Here is some of our favorite and not so favorite picks to help get you through a seemingly endless collection of holiday music possibilities:
Top 10 Traditional Christmas Songs (in no particular order)
Little Drummer Boy / Peace On Earth – Bing Crosby and David Bowie – When David Bowie and Bing Crosby teamed up to record this song for a Crosby television special in 1977, Bowie was reportedly not a big fan of the Little Drummer Boy song. The Bowie-sung Peace On Earth supposedly went from being written to being performed on Crosby’s special in a little under an hour.
Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley – If there is one holiday song that Elvis Presley has been known for and will probably forever be known for, it would be this track. Just try getting the background vocal line “Oo-oo-wah-oo-oo” out of your head now that we have put it in there. You’re welcome.
Jingle Bells – Booker T and the MG’s – A fun, bouncy instrumental take on a holiday classic courtesy of R&B masters Booker T and the MG’s.
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Bruce Springsteen – Even tough guys like Springsteen have a soft spot for Santa Claus.
The 12 Days Of Christmas – Straight No Chaser – This acapella vocal group incorporates snippets of Toto’s Africa along with other Christmas carols that will surely keep you amused while listening to their take on the track.
What Are You Doing New Years Eve – Nancy Wilson – Wilson’s sultry delivery of this track is the perfect soundtrack to those upcoming romantic evenings in front of the fireplace.
White Christmas – Bing Crosby – Many have tried but few have delivered this song with as much conviction as Bing Crosby did. This Bing Crosby single has supposedly sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.
Frosty The Snowman – Leon Redbone / Dr. John – Of the millions of versions of this song in the world, none are as cool as what Redbone and Dr. John deliver.
Let It Snow – Dean Martin – Few would contest that anyone could do this song better, unless Sinatra maybe did it. And even then, I’m rooting for Martin for this one at least.
Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano – Thanks to this song, everyone knows how to say Merry Christmas in Spanish. Thanks Jose.
Top 10 Non-Traditional Songs (in no particular order)
Little Saint Nick – The Beach Boys – It shouldn’t be a surprise that this Beach Boys holiday original is as deliriously good as so many of the group’s other harmonious hits.
What Will Santa Claus Say When He Finds Everybody Swinging – Louis Prima – He might have taught people to Jump Jive and Wail but jazz-swing master Prima was arguably in top form when he laid down this holiday treat.
Do They Know Its Christmas – Band Aid – When famine ravaged Ethiopia in the early 1980’s, many of the UK’s biggest pop stars recorded this track in response. It was the biggest selling single in UK history for approximately 13 years.
Happy Xmas (War is Over) – John Lennon – What was originally written as a protest song to the Vietnam War has become a holiday classic. Everyone from Jessica Simpson to N Sync has covered the song but none of them can hold a candle to the power of the original.
Christmas Time Is Here – Vince Guraldi Trio – From the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack is this track sung by the Peanuts gang themselves and is preceded on the record by a fantastic instrumental version of the song.
Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight) – The Ramones – Who would have known that these New York punk legends would have had such a great holiday-themed track tucked away on their 1989 album Brain Drain?
I Pray On Christmas – Harry Connick Jr. – Connick should be as insanely popular as Michael Buble is and nowhere is that more evident than on this gospel-inspired holiday track.
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – U2 – Before they were concerned with saving the world, U2 cut this delightful song for the Very Special Christmas compilation which was released in 1990.
Christmas In Hollis – Run DMC – The kings of rap music get their jingle on with this terrific holiday ditty.
Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord – Boney M – Care for a little disco to spice up your holiday party? The Jamaican members of Boney M and their former German producer Frank Farian will be happy to oblige with this popular track.
Top 10 Worst Christmas Songs (no particular order because they are all terrible)
Santa Baby – Madonna – Is Madonna talented? Absolutely. Is it necessary to hear her pout her way through this song? Absolutely not.
O Holy Night – Christina Aguilera – We get that you can sing Christina. You’re pretty good at it but here, you’re so dang melodramatic with your vocals, it completely negates your talent. One word: irritating.
All I Want For Christmas Is You (Extra Festive) – Mariah Carey – You can’t just stick the word “extra” onto the end of a previously used song title and not expect some flack. The award for most unimaginative song title ever goes to Mariah Carey!
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – N Sync – Seeing how they were accustomed to singing songs they did not have a hand in writing, it was only natural for N Sync to milk that cash cow as much as they could by releasing a Christmas record. Gotta strike while the iron is hot! Just ask the other four guys that aren’t Justin Timberlake.
Jingle Bell Rock – Billy Idol – From Rebel Yell to Jingle Bell Rock. It could be worse. We’re just not quite sure how.
Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney – How dare someone diss Paul McCartney, you say? The cheesy, cheeky keyboards in this song alone made me do it.
Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer – Various Artists – While we are teaching kids about this magical man known as Santa Claus, let’s plant this seed in their little heads and see how magical Christmas remains.
Macarena Christmas – Los Del Rio – “Hey guys, I have an idea”, “What’s that?”, “Well, you know how we only had one hit? Let’s take that hit, put in bits of ‘Joy To The World’ and call it Macarena Christmas!” The burning question of course is when will we have a chance to hear Mambo #5 Christmas.
Come On Christmas – Dwight Yoakam – Yoakam’s non-holiday material is solid but this is just sad. Literally, the song is depressing to the n’th degree. Best not listen to this one if you’re spending the holidays unexpectedly alone.
Funky Funky Christmas – New Kids On The Block – While I’m sure the money in their reunion tour is a big reason to have reformed, I bet the New Kids are just hoping that people will enjoy the fact they are back together and forget all about this terrible, terrible song.