The best non-traditional Christmas songs

downloadDecember 3, 2011 – Let’s keep music the theme going this week because it’s time to turn on the radio and hear Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for the umpteenth time.

It’s not that I dislike Rudolph or any other traditional Christmas music, but there is a lot of interesting, non-traditional music that goes unnoticed unless you happen to own the CD and discovered it for yourself.

You probably won’t hear these non-traditional songs on the radio. The stations play the same songs over and over again, most likely because they have a limited selection available, and many people enjoy sticking with tradition. That’s why I opt to create my own playlists of holiday tunes to create a wonderful mix of the traditional and non-traditional.

I realize that putting an original song on a holiday CD isn’t always welcome, but there are singers who do it well. Some do it so well, in fact, that their original song becomes a tradition. The best example of that may be John Lennon’s Happy Christmas, War is Over. It’s covered plenty.

Here are 10 fine songs (in no particular order) that follow the same tradition:

Christmas Passing Through – The Roches
Love this little ditty so much; the harmonies are rich and it just makes me smile. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find this on YouTube, so you’ll have to click through a few screens to listen, but it’s worth it.

Christmas on the Block – Alan Mann
If you don’t get that special warm feeling listening to this song – about a blind family in Upper Darby, Pa., who decorate their house with Christmas lights to the extreme for those with sight to enjoy – you may not have a soul.

The Night Before Christmas – Carly Simon
It’s joyful, it’s uplifting, and now it’s tradition.

Father Christmas — the Kinks
It’s not a warm, fuzzy Christmas you want. It’s not joyful in anyway. But it tells an interesting story for sure.

It’s Christmas Time – Dan Fogelberg
I once read that Dan wanted to record a Christmas song in the spirit of Carol of the Bells where it sounded like the voices were singing in rounds. He succeeded with this bright tune.

Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song) – Amy Grant
This song is beautifully hypnotic, and always puts things back into perspective.

I Believe in Father Christmas – Emerson Lake and Palmer
Listening to this takes me back to the day, all right. It’s so good you can listen to it year round.

My Christmas Card to You — The Partridge Family
Here’s my guilty pleasure of the playlist. I’m almost embarrassed, but it’s really fun to listen to.

Christmas at the Zoo – The Flaming Lips
Weird, it’s true, but I do love the lyrics to this gem.

Merry Christmas, War is Over – John Lennon
Sure, I’ve mentioned this already, but I still have to mention it in the list because I love it. Much better than McCartney’s sappy tune!




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A girl trying to live the dream.

2 thoughts on “The best non-traditional Christmas songs”

  1. Thanks, Jane. I am only familiar with John’s song. So, I will take a listen to the others. I have a favorite by The Pogues….Fairytale of New York by the pogues lyrics – YouTube… certainly NOT sappy or traditional.

    You might be interested: Robert Drake of WXPN presents some unique nuggets ( his words )..

    The 22nd Annual Night Before on XPN
    24 Nonstop Hours on the 24th Day of December!
    From midnight to midnight December 24, 2014

    1. Thank you! I’ll keep a listen to WXPN. Always looking for different holiday music. And John’s song isn’t very non-traditional anymore, is it?

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