Top 10 Alternative Christmas Songs

Hurray, it is Christmastime, time for festive things like tinsel and wreaths and oregano. Maybe it is a joyous time for you, or maybe it is not. In any case, here are ten great Xmas tunes that you can listen to.

1. Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) – The Darkness

  • It’s bombastic and ridiculous and everything that the band does well all wrapped up in one delightfully silly glam-rock package.

2. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Death Cab For Cutie

  • The Northwest Pacific indie scene was a little too cynical to result in many Christmas tunes, so it’s nice to hear that at least one of the bands that emerged from that coast still had some sort of festive spirit. Ben Gibbard‘s terrycloth voice glides across the snow-capped piano chords, imbuing this version of the standard with genuine warmth.

3. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues

  • Recently covered by Ed Sheeran, this melancholy celtic punk song has become somewhat of a classic in recent years, which is odd because there’s definitely some questionable lyrics scattered throughout it.

4. Last Christmas – Jimmy Eat World

  • Wham!’s original provided the melody, but Jimmy Eat World add the heart to what is no doubt the most emo Christmas song ever written.

5. A Great Big Sled – The Killers

  • The first of the band’s decade of festive songs is also their best. A big, melodramatic and eminently melodic tune, it’s inspired of course by the same man every other one of the band’s 2006 songs was: Springsteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen.

6. Christmastime – The Smashing Pumpkins

  • The funniest part about this song is not that it’s legitimately a great original tune, but the fact that this was written during the band’s heyday when Billy Corgan was king of alternative angst. Super bizarre to think that:

And now the word is given
It’s time to peek inside
It’s time to let the toys out
So anxious for your look of joy and delight
The waiting for just your surprise

Christmastime has come
There’ll be toys for everyone
‘Cause Christmastime has come for you
Came from the same era as:
“Emptiness is loneliness and loneliness is cleanliness
And cleanliness is godliness, and God is empty just like me
Intoxicated with the madness, I’m in love with my sadness
Bullshit fakers, enchanted kingdoms
The fashion victims chew their charcoal teeth

7. Merry Xmas Everybody – R.E.M

  • Although Slade‘s original version was the better one, Stipe and company do a completely serviceable job putting a more alternative spin on it.

8. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Coldplay

  • Just Chris Martin and a piano make for a reserved, classy affair perfect for musty dining rooms with large oak bookshelves and glasses of scotch lying around.

9. All I Want for Christmas is You – My Chemical Romance

  • It sounds like Gerard Way is severely drunk during the introduction, but it’s not long before the song rips into a classic MCR punker.

10. Joy to the World – Sufjan Stevens

  •   There are two Sufjans: pastoral folk Sufjan and weird electro Sufjan. Turns out that both sides of the indie legend ably handle holiday tunes- songs like “O Come O Come Emmanuel” take on the former while this one goes with the latter style. Glitchy, robotic, and totally fun to trip out people around the dinner table with.