5 Christmas Songs That Won’t Nauseate You

There are some mildly offensive Christmas songs out there, as Care2 blogger Kevin Mathews has written. Then there are the downright cloying ones that get in your head on endless rewind (“Feliz Navidad”). What is it about “Jingle Bells” that can make hearing it (with sleigh bells jingling in the background) downright exasperating?  ”The Twelve Days of Christmas” is great when you start and then can feel like an awful lot to slog through by the time you’re at the seven swans a-swimming.

Tastes differ of course, but the five songs below are mostly cheese-free and show you can mess with traditions and they’ll still survive.

1) “Lullay, Lullow”

This 15th-century version of what is also known as the Coventry Carol has a lilt and a beat suggestive of the original meaning of “carole,” a social dance in which the performers sung. It is stately but also has a bit of a kick, reminding us that the original version of this carol was not dour but spirited.

2) “I want an alien for Christmas”

New Jersey’s Fountains of Wayne sing, in light-hearted ironic earnestness, of a “kinda special” Christmas request that Mom and Dad may find even harder to procure than the trendiest toy. Should they find a “little green guy / about three feet high/ with seventeen eyes,” the plan is he’ll live in the bathtub. So don’t worry about a thing!

3. “The Little Drummer Boy,” Bowie and Bing version

David Bowie shows up at Bing Crosby’s front door, they chat about music (Bowie lists one of the “older” performers he likes as “Lennon”). Then glam rocker and pop crooner join each other at the piano and launch into “The Little Drummer Boy,” with requisite pa rum pa pum pum-ing.

4) A Bare Bones “Silent Night”

Sinead O’Connor sings “Silent Night” slow, simply, with minimal accompaniment and in the sort of breathy whisper she used more recently when singing “Curly Locks” on her reggae album, Throw Down Your Arms.

5) “Fairy Tale of New York”

Christmas is “as much the problem as it is the solution” — as indeed it can be — in the Pogues’ Christmas anthem. “Fairytale of New York” comes up as number one in polls of the best Christmas songs: Not half-bad for one that begins “in the drunk tank,” mentions “cars big as bars and rivers of gold,” describes the beginning of love on a cold Christmas Eve and proceeds to “you scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy f—– / Happy Christmas your a—, I pray God it’s our last.”


Related Care2 Coverage

A Joseph and Joseph Nativity Scene That Makes a Point

5 Wars More Important Than The War on Christmas

10 Ways to Deal with Conservative Relatives During the Holidays


Photo from Thinkstock


Andrea M.
Andrea M5 years ago

I always tend to like the less traditional songs better than those that are so overplayed. Only problem is that sometimes those less traditional songs are very hard to find.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill5 years ago

These are very unusual. My most favorite Christmas song is "Angels We Have Heard On High". I have always loved it.

Ana Passos
Past Member 5 years ago


Christine Stewart

I love the little drummer boy, the one about the little boy trying to buy Christmas shoes for his mom, and the one about Maria and the injured bird that is healed on Christmas- something about innocent little kids getting a bit of a miracle on Christmas- always makes me cry!

Gita Sasi Dharan
Gita Sasi Dharan5 years ago


Mar Mcneil
Mar M5 years ago

Bowie and Bing ... the duo couldn't have been more different...lolo... well all the songs are over now, collecting dust and cob webs until next year... but always good to sing and hear each year.

Elizabeth Koenig
Elizabeth Koenig5 years ago

Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

Anne F.
Anne F5 years ago

Thanks for some unusual clips

Jean Wall
Jean Wall5 years ago


paul m.
paul m5 years ago