All of us know someone who hates Christmas music. Like, really despises it. These Grinches grimace each time they hear a jazzy rendition of Jingle Bells. “It’s fine,” they say, unconvincingly, through gritted teeth.
And while most of these afflicted souls don’t seem to mind other Christmas-y things (like presents, spending time with family, and cookies), holiday tunes—which seem to get played earlier and earlier with each passing year—are just too much for them.
As a salve to those who succumb to such seasonal sentiments, we’ve pulled together a list of tracks that celebrate the holidays in a different way. Some of them may be familiar and some may be entirely new. Either way, they’re a break from the same old tunes that are repurposed by pop stars each year.
“Father Christmas,” The Kinks
This department store “Father Christmas” clearly had the worst Christmas ever.
“Got Something for You,” Best Coast and Wavves
You might associate these two laid-back bands with surf and sun (and yes, actual waves), but together, they create the perfect wintry mix.
“Last Christmas,” Wham
This Christmas, I gave you a list, of Christmas songs that are somewhat better.
“Fairytale of New York,” The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl
This song came into being after Elvis Costello bet The Pogues’ lead singer Shane MacGowan that he couldn’t write a decent Christmas duet. The outcome: a call-and-response between a bickering couple that’s just as sweet as it is salty.
“Birthday,” The Jesus and Mary Chain
It counts as a Christmas song because the word “Christmas” is in the chorus.
“Christmas in Hollis,” Run D.M.C.
This Rick Rubin-produced track name checks the trio’s hometown of Hollis, Queens in New York. Twenty-five years after its release, the song is a holiday standard.
“It Doesn’t Often Snow on Christmas,” Pet Shop Boys
Despite a danceable vibe, this song is mostly about how we’ve all ruined the spirit of Christmas. Sorry, Bing Crosby.
“Christmas Was Better in the 80s,” The Futureheads
This rollicking track by post-punk rockers proves a very solid point: Christmas is always better when you’re a kid.
“Christmas Wrapping,” The Waitresses
Bonus points if you remember the Spice Girls cover.
“All I want For Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey
This song is a classic regardless of your feelings about Christmas music.