I Don’t Want A Lot For Christmas, There Are Just Five Songs I Need

A lot of people I know are having kind of crappy weeks (not to mention Kanye West and Axl Rose), so I figured why not close the week out on a happy note? I now present to you my current version of The Five Songs That I Will Never Get Tired Of Hearing On All-Holiday Radio. List is after the jump; feel free to add your own suggestions.

5. Vince Guaraldi, “Christmas Time Is Here”

A simple singsong melody and instrumentation that sounds like icicles are about to sprout from the speakers the song’s coming through. Really, do you need much more?

4. Ramones, “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)”

Sure, the holidays are a time for remembering how much you cherish your loved ones. But the heightened stress of the season can result in adoration curdling into exasperation. This song defuses that tension quite expertly, plus it’s fun to pogo around to. That’s a stress-buster, too, remember! (The cover by Asobi Seksu is also pretty good.)

3. Mariah Carey, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”

Anytime I hear this song I’m singing along by the second verse. Fact.

2. Bruce Springsteen, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”

It’s cheating a little bit—Springsteen didn’t originate this track, after all—but my holiday season isn’t properly started until I hear the Boss singing about people being good for goodness’ sake on a radio, or an in-mall loudspeaker, or somewhere. How have I not heard this version of “Santa” this year? Maybe that’s why I’m so off-kilter.

1. Wham!, “Last Christmas”

My George Michael fandom is a point of fact here, and the way his voice opens up to a wail on “Last”‘s bridge may be one of my most favorite sad moments in pop, holiday and non-holiday.

And before I go, I leave you with this: The Stapp family Christmas card. Hey, if that Creed reunion really happens, this’ll get even fancier next year!

  • fabulousrobots

    I can’t get enough of The Walkmen’s “Christmas Party” because it’s hilarious. The play it on all-Christmas WOXY, I hope that counts.

    The Wham! song is definitely one of my favorites, though it gets stuck in my head and I annoy everyone around me by singing it for two months.

    I have a soft spot for John Denver’s “Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)” since my parents played it so much when I was a kid.

  • moomintroll

    I will always put Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” and Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everybody” on every Christmas mix I make. always.
    They remind me of the wonderfully tacky Christmas school disco’s we’d have when I was growing up in Britain, that and Whigfield’s “Saturday Night.

    I like that Walkmen one too fabulousrobots!

    I just made a mix for work that isn’t too heavy on the cheese…I added a few melancholy winter songs like B&S’ “Fox in the Snow” and Johnny Cash’s “The Blizzard” for those not full of holiday cheer! There’s a WLIT “The Lite” boycott going on this year.

  • Lucas Jensen

    @moomintroll: I hear you on Wizzard. I also love Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, “Christmas In Hollis”, and all of the Low Christmas EP.

  • Anonymous

    Fairy Tale of New York! Fairy Tale of New York!

  • Poubelle

    I generally keep the whole Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack on heavy rotation during December. I also tend to play the Roaches’ We Three Kings because that is what my mother nearly always played when I “helped” her bake and set up the tree when I was a kid, and that’s still the way most of those carols are “supposed” to sound, in my mind.

    I love “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” both the original and MCR’s surprisingly awesome cover. And I have to second you on the Ramones song.

    Due the amount of shopping everyone’s expected to do, I also like to pull out this one non-holiday song:

  • Jack Fear

    I’ve written some about the more questionable aspects of the song, but for my money the Betty Carter – Ray Charles version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is simply indispensable.

    I’m an absolute fiend for Christmas music. Jane Siberry’s double live CD Child still gets a lot of play around the house, as does The McGarrigle Christmas Hour.

    My absolute favorite contemporary seasonal tune, is still Lindisfarne’s “Winter Song,” though.

    Not that you’d hear any of that on the radio.

  • D.R. Mosby

    I never get tired of Elvis Presley’s version of “Merry Christmas Baby” (from his Reconsider Baby album). It’s head and shoulders above any other Christmas song that Elvis recorded.

  • Anonymous

    Some of my faves are Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses and Merry Christmas From the Family by Robert Earl Keen (Jill Sobule’s version is good too) I also love The Drifters version of White Christmas. Growing up, my parents had lots of classic Christmas albums by the likes of Johnny Mathis, Perry Como and Barbra Streisand so I love that stuff too. You also can’t beat the John Denver and the Muppets Christmas album and Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Oscar doing I Hate Christmas is a true classic!
    Christmas music makes me happy!

  • DocStrange

    @maggiebandur: You are correct. “Fairytale of New York” is very FTW.

