Christmas music is like chocolate or potato chips: great — but in moderation. Unfortunately, our society has become so inundated with the commoditization of Christmas and the holiday spirit. No matter where you go, from mid-October till the fateful day of December 25th, you are bound to hear some sort of Christmas music. It’s enough to drive any sane person crazy. (sociobits.org) That being said, the best Christmas songs still evoke that starry-eyed childlike joy in even the grinchiest of grinches and scroogiest of scrooges. We’ve found some very unique ones you may never had heard these covers.
Here Are Our Top 5 Favorite Christmas Songs:
5.) First Noel – Bad Religion
- Released: 2009
Now, for all you punk rock scrooges too apathetic and angry to deign to listen to a Christmas carol, fear not! Bad Religion has come to the rescue with their power punk cover of “First Noel”. No, that wasn’t a typo. Bad Religion covers “First Noel”. Yes, that is completely hypocritical, but nobody cares because their cover is freaking awesome. Their famous three-part-punk-harmonies (self-coined “oozin’ aahs”) are in no shortage, but it is strange to hear them all belting out “NOEL, NOEEEEEEL.”
In the song, you can hear the guitars blaring and the band getting into it. They truly believe that this Christmas song is the best one yet, and it can make some listeners emotional. Definitely amusing, “First Noel” by Bad Religion is a song you can laugh at but feel like a punk kid rocking out in the Christmas spirit. The song is the perfect combination of pop punk and Christmas carols. Bravo, Bad Religion!
4.) Last Christmas – The xx
- Released: 2012
One of the stupidest Christmas songs to exist ever (perhaps second to “Santa Baby”) was made into an amazing experimental rock experience by the amazingly talented band The xx. The words are second to the overwhelming sounds that The xx are so famous for combining.
The vocal prowess is in full-force, and the instruments harmonize well with one another. The xx make “Last Christmas” into something much more honest than the original even comes close to being. The band was able to adapt their own style of the song. We think that makes the song stand out. It starts out a bit somber, but it reminds us if we are heartbroken over Christmas time.
3.) Carol of the Bells – Mormon Tabernacle Choir
- Released: 2013
Another famous rendition of a classic, the ever-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir takes on “Carol of the Bells”. It is a carol based on a Ukrainian folk chant. The song has since evolved into one of the most well-known —and difficult to master — Christmas carols. Leave it to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to do an astounding job. While the words are hard to make out, the sheer power of the choir’s combined voices, the mastery of harmony and the delicate balance of joy and sorrow make this version of “Carol of the Bells” the most astonishing one.
The words you do make out (“songs of good cheer, merry Christmas, sweet silver bells”) combined with all of the aforementioned talents, transforms “Carol of the Bells” from a piece of fantastic music to a moment of Christmas magic. There is an air of miraculous mystery evoked by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in this version of “Carol of the Bells” that is unparalleled. This version of the song is guaranteed to make the hairs on your arm stand up in sheer awe. We recommend that you listen to this song.
2.) Silent Night – The Kills
- Released: 2011
Not a band you’d expect to cover a song about the birth of Jesus Christ, The Kills take on one of the most famous Christmas carols and do a fabulous job with it. Alison Mosshart’s voice possesses an unexpected power for a Christmas carol. Jamie Hince’s impeccable guitar playing highlights Mosshart’s unique voice. Although the melody we’re familiar with stays the same, the Kills’s rendition of the song makes a few lyrical changes. The changes sound festive and unique, and the difference refreshes this song.
The Kill’s version of “Silent Night” is appealing to the band’s demographic, and there is something decidedly creepy and lonesome about their version of Silent Night. Whether or not you believe, this song still evokes a sense of bittersweet joy. As in the original, this version gives that sense of peace in the silent nights you spend with those you love.
1.) White Christmas – Frank Sinatra
- Released: 1946
The epitome of the perfect, picturesque Christmas song, Frank Sinatra’s “White Christmas” is precisely what you want to be playing on Christmas Eve. Sinatra’s voice is unparalleled for its beauty and for its festivity. Also, the song itself is appealing to almost everyone who celebrates Christmas. “White Christmas” serves as a bridge between generations from young to old. This song is probably the most recognizable Christmas songs with Sinatra’s smooth voice and the big band in the background.
This is the Christmas song everyone can agree on, and everyone knows most of the words to this beautiful classic. We all may butcher it, and Sinatra may be rolling in his grave at our off-key crooning. At least we’ve all come together in the true holiday spirit of love and joy. If you are ever in a bad mood or feeling blue, play this song a few times. If there is any song to instantly put you in the mood for hot chocolate, snowflakes and Santa, it’s “White Christmas” as sung by the one and only Ol’ Blue Eyes.
READ MORE: Top 10 Best Christmas Movies of All Time
The delicate beauty of the Christmas song is hard to find. There are few who can do it without coming off as kitschy or as if they’ve sold out entirely. Honorable mention goes to Rancid for writing their own Christmas carol, “Xmas Eve,” that all you punk rockers should give a listen to. No matter what musical subculture you ascribe to, or what, if any, religion you follow, you cannot help but love these five Christmas covers. They are done with grace, ingenuity and that precise, starry-eyed joy that Christmas should evoke in all us kids from one to ninety-two.
If you are still looking for Christmas gifts, visit our gift guide: 21 Crazy Cool Gifts For Family Members That They Will Love.