Ten on Tuesday: My 10 or 20 or so Favorite Holiday Songs, presented in no particular order

Yeah, who knew I was a member of Ten on Tuesday, eh? 😉 Obviously, I don’t participate very often, but I couldn’t resist the holiday songs topic.

I’m not religious. At best, I’m agnostic. I’m a fan of SuperGuppy Kat’s term “gwfgwf” (pronounced “gwif-gwif”: “generic winter festive gathering with food”), which would include Christmas, Hanukka, the Winter Solstice/Yule, Kwanzaa, etc. (Tangentially, Wikipedia has an impressive list of winter festive gatherings believed to be inspired by the Winter Solstice.) So the holiday songs that I prefer tend not to be religious. Often, they decry commercialism or address holiday loneliness. Even Charlie Parr’s Biblically themed song “Bethlehem” is definitely not traditional.

  1. Greg Lake (of Emerson, Lake & Palmer) – “I Believe in Father Christmas”listen
  2. Dar Williams – “The Christians and the Pagans”listen (the audio stream is only a snippet, but the video’s the whole song)
  3. The Therapy Sisters – “Pachelbel’s Tantrum” – listen
  4. Charlie Parr – “Bethlehem” listen
  5. The New Standards – “River” (originally by Joni Mitchell). Since I can’t find anything about this song online (although you can order their holiday EP by scrolling to the bottom of this page), how about the Captain Polaroid version of “River”? listen
  6. Annette Walowicz – “Time Goes” listen
  7. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – “Cold White Christmas” listen (hey, it’s set in St. Paul!)
  8. Neko Case – “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” (originally by Tom Waits) listen (hey, it’s set in Minneapolis!)
  9. Gentleman Auction House – “Home for the Holidays” listen
  10. Jim White – “Christmas Day” listen
  11. Johnny Bertram – “Merry Christmas (You Won’t Get What You Want)” (from Peace On Earth: A Charity Holiday Album)
  12. Love Axe – “All I Want for Christmas Is What I Can’t Take Back” listen
  13. Okkervil River – “Listening to Otis Redding at Christmas” (from their Golden Opportunities Mixtape, which was a free download in 2007)
  14. The Priestess and the Fool – “Fairytale of New York” (originally by the Pogues) (you have to download their free Christmas EP, Ride On, Santa to listen)
  15. Steve Earle – “Christmas in Washington” listen
  16. Sufjan Stevens – “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever” listen
  17. Chris Hatfield – “Born Again Pagan” listen
  18. Trailer Trash – “Hard Candy Xmas” (you can’t listen to this song at their website, but you can listen to some of their other holiday songs)
  19. Aimee Mann – “I Was Thinking I Could Clean Up for Christmas” listen (the audio stream is only a snippet, but the video’s the whole song)
  20. Wormburner – “Bells of St. Ignatius” (you can listen to a preview via Amazon)
  21. Young Bison – “Lee Winters’ Last Christmas” listen
  22. Lightning Love – “Holidays” listen
  23. Sleeptalker – “This Is Christmas” (from Peace On Earth: A Charity Holiday Album)
  24. Bing Crosby & David Bowie – “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” (you can listen to a preview via Amazon, if you haven’t already heard this hundreds of times – I was a huge David Bowie fan when I was an adolescent, and I have fond memories of watching that tv special)

“But I don’t want to be the first cat famous for singing gwfgwf music, Mom.” -Mayhem

30 thoughts on “Ten on Tuesday: My 10 or 20 or so Favorite Holiday Songs, presented in no particular order”

  1. How interesting. I, on the other hand, am quite the polar opposite: Christmas songs should be just that, *Christmas* songs. And “generic winter festive gatherings with food” make my teeth itch.

    Yeah, my Catholic roots are showing, and your point?

  2. I’m pretty partial to Trans-Siberian Orchestra versions of traditional Christmas songs. I also have “John Denver & the Muppets Christmas” on cd — it was my favorite record when I was a kid and my parents bought me the cd as a joke a few years ago.. its not the holidays without hearing The Muppets sing “the 12 days of Christmas”. lol

  3. love that term! gwfgwf! I remember a song a good numer of years ago called “if santa was pagan too” and need to hunt it down, loved it!

  4. I love #1! ::scurries into iTunes to play it:: ::now it is playing:: ELP is one of my all-time favorites; they take me back to those altered-state days of the early 70s.

    Must remember gwfgwf. It is perfect.

  5. Thanks to Trek for saying what I can’t say outloud! But funny – I don’t see “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” on your list. Huh – would have thought it would at least get honorable mention??

  6. I love the Bing/Bowie duet, too. Bing died before his Christmas special aired that year, and my roommates (I was in college) refused to watch it with me. They thought it was morbid or something…

  7. You know IM a fan of your music tastes. I like that term by the way, “gwif-gwif”. I’ll have to borrow it. It’s the closest I think we come to having a term for what we are… which is questionable even to me sometimes. 🙂

  8. I firmly believe in not listening to Christmas music until Christmas Eve. But I did notice that there was not a single mention of Grandma getting run over by a reindeer or a Christmas hippopotamus song….

  9. Dar Williams! I love that song, I’ve just never heard who sang it. Now why I didn’t think to ask you…..no clue.

    Gwf-gwf. LOL. Mayhem looks like she’s hearing that octave being sung.

  10. It is not Christmas for me without these two radically diverse songs:

    A) Alvin and the Chipmunks “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”


    B) Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)”

    But I also go for a bit of color, with

    “Blue Christmas” (Elvis of course), and
    “White Christmas” (Der Bingle, natch)

  11. Awesome! Thanks for the list– this may spice up my regular holiday rotation of Johnny Mathis, Sarah McLachlan, and the Peanuts Christmas album.

  12. The faith aspect of Christmas is really important to me, but to be honest, I really don’t like Christmas music! Last night I found two albums of jazz Christmas music (instrumental) to download that I can tolerate, so my Chris won’t drive me crazy with his love of the standards.

    Those songs that cursingmama mentioned, along with Rockin Around the Christmas Tree and Jingle Bell Rock, especially make me lose the spirit fast! ARGH!

  13. 24 on Tuesday? I’ll have to listent to these when I get a few minutes time. I’m not fond of most Christmas music. The songs I like aren’t usually religious. Oh I haven’t listened to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer in a long time.

  14. One of my favorite seasonal CDs is by the Chieftans and my favorite song off it is The St Stephens Day Murders. It’s a HOOT!!!!!Another fave off it is The Rebel Jesus sung by Jackson Browne. In fact the whole CD is worth any amount of money, in fact I’ve bought it twice now. It’s official name is The Bells of Dublin and it is well worth listening to. By the way, we had snow today! And, it is STILL of the ground. Would you guess it is COLD? At least the streets aren’t slippery. Oh well, off to knit. I got some new yarn, Therapi from SWTC. It has ground up jadeite in it, how ’bout that! Mine is burgundy and really pretty.
    Bye from Ann and the Dallas Purrherd

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