The Definitive Holiday Song Ranking

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‘TIS THE SEASON.

I suppose it’s always some sort of season, but as a culture we’ve decided to unleash our inner San Francisco and refer to winter as The Season. A time for laughter, and cheer, good tidings, a magical fat man who breaks into your house by way of the chimney, and of course, holiday music.

NOW BEFORE YOU GO ALL DONALD TRUMP ON ME and get angry that this is a “Holiday” music ranking, trust me (ya boy’s Jewish by the way) when I say that I am well aware how much better Christmas is than everything else. This is essentially a ranking of Christmas songs, but two of them happen to be non-Christmas so I’M JUST TRYING TO PRESERVE MY JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY, YOU SWINES.

Rules:
• 
Most of these songs are covers of traditional Christmas songs, so don’t get all up in my grill telling me that these aren’t the original versions. The original versions were recorded 70 years ago and sound like dirty water trash.
• You’ll notice that “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is not here. That’s because that shit is rapey and weird.
• There’s no “Let It Snow” here. There’s no “White Christmas” here. There’s no “Silent Night” here. A lot of classics aren’t here, but them’s the berries.
• Sorry for being so mean.


10: “Señor Santa”
Y La Bamba

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This song is very weird. It’s basically a cover of “Mr. Sandman” which isn’t really a Christmas song, but turned into a Christmas song about Santa, but also Spanish-themed. It’s all over the place. Try saying Señor Santa without smiling. Can’t be done. At one point singer Luz Elena Mendoza says “We used a hankie when we blowed our nosies” which is some adorable Rugrats dialogue if I ever heard it. This song cracks.me.up.

9: “The Hanukkah Song”
Adam Sandler

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There are two Hanukkah songs. The first one is “I Have a Little Dreidel” which is probably the worst song ever recorded, and the second is Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah song. He went all Peter Jackson on it too, and kept making sequels – legend says he’s performed up to Part 5. The single best thing about these songs is that instead of saying anything at all about Hanukkah, he basically just lists a bunch of Jewish celebrities. Timeless. A+.

8: “Santa Baby”
Eartha Kitt

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This is probably the least strange of all the songs about somebody wanting to bang Santa. She never outright says she’s DTF, but it’s heavily implied. Like, who would call him ‘baby’ if they weren’t tryna get some? It’d be weird for a child to say ‘Santa Baby’. I’m veering off track I think.
My favorite part of this song is her really specific requests. She asks for a light blue convertible – which like, how you expect that bro to fit that down the chimney, Eartha? – and Christmas tree decorations from Tiffany. She’s asking for really expensive stuff. And a ring? She’s tryna lock that down. You go girl.

7: “What Are You Doing New Years Eve”
The Head & The Heart

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You’re probably all butthurt that I’m going with this version over the Zooey D version, but ‘tis what ‘tis. Her version was recorded on a webcam and doesn’t really have the ‘mmph’ that this version has. And, in a pinch, I’m going with Charity Rose Thielen’s voice over Zooey Deschanel’s voice every time. Sorry bout it. And let’s talk about the big finish, starting at 2:45. THAT’S THE STUFF, RIGHT THERE. This ending slays all other versions’ endings.

6: “Feliz Navidad”
José Feliciano

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First of all let’s just pause for a moment to reflect on what a true hero José Feliciano is in this picture. Look at that coat. My goodness.
“Feliz Navidad” is a great example of a song that people love to sing despite not knowing most of the words. Everybody is capable of singing ‘Feliz Navidad’, but then as soon as it gets to ‘Prospero Año y Felicidad’, everybody just mumbles that part awkwardly until José skips to English. This song is a hundred years long, even though it’s just the same lyrics over and over, but you don’t care about that. You’re too busy dancing.

5: “Carol of the Bells”
Trans-Siberian Orchestra

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Dear lord, can you even imagine being at a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert? Those lights are a little thing I like to call Too God Damn Much.
“Carol of the Bells” is a song that doesn’t make too much sense to me. It’s a Christmas song, but it’s extremely creepy. It’s not far off from the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack. TBO’s cover is spooky to the max. If you played this song for somebody for the first time, I’d be shocked if they guessed it’s a Christmas song. Either way, it’s a classic, and well worthy of the Top 5.

4: “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”
Jackson 5

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Child Michael Jackson had a better voice than every grown man in music. I’ll take child MJ’s voice over Freddie Mercury’s any day. I especially like that ‘Rooty-toot-toot and rump-a-tum-tums’ are real lyrics that somebody probably had to write down at some point. The song is excellent, but I think what gives this song Top 5 status is that it implies that Santa Claus is always watching you, like a little Narc. Don’t you dare whine or pout or cry because Big Brother Santa is watching you, god dammit.

3: “Linus & Lucy”
Vince Guaraldi Trio

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This might be the only jazz composition written to instantly put you in a good mood. If Christmas music is meant to inspire nostalgia, then give this song every effing award. It’s perfect. Iconic. Unstoppable. I’ll also take this opportunity to say that if you don’t like Peanuts you can go ahead and get the hell out of here. Creep.

2: “The Christmas Song”
Nat King Cole

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This shit right here is truly timeless. Nat King Cole’s voice is actual perfection, and even Paul McCartney’s cover can’t top this. Ignoring the mildly racist allusion to people dressed up like Eskimos, this song is perfect. Natty Ice even acknowledges that it’s been said many times, many ways – but the dear boy doesn’t care about that, because all he wants in this world is just to wish you a Merry Christmas. Jeez Louise. Helluva song.

1: “All I Want for Christmas is You”
Mariah Carey

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If you think for even one second that a better Christmas song has ever been or ever will be recorded, you need to check yourself into the nearest mental institution.

I’m not sure what she does the rest of the year, but in the month of December, I only recognize one god: #MARIAH. I don’t care about anything she does from January to November, but December belongs to her. If December was renamed “Mariah Month”, that would be 100% fine with me.

I looked up the stats on YouTube of how many plays the video has gotten, and saw this:

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LOOK AT THAT END-OF-THE-YEAR SPIKE. You can bet your sweet bippy that 4/5 people near you right now have listened to that song today. It might also be the only Christmas Song attached to a beloved music video. That video is legendary. Just M-dog, frolicking around in the snow and opening presents in her santa robe. How bout that part where she’s with the reindeer and the reindeer clearly wants nothing to do with her? Classic reindeer.
And let’s not pretend like when we hear this song we’re don’t immediately think of the scene in Love Actually where Jojen Reed plays drums.

And how bout that version with Jimmy Fallon and the Roots? Majesty.

Mariah, never stop never stopping.


Happy Holidays, y’all.

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