Some people love them, other hate the, but Christmas songs are impossible to avoid in December. Some of them eventually become nauseating; especially for the poor folk in retail who have probably had to hear them since mid-October. That’s not to say there aren’t some greats out there. The Pogues, Bruce Springsteen, and let’s be honest – Mariah Carey, all have fantastic Christmas classics, but the alternative music world is where some of the real gems lie.
Christmas music is a pool in which the punk community has been fishing for years. We have put together a playlist of some of the best alternative Christmas songs to see you through your December, and hopefully ease the pain of constantly hearing ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ while doing your Christmas shopping. Enjoy!
NO DOUBT – OI TO THE WORLD
No Doubt took a stylistic change later on in their career, as did vocalist Gwen Stefani. However, they were once a decent ska-punk band. Originally written by fellow Orange County punks, The Vandals, No Doubt add some extra sunshine to this tale of rude boys, skins, and unity. This one is sure to make your cold winter nights a little brighter.
BLINK 182 – I WON’T BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
Somewhat borrowing the title of crooner Bing Crosby’s I’ll be Home for Christmas, this is vintage Blink 182. Yes, it’s filled with the type of dark humour we have come to expect from them, but this anti-Christmas anthem is too catchy not to include on this playlist. Anyone who has ever had to feign a smile to someone at Christmas will undoubtedly relate.
THE ROCKING HORSE WINNER – CHRISTMAS DAY
They may not have had the longest career, but the Florida emo band The Rocking Horse Winner still found the time to write a Christmas song. Their glorious sound reaches its peak on ‘Christmas Day’, carried by Jolie Lindholm’s crisp vocal melodies. Certainly one for the lovers out there.
F**KED UP AND FRIENDS – DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS?
Everyone should already be familiar with the Band Aid original (and its subsequent re-recordings) but when F**ked Up enlisted a group of their friends to cover this, it gave the song a completely new feel. GZA, Tegan and Sara, Bob Mould, Andrew WK, Vampire Weekend, and actor David Cross joined the Canadian punks to help raise money for several charities with this release, and they add a dash of humour to the track.
JIMMY EAT WORLD – 12.23.95
Perhaps not strictly a Christmas song, this is still worthy of inclusion. A simple, sad, break up song from Jimmy Eat Worlds definitive album Clarity. If you (unfortunately) find yourself lonely this Christmas, don’t listen to MUD. Instead, listen to this.
DUSTIN KENSRUE – CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME)
There are sometimes mixed feelings about the Thrice frontman’s Christmas album. On the whole This Good Night Is Still Everywhere is decent, but he really nailed it on his version of this Darlene Love classic.
SAOSIN – MOOKIES LAST CHRISTMAS
Recorded all the way back in 2003, just as the band started, it is not what you would call your typical Christmas song. However, it is one of Saosin’s finest tracks. From the heartfelt lyrics, to Anthony Greens ever-impressive vocal range – it is a more inventive, and original contemporary Christmas song.
RANCID – XMAS EVE (SHE GOT UP AND LEFT ME)
Buried deep in Rancid’s extensive back catalogue, these legendary California punks couldn’t resist having a go at a Christmas song. In typical Rancid fashion, it doesn’t pull any punches. It may be a tale of heartbreak, but is uplifting enough to raise your spirits this Christmas.
KING DIAMOND – NO PRESENTS FOR CHRISTMAS
It’s a bold move by any artist to release a Christmas song as your debut single, but especially so if you are King Diamond. Not that it matters, because ‘o Presents For Christmas showed the world what promise King and his new band had after the demise of Mercyful Fate. To this day it is one of King Diamond’s most beloved songs, and is one of the few metal songs that manages to carry a Christmas theme without sounding ridiculous.
MXPX – CHRISTMAS NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
Two minutes of lightning-quick punk rock fury from Mike Herrera and co. If you love Christmas, and you love Horror – zombies in particular, then this will have both ends of the spectrum covered for you.
RAMONES – MERRY CHRISTMAS (I DON’T WANT TO FIGHT TONIGHT)
Probably the quintessential punk rock Christmas song. No one wants any drama or fighting at Christmas. Whether it’s personal, or physical, even a gang like the Ramones need a break to enjoy the festive season.
FROM FIRST TO LAST – X12 DAYS OF XXXMASX
Laugh if you will, but From First to Last deserve as much a place as any here. This blistering hardcore punk track from Sonny Moore’s pre-Skrillex outfit poked fun at every early 00’s scene cliché imaginable. Hot Topic, social media, vinyl collectors, straightedge, hardcore crews… Nothing was safe. Not the most serious of tracks on our list, but still great fun for the holidays.