By Erica Rankin
Let’s be real—by this time of year, we all have more than visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads.
With the modern Christmas season officially “beginning” as early as November, I find myself hesitant to turn my car’s FM radio on in December. No matter what station is playing, I can’t seem to escape the generic, endless playlist of holiday-related tunes that sadly go stale by the time Christmas Eve rolls around.
Don’t get me wrong—Christmas is, without a doubt, the most magical time of the year (I know, so cliché) and certainly there is nothing like belting out the familiar lyrics to the traditional songs we all grew up with. However, when you begin to have recurrent nightmares that involve a rabid, red-nosed reindeer (I’ll spare the details), it’s a sign that you need a mental break from even the most beloved holiday melodies.
With that being said, I give you a list of my personal favorite non-traditional “carols” that will keep your spirits up. Some are more popular than others—but they all are worth a listen.
1. Celebrate Me Home — Kenny Loggins
This popular tune emphasizes the warmth of sharing the holiday spirit with loved ones—no matter how far the distance may be.
2. Every Year, Every Christmas — Luther Vandross
What do you get when you take the perfect love song, and paint it with red and green? You guessed it.
3. The Secret of Giving — Reba McEntire
This song was also featured in The Secret of Giving, a Hallmark original movie starring McEntire herself.
4. Fairytale of New York — Celtic Thunder (originally by The Pogues)
This is known as one of the most popular Christmas songs in the UK. Unfortunately, the original has a few offensive lyrics, so here’s Celtic Thunder’s version.
5. Christmas All Over Again — Tom Petty
My mom is a big Tom Petty fan; naturally, I hear this one pretty frequently.
6. Breath of Heaven — Amy Grant
For those of you into the more religious aspect of the holidays, this is a breathtaking portrayal of Mary’s journey to Bethlehem.
7. I Don’t Wanna Spend One More Christmas Without You — ‘Nsync
This is one of the band’s original songs from their album, Platinum Christmas.
8. A New York City Christmas — Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty)
This upbeat tune calls for everyone to be a little more friendly during the holiday season.
9. Another Auld Lang Syne — Dan Fogelberg
Even though the lyrics are somewhat bittersweet, this is a classic that will never get old.
10. Gold and Green — Sugarland
Sugarland’s simple melody reminds us to appreciate the little things this holiday season—right down to the individual snowflakes that fall on the street.