Michael Bublé has defrosted in time for the festivities, the faint jingle of Mariah Carey can be heard and it is finally time to dust off the ‘Now That’s What I Call Christmas’ album – or instead you can listen to my playlist of my favourite 20 Christmas songs over and over until we relive the day the Big Guy is born, because that’s what I’ll be doing.
Having a variety of good Christmas songs is actually quite difficult because A) the old ones are the best and B) new Christmas songs rarely make the cut (Sorry Ed Sheeran). Some of these are nostalgic carols, others are cliché cheese classically Christmas, others not so much – but I hope you can see where I’m coming from with those. So, without further ado here is the eclectic mix that I believe is all you need this Christmas:
Elizabeth Fitzgerald – Sleigh Ride
An all-time favourite Christmas song for many including myself, although it makes me want to curl up on the sofa rather than traipse in the snow.
Jona Lewie – Stop the Cavalry
This song is my festive 0-100. The best use of brass in a song (excluding George Michael’s Careless Whisper) and the most hard-hitting and realistic message that is still relevant to this day.
Chris De Burgh – A Spaceman Came Travelling
If the plonky intro isn’t enough to get you hooked, the lyrics definitely will – the chorus is exceptionally sing-along worthy and the song is, in general, a joy to listen to. The link to Christmas remains elusive, with many believing perhaps a futuristic extra-terrestrial interaction at the birth of JC, interesting.
Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych – Carol of the Bells
If you can find a live choir version of this it’s enough to send Christmas shivers up your spine – hauntingly festive. The Pentatonix version isn’t half bad either, a popular compromise.
Wham! – Last Christmas
Can still only hear JB from JLS from that X Factor performance. (If you know, you know.)
Brenda Lee – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
This one reminds me of that infamous scene in Home Alone, a quintessentially Christmas film. Seems to be a really underrated Christmas song amongst all the other greats.
Jose Feliciano – Feliz Navidad
A song has got to mean something if you cannot understand almost every word except “I want to wish you a Merry Christmas” and it still is in your Top 20 Ever. Another 0-100 song. Toe-tapping guaranteed.
Band Aid – Do They Know it’s Christmas? (1984 version) (obviously)
Except for that awful lyric on Bono’s behalf (think it was actually Bob Geldof that wrote the lyric), this Christmas classic is remarkable in the cause it supported – raising awareness (and millions) for the famine in Ethiopia, a crushing reality while the Western world celebrates Christmas comfortably. Catchy song, amazing lineup, good cause – what’s not to like?
The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale of New York
I feel like this is everyone’s favourite, but for good reason. Earns its respectful place.
East 17 – Stay Another Day
Oddly depressing, slightly needy, strangely Christmassy.
Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas
Something about this song has me behind Rea the whole time, cheering him on. Hope him being ‘top to toe in taillights’ was worth it and he had a lovely Christmas at home.
Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmas time
This one has had me struggling to do the “ding dongs” and do lead vocals both falsetto and baritone as well as harmonise at the same time – a merry masterpiece (he is a Beatle after all).
Bing Crosby – Winter Wonderland
Although covered by the likes of Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Frank Sinatra and The Saturdays, Crosby’s 1962 version is the epitome of Christmas cosiness.
Bing Crosby – White Christmas
Two Crosby songs in a row, and rightfully so. Like Winter Wonderland, White Christmas is an absolute classic – admittedly one to put on when you fancy a snooze by the fire, but an insult for it not to make it onto the playlist.
Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas is You
Love it or hate it, I fear that no Christmas playlist is complete without it. As soon as the first word is uttered (“aaaAAAAAH-iiiiii”) any intakes of breath from then on throughout the duration of the song will fill you with enough Christmas spirit to convince you that you sound just like Mariah. The louder it is sung the better.
Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody
This song is a favourite for many due to its widespread relatability – Yes granny does tell me the old songs are the best and then yeah, you’re right… she is up rocking and rolling with the rest.
Boney-M – Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord
Pure twee funk, a splash of kettle drums and a chorus that will stay in your head for days – what more could you want in a Christmas song?
Wet Wet Wet – Love is All Around
Perhaps the Love Actually version is more explicitly linked to Christmas (because love actually is all around), but this original version is still accessibly Christmassy and had to make it on the list.
Nat King Cole – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Like Carol of the Bells, there is something hauntingly Christmassy about this song, not sure if it’s because it’s laced with nostalgia or perhaps its eeriness is because its dated as early as the 16th Century – still, definitely not a Christmas playlist without this song.
Shakin’ Stevens – Merry Christmas Everyone
Last and by no means least, the one and only Shakin’ Stevens and his Christmas classic. He’s got the ‘do, he’s got the brass, he’s got the smiley elf and the sleigh – what more could he possibly need?
If you like the sound of this Christmas Playlist (or even if you don’t) you can find it here or listen below!!