The Maestro
The Maestro
The Maestro is a mystical Canadian internet user and New England Patriots fan; when the weather is cooperative and the TV signal at his igloo is strong enough, he enjoys watching the NFL, the Ottawa Senators & REDBLACKS, and yelling into the abyss on Twitter. He is somehow allowed to teach music to high school students when he isn't in a blind rage about sports, and is also a known connoisseur of cheap beers across the Great White North.
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A little late to the party, but I have to add the ultimate Texas Christmas song.


I don’t think the embed worked so I’ll try it here.

Porky Prime

I agree with Lothar, though I dont go back 50 years. The only good Christmas albums released since in the past 20 years can be counted on one finger: Josh Groban. The guy just gets it; voice of a manly angel.

Michael Buble can go jump in a pile of his burning CDs. Even calling him Sinatra-lite is insulting. Buble isn’t even Harry Connick Jr.-lite.

So my 3 picks…
Have A Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) – Nat “King” Cole
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Bing Crosby or Karen Carpenter, both acceptable.

Also, I associate “Snowbird” by Anne Murray very much with Christmas; it may be part of my first real vivid memories of the one Christmas my family spent in a big mountain cabin. I had just turned two. But I remember lots of family, a balcony, and the Sesame Street playset I got. And “Snowbird.”

There’s also a Christmas album I’ve been trying to track down for years. It’s an a cappella children’s choir from probably late 60s/early 70s, and I dont know what dad did with it before he died. But there’s a version of Good King Wenceslas that’s been stuck in my head for 30 years and for the life of me I can’t find it.

Don T

Everclear “I will be hating you for Christmas”. If I get divorced, this will be my holiday ringtone.

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van

Lothar of the Hill People

Another cover of a Christmas song, for all you Dokken/George Lynch fans. Santa Claus is Coming to Town:

Sounds less like a Christmas song and more like one of their regular songs that they put the Santa Claus lyrics on top of.

Lothar of the Hill People

Listening to it again, it sounds like “Dream Warriors” re-done slightly. Interesting choice.

Marc Trestmans Windowless Van
Lothar of the Hill People

Gary Hoey did a good job electrifying a lot of Christmas songs. For example, The Twelve Days of Christmas:

Carol of the Bells:

His version of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is really good, too:


About six years ago Blondie released a version of We three kings.

I just heard it a couple of weeks ago for the first time, so I don’t know if it can stand up but, I nominate that as the official Moosemas song.

For sort of traditional songs I’ve always been partial to Silver Bells.
And if you’re stuck playing in a High School band(good one) or listening to one, Sleigh Ride is probably your best option.

Nothing is better than a good Messiah, as Maestro said, but the music the greats made in honor of their Christian God is always so spectacular, Bach’s Chorals etc.


I went through this in tonight’s open thread, but my list went like so until Scotchy posted that LOW song earlier; until I revise it, here’s my top five XMess Songs:

1. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues & Kirsty McColl (the first line alone grants the song inclusion in the list, the rest of it cements its top spot)
2. Christmas in Prison – John Prine (she’s sweeter than saccharine in a drug store sale? Come ON, man. Song’s fuckin great)
3. Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC (this high due largely to sentimental reasons)
4. Little Drummer Boy – David Bowie & Bing Crosby (Bowie could do a duet with a fucking squeaky shopping cart and make it sound good; adding in Bing makes both of them sound better)
5. Christmas Song – Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds (any Christmas song with “the blood of our children’s all around” is simultaneously awesome and disturbing)

That LOW song is damn fine, and after a few more rounds, will probably get added somewhere in the 3-5 range. There are probably more, and plenty of things I’m not properly associating with the season, but this is a good start.


John Prine is a goddamn amazing songwriter.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

This might be a little too christmassy:

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh


No love for “Christmas in Hollis”?


It’s delightful.

The Right Reverend Electric Mayhem

I got bored halfway through. Which shouldn’t happen during a tribute to my fourth favorite alcohol.


Any love for Band Aid? It’s actually not bad, IMO.

Senor Weaselo

I’m a fan of ELP, so I’ve gotta throw this in.


Also this and this version.


A wise man once said:

Christmas, Baby Please Come Home by Darlene Love.
I concur.


This one too.

Buddy Cole's Halftime Show!

The Mattoid, “The Christmas Time”, because I am demented.

The Kinks’ “Father Christmas”

Mariah Carey, “All I Want for Christmas is You”, the song’s all right, but I watch the video in August because damn, she looks good in it.

Also, “A Twisted Christmas” by Twisted Sister is awesome. Surprisingly so.


A hearty “YES!” to “Father Christmas”.


“Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues.

I win!


Indeed the discussion is over-


That’s why I said it in the email chain. Great fucking song.

Lothar of the Hill People

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to carols: nothing from the past 50 years sounds good to me. I love Baroque and Rococo music to begin with, so medieval carols are great, too.

That said, my three faves are:

We Three Kings of Orient Are
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
O Holy Night


All good choices. Also partial to Good King Wenceslas.

It makes me want to drink warm grog on a cold evening.

King Hippo

I am hosting din-din (AND baking two turkey breasts, because I’m NEXT to useless, not TOTES useless), so perhaps I will bust this out as I carve:


One of the only Christmas songs I can handle, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard it played on the 25/8 Christmas music stations.

Horatio Cornblower

Scrolled through looking specifically for this song. Other than ‘Fairy Tale of New York’ it’s the best of the lot.

Senor Weaselo

There’s also a tradition in the Hallelujah Chorus of everyone standing up, so that’s kinda cool.!/blogs/2012/4/Stand-or-sit-dilemma-for-Handels-Messiah

Senor Weaselo

Yeah, I didn’t know about that until I finally played it last year. And then a couple days letter we did a commercial for a brewery I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist because I haven’t seen any of their beer where they just shoehorned their beer in.

They gave us money, but couldn’t give us beer due to some campus rule or something. Which is bullshit.

Senor Weaselo

On the other hand, there’s this version of The Trumpet Shall Sound.