    Also, Kate Bush’s “December Will Be Magic Again”.

  • tigerpop

    Fishbone: Slick Nick, You Devil You.

    I wanted candy! I WANTED CANDY!

  • Rob Murphy

    @Poubelle: I didn’t even need to click on the video, I knew what it was just from the still image…

    And I’m a little surprised commenter “D.R. Mosby” didn’t comment on this legen…wait for it…DARY!…video.

    Related: Is commenter “D.R. Mosby” the same “D.R. Mosby” who stars in the awesome porn flick, “Lance Hardwood, Sex Doctor, starring D.R. Mosby”???

  • T’Challa

    @Maura: You pretty much nailed it. And I’m soooo with you on Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas.” I was lucky enough to see her perform it LIVE at some L.A. pop radio holiday concert a few years ago, and it was nothing less than magical. And I’m being totally and completely serious. Magic.

  • radnauseum

    Can’t get enough of the Mariah song. Put it on my own Christmas mix this year….

  • Jerkwheat

    The Mariah song is perfect Christmas pop.

    I’m also a big fan of the Jimmy Eat World cover of “Last Christmas” and the BNL/Sarah McLachlan version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

  • lempha

    @jasoneff: Ditto on “Christmas Wrapping”. So. Good.

    @D.R. Mosby: For whatever reason I’m obsesse with “If Every Day Was Like Christmas”.

    Sleeper pick: José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad”.

  • Murk

    Hello? Any holiday song by Bing Crosby, duh. Who are you people.

  • Rob Murphy

    @Murk: Here ya go:

  • D.R. Mosby

    @Rob Murphy: Is commenter “D.R. Mosby” the same “D.R. Mosby” who stars in the awesome porn flick, “Lance Hardwood, Sex Doctor, starring D.R. Mosby”???

    No, I’m not that guy. Have you met Ted?

  • Rob Murphy

    @Rob Murphy: P.S. Maura, I’m surprised you “forgot” this [see my above post]. Is this not a “holiday-time radio staple”? My question is serious — for a variety of reasons, my radio-listening is very spotty.

  • Rob Murphy

    @D.R. Mosby: “…you’ll notice I’m in the credits…I did some location scouting…”


  • Rob Murphy

    @Maura: You also forgot about this, obvs:


  • Rob Murphy

    @Rob Murphy: Oh, sorry, embedding disabled by request…

    URL w/o http etc. (enter “http://www.youtube.com/” before this:) watch?v=M8yQLbMtPFA

  • Marth

    Call me a sentamentalist, (if you don’t mind using fake words), but I’ll never get tired of hearing good orchestral recordings of Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”

  • Anonymous

    I need the whole “Christmas Jollies” album from the Salsoul Orchestra, especially this cut

  • Anonymous


  • D.R. Mosby

    @Rob Murphy: Play it dirty! Play it dirty!

  • Maura Johnston

    @Bong14: i don’t believe in guilty pleasures. i’ve been trying really hard to shake off all that indoctrinated-catholicism stuff, and of course the whole ‘guilt’ thing is key to that, so. (plus, an expertly crafted pop song is a joy to behold.)

  • Anonymous

    “Santa Claus go straight to the ghetto” by James Brown gets my vote.

  • Hyman Decent

    “Santa Got Run Over By My Chevy” by Manic Hispanic

  • Murk

    “Guilty pleasures” are for people who are suspicious of pleasure. As if liking pop music were anything to be ashamed of!

  • Lucas Jensen

    @Murk: Indeed. Most Christmas songs are pretty intense pop songs when you get down to it. Simple songs with solid melodies and short running times. I’m a big fan.

  • Chris Barrus

    I once put together a mix of my favorite Christmas songs, but if there’s one song that stands out from everyone it’s Saint Etienne’s cover of “I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You”

  • egg cream

    To be honest, the tracks that get those most play on my Christmas playlist are from Hanson’s Snowed In. If ever there were a time for jangly, loose, well-produced pop sung by teenagers, Christmas is it.

  • Anonymous

    One song I never tire of…

    “Father Christmas” – The Kinks

  • Bong14

    @maggiebandur: Yes to Fairytale of New York, which these days has a particularly bittersweet quality to it in light of Kirsty MacColl’s untimely death. Another vote for Wizzard and Slade – inescapable for any 70s British schoolkid. In the spirit of Wham (I’m taking that spirit as “guilty pleasures” although you seem remarkably unburdened by the requisite guilt, Maura), I’d like to nominate Erasure’s “She Won’t Be Home” and also Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas” – the latter has nothing to do with Christmas but it’s rather nice anyway.