This time of the year the holiday spirit is everywhere. In fact, it can be downright impossible to avoid.
Step into any shopping mall and you’ll likely hear “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” at least once… and then again later at the grocery store. And there’s always that radio station that repeats “Winter Wonderland” for the tenth time during your commute.
Let’s face it — whether you’re a fan of the traditional songs or not, we all need a break sometimes.
Fortunately, tons of artists have contributed to the holiday cheer with their own musical style. If you’d rather skip over Bing Crosby’s crooning, there are plenty of rock, rap, and alternative Christmas songs you can queue up!
Here are the best modern Christmas songs to add to your playlist:
- “Christmas in Hollis” by Run DMC
This is by far the best hip hop Christmas song ever made. Anyone that says otherwise belongs on the naughty list. Blast this as you’re trimming your tree and just try not to nod your head to the beat. (Bonus: watch the music video for some awesome fashion inspiration.)
- “Christmas” by Rogue Wave
One part holiday cheer and one part hipster flair, this cover (originally recorded by The Who) is one of the best indie and alternative Christmas songs to grace our playlist.
- “Christmas Wish” by She & Him
Indie duo She & Him (Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward) are known for their dreamy acoustic sets, and this cover showcases their style with a nod to the holiday spirit. One listen and you’ll want to cozy up in front of the fire with this song on heavy rotation.
- “Christmas in the Room” by Sufjan Stevens
Continuing with the indie trend, this Sufjan Stevens song encourages a simpler approach to the consumer-driven season — think more family time, fewer shopping malls. It’s the perfect critique of materialism mixed with mellow electronic instrumentals.
- “Merry Christmas, I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight“ by The Ramones
Next up: for the punk rocker in all of us, this spirited Ramones song provides a friendly reminder that Christmas is, in fact, not a good time to break anyone’s heart.
- “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande
Indie and alternative rock aren’t the only genres on our playlist. In this R&B-tinged tune, pop princess Ariana Grande pleads to Santa Clause about her Christmas crush. And trust us, this pop song is much more tolerable than the typical “Santa Baby” cover!
- “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses
This is one of the more well-known anti-Christmas tunes. If you’re feeling a bit like Scrooge this season, take out your frustrations by singing along with “Christmas Wrapping” at full volume. Bah humbug, indeed.
- “¿Donde Esta Santa Claus?” by Guster
Forget “Feliz Navidad” — this song, originally recorded by Augie Ross in 1958, adds some Spanish flair to your playlist as you wait patiently for Santa and his reindeer.
- “Santa Stole My Lady” by Fitz and the Tantrums
In the realm of flat-out-weird Christmas songs, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” usually takes the cake. This Fitz and the Tantrums song seems to be a reimagined version, again accusing Santa of being quite the ladies’ man.
- “Ludacrismas” by Ludacris
Rounding out the playlist with another rap-fueled Christmas song, Ludacris provides his slick lyrics over a sample of “Here Comes Santa Clause,” perfect for your next holiday party.
Now it’s your turn: what are your favorite modern Christmas songs? What covers or original songs top your own holiday playlist?