my favorite christmas songs


if you’ve ever worked in retail, you probably have a fair amount of hate in your heart for christmas music. it’s like that sticky christmas candy that you consume till your belly aches for one month only and then can’t touch the stuff as soon as the tree comes down. i can relate, for sure. christmas music these days is, for the most part, nothing short of awful. and boy do i miss the good old days when commercialization of christmas in the form of music in honor of the almighty buck involved the exploitation of awesome artists like the ronettes and the beach boys and johnny cash, but alas, those days are done. i always find it really super fantastic when people sprinkle a little sarcasm on top of christmas with some cheeky tunes, and i can whole heartedly appreciate the irony in certain christmas music. here are the tunes that i dig most, for about one month a year, and then completely forget about till next year.

  1. christmas (baby please come home) (darlene love). poor darlene love.
  2. santa claus is comin to town (bruce springsteen). i’m gonna go out on a limb here and say this is my favorite christmas song. period. thanks boss.
  3. little saint nick (the beach boys). this is a close second. mike love, you wonderful bastard.
  4. merry christmas (i don’t wanna fight tonight) (the ramones). there’s that irony i was talkin about! equally awesome because it’s a ramones christmas song, and because it’s from dee dee ramones last ramones record. RIP.
  5. sleigh ride (the ronettes). this song, to me, is everything insanely great about the ronettes in one song. ronnie just killing it on the lead vocal and the girls earworming out on the chorus, and oh yeah, spector with thee wall of sound.
  6. happy xmas (war is over) (john lennon and yoko ono). this is a pretty classic john lennon moment. i mean, i love how john lennon could write the most optimistic, hopeful lyrics and deliver them with such a pissy, sarcastic, biting tone. and you also get to hear yoko sounding like a cat being strangled on the chorus.
  7. run run rudolph (chuck berry). all i want for christmas is a rock n roll ‘lectric guitar.
  8. christmas in hollis (run dmc). really one of the highlights of my childhood christmas memories. run dmc.
  9. christmas wrapping (the waitresses). rad. just rad.
  10. pretty paper (roy orbison). what’s more sentimental than roy orbison? not much.
  11. little drummer boy (bing crosby and david bowie). weird. just weird.
  12. rudolph the red nosed raindeer (the crystals). god i love the crystals.
  13. the christmas song (the ravonettes). dreamy, dreamy ravonettes.
  14. last christmas (wham!). makes me want to lay in a tanning bed for several hours, drink too many vodka cranberries, put on white short-shorts and twirl around my room.
  15. i’ll be home for christmas (elvis presley). i know, i know, it’s not blue christmas, but i like how he sounds a little bit bored and a little bit drunk on this one.
  16. blue christmas (earnest tubb). plus i had to save blue christmas for earnest tubb. because duh.
  17. daddy won’t be home again for christmas (merle haggard). at once so totally effed up and so totally awesome. all at once!
  18. silent night (johnny cash). i don’t think there’s ever been a recorded version of this song that didn’t bite it, except for mr. cash’s version.
  19. marshmallow world (darlene love). darlene love gets 2 songs on my list because, poor darlene love. have you seen that target commercial with karen o doing this song? it sounds great, but it’s for commercialization of christmas in the form of a tv commercial in honor of the almighty buck, not for you to listen to and enjoy! not available! just go shopping at target! spend that money! and there’s not a thing wrong with darlene love’s version anyhow.
  20. white christmas (otis redding). i was not aware that otis redding recorded a version of this song until this morning when i found it and listened to it about 20 times, at which point i actually passed away. i’m writing this from the afterlife.
  21. have yourself a merry little christmas (bob dylan). so, a bob dylan christmas record. god. god, he’s so weird. so incredibly, utterly, totally weird. and AWESOME.
  22. have yourself a merry little christmas (judy garland). this one is a bonus track. it didn’t make the short list, bob dylan’s highly strange version did. but judy garland is so god damn tragic and depressing, and this song makes me want to drink hot toddies and cry myself to sleep.

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