Especially for retail workers, the holiday season can feel like a hellish repetition of the same 20 songs that are inescapable every time the radio comes on. Thankfully, this playlist is here to help with nontraditional Christmas song picks that will put some variety in your holiday listening, keeping you in the spirit without making you want to cover your ears. From covers of recognizable tunes to lesser-known holiday bops, this playlist can come in handy for when the standard picks become a little too unbearable.
“ ‘Tis The Damn Season” by Taylor Swift
Released in mid-December on Swift’s latest album Evermore, “ ‘Tis the Damn Season” is a surprise hit for the holiday season. Presumably about reconnecting with someone for a fling or settling the score with an old partner when visiting home for the holidays, this song perfectly captures the melancholy of coming back to your hometown. While it might not be safe to return home for most folks, this song can bring you right back to what a homecoming feels like.
“If We Make it Through December” by Phoebe Bridgers
Bridgers’ cover of Merle Haggard’s 1973 song wistfully captures the unfortunate tribulations of the holiday season, with the wishful idea of getting through the remaining few months without more misfortunes. Bridger’s version has a much more somber tone, perfect for the year 2020, as many of us have unironically wondered if we’d make it this far in one piece. If holiday cheer isn’t your thing, this song is perfect for yearning for what could be a better time come summer.
“Christmas in L.A.” by The Killers feat. Dawes
An alternative to “White Christmas” for those who never seem to be in a climate cold enough for snow, “Christmas in L.A.” is perfect for anyone who doesn’t feel like their situation calls for celebration or for anyone unable to go home for the holidays. The Killers’ original hit is reminiscent of the band’s usual sound, if not a little more stripped back and emotional.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Kacey Musgraves and Lana Del Rey
Featuring a somewhat unexpected pairing of Del Rey and Musgraves, this cover of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” feels like a more sophisticated bar rendition of the holiday classic. The voices of these two ladies blend beautifully together, providing mellow harmonies that soothe the ears. Together, Musgraves and Del Rey prove that with the classics, sometimes simplicity is key.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” by the Cast of Phineas and Ferb
One of the more cheerful songs on this playlist, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is the original holiday hit with a Phineas and Ferb spin. This song highlights the show’s best running jokes and each featured character’s personality, making it completely unique to any other Christmas song. In fact, this whole album is humorous and relentlessly joyful, making it an unexpected must-listen every holiday season for those in the mood to laugh.