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Top Six Alternative Christmas Songs

Top Six Alternative Christmas Songs

We had so much fun with the alternative Christmas movies list the other day, we decided to do another one on alternative Christmas songs.

We didn’t get quite as elaborate with rules as we did with the movies, (see that article here) but we did establish a couple.

Rule Number 1: No remakes of holiday classics.  This eliminated songs like Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and Bob Dylan’s version of “Must Be Santa.

Rule Number 2: No parodies.  No Bob Rivers singing “I am Santa Claus” to the tune of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man,” for instance.

Otherwise we left things pretty open.  Here they are, Loafers.  Sit back, spike the eggnog and crank the IPods.  Afterwards you can grab some buddies, dye your mohawks and go caroling.

 Jim BrownNumber 6 – “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” by James Brown

Come on, you know you love him.  Besides, James Brown was alternative before anyone else even knew what it meant.  I still don’t understand that whole thing with the cape.



 Number 5 – “I Believe in Father Christmas” by Greg Lake

Greg Lake was the “Lake” in Emerson, Lake and Palmer and also one of the founding members of King Crimson.  Both bands were somewhat alternative for their time and specialized in blending orchestral, neo-classical music with hard rock and weird synthesizers.  Still, Greg (the guitarist and lead vocalist for both bands) occasionally loved to belt out a ballad.  Here’s what he had to say about this song.

“I find it appalling when people say it’s politically incorrect to talk about Christmas, (instead) you’ve got to talk about ‘The Holiday Season’. Christmas was a time of family warmth and love. There was a feeling of forgiveness, acceptance. And I do believe in Father Christmas.”

 Number 4 – “Father Christmas” by The Kinks

The Kinks were one of the first alternative (or “outsider”) bands of the sixties and arguably the first to get that pounding, power-chord drive with shouted vocals which later became the hallmark of the punk rock movement.  Fittingly, there’s nothing sentimental about their holiday hymn.  “Father Christmas, give us some money, don’t mess around with your silly toys.  We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over…”

 Number 3 – “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses

The Waitresses first attracted attention with a song called “I Know What Boys Like.”  They were originally considered an experimental band, although by today’s standards they may seem a little mainstream.  The song is a bit on the cutesy side, but still a fun listen and a neat take on Christmas when you’re poor, young and single.  Popular with female college students in the 1990s.

 Number 2 – “2000 Miles” by The Pretenders

When the Pretenders first burst onto the scene in late Seventies, their music sported a hard-driving, punkish beat reminiscent of the Kinks in the 1960s.  In fact, the Pretenders’ first single was a cover of a Kink’s song, “Stop Your Sobbing.”  Edgy though she may be, though, Chrissie Hynde was not above a little sentiment from time to time as this song attests.  Nevertheless, that didn’t stop other bands like Coldplay and the Mighty, Mighty Bosstones from covering it.

And, finally, our favorite alternative Christmas song.  In case you haven’t noticed, we here at the Loafer love Irish pubs and the associated music, so it should come as no surprise that our number one pick is …

 Number 1 – “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues

Any band whose claim to fame is that the founding members met in the men’s room at a Ramone’s concert has to be alternative.  Likewise, Christmas Eve in the drunk tank ain’t exactly “Jingle Bells.”  Check it out.  The song speaks for itself.

Give them all a listen.  Let us know what you think.  If you have any suggestions of your own, please share by commenting below.

  1. Hey, You forgot one of the most classic novelty songs ever. Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keen.

  2. Anyone who likes these should check out `Christmas is a pain in the arse` by The Accelerators