Alternative Christmas Songs

Best alternative Christmas songs: Rock out at Xmas!

Tired of hearing the same regurgitation of traditional Christmas carols and tunes every festive season? It’s time to check out some alternative Christmas songs. 

As great as the chart toppers might be, they can also get a little grinding after a while. Most people can only hear All I Want for Christmas so many times before they throw their radio out of the window.

If you prefer rockin’ around the Christmas tree to Santa Baby, it might be time to shake up your holiday routine.

There are plenty of great alternative rock Christmas anthems out there from iconic artists like Def Leppard, Weezer, and Newfound Glory.

We’re going to help you find the ultimate Xmas playlist with a list of our favorite alternative Christmas songs. 

1. New Found Glory – Nothing for Christmas

A slightly slower song than some of the tunes we’ll be covering today, New Found Glory’s Nothing for Christmas is a romantic tune about finding exactly what you need in the holiday season. 

The song was released via Spotify, making it a lesser-known tune from an otherwise extremely popular band. You can also find the song on a host of different alt-rock Christmas albums.

2. All Time Low – Fool’s Holiday

Another excellent example of alternative Xmas music for your punk-pop party, All Time Low’s song Fool’s Holiday, is incredibly catchy with a few carol-like sections thrown in to mix things up. 

We love the romantic element of this Christmas-themed song, which appeared on the amazing album Punk Goes Christmas, featuring songs recreated by punk bands. 

Make sure you check out Merry Christmas, Kiss My Ass by All Time Low too.

3. Fall Out Boy – Yule Shoot Your Eye Out

Written to mimic some of the elements of the traditional carol Twelve Days of Christmas, Fall Out Boy released Yule Shoot Your Eye Out in 2009 in the album Believer’s Never Die – Greatest Hits. 

This is a fantastic song if you’re already a fan of Fall Out Boy as it follows their traditional style quite closely. However, this song may not appeal as much to those who prefer the newer songs by the same band.

4. Real Friends – I Had a Heart

Produced as part of the Punk Goes Christmas album by Fearless Records, Real Friend’s I Had a Heart is another Christmas-themed tune for your list of alt Christmas songs.

This is a song likely to appeal to anyone who loves the more emotional side of the alternative scene.

5. Blink 182 – I Won’t Be Home for Christmas

Regarded by many punk-pop fans to be the ultimate Christmas song, Blink 182’s I Won’t be Home for Christmas is a fantastic tune to sing along to. In classic Blink style, you’ll get a lot of amazing guitar riffs and fun drum sections. 

This tune was released in 2005 when the original lineup for Blink was still active, including Mark, Tom, and Travis, rather than Matt Skiba. 

6. Weezer – We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Any alternative music lover is likely to have a place in their heart for Weezer. The band delivered the We Wish You a Merry Christmas cover in 2008 as a short but fun tune for Xmas lovers. 

The album for this song Christmas with Weezer is definitely worth checking out if you want to hear some Christmas carols in a new way. The full collection of songs includes O Come all ye Faithful, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, O Holy Night, and many others. 

7. Smashing Pumpkins – Christmastime

This is one of the older songs to appear in our list of alternative Christmas music. It was originally recorded during the band’s sessions for their fourth album.

The tune also appeared on the A Very Special Christmas charity compilation album. 

8. Ramones – Merry Christmas

Another popular choice among the best alternative Christmas songs, this Ramones tune will definitely get people singing along for your Xmas party. Otherwise known as I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight, the fast-paced song is fun and festive in equal measure. 

There’s even an official music video to go with it. The tune first appeared in 1989. 

9. No Doubt – Oi to the World

Want to add a little Ska to your alternative Christmas music? No Doubt has you covered. This is a truly infectious song from the popular band, offering a skin-head style salute to all things Christmassy. 

Originally, Oi to the World appeared in 1997 on the B-Side to the Happy Now? song from Tragic Kingdom.

10. Def Leppard – We All Need Christmas

If you’re aching for a little classic rock to drown out the sound of Wham on the radio, Def Leppard has its very own Christmas song. The tune We All Need Christmas will appeal to all kinds of alternative music lovers, like punks and alt-rockers. 

The song is one of the finest acoustic ballads from the band, complete with an amazing final coda. 

11. Queen – A Winter’s Tale

Let’s face it. You just can’t have a list of alternative Christmas songs without paying some homage to the icons of rock — Queen. Freddie Mercury definitely transforms this classic song A Winter’s Tale with his unforgettable voice. 

The song appeared on the post-humous Queen album Made in Heaven in 1995.

12. David Bowie – Little Drummer Boy

You might argue the Little Drummer Boy song is more of a classic tune for the Christmas season, particularly because it features the amazing Bing Crosby. However, the transcendent version of the song is definitely unique, thanks to Bowie’s vocals.

The track has also been covered by a number of different artists over the years, such as Pentatonix, and there’s even an alternative version created by Beck called the Little Drum Machine Boy.

13. Sunrise Skater Kids – 12 Days of a Punk-Pop Christmas

This interesting song by the lesser-known punk-pop band Sunrise Skater Kids delivers a funky tune for the holiday season that’s equal parts memorable and novel. 

The song goes through the twelve days of Christmas like the traditional carol but with references to things like pizzas, pairs of Vans, and other punk-pop icons. 

14. Yellow Card – Christmas Lights

Yellow Card’s cover of the song Christmas Lights is a must-have if you’re a lover of alternative Christmas music. The unique sound of Yellow Card really adds something special to this famous hit, and it’s great for anyone who wants to feel a swell of joy during the Christmas season. 

It’s definitely a worthwhile alternative to the original song by Coldplay. 

15. The Kinks – Father Christmas

Father Christmas by the Kinks is an excellent tune for any alternative Christmas playlist.

This fantastic song threatens to beat up Father Christmas if he doesn’t give his dad a job. 

16. Judy Garland – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

You’ll find yourself tearing up as Judy sings this song that evokes the melancholia that can come with the holidays.

With lyrics like “Through the years, we all will be together if the fates allow” and “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough,” this song celebrates hope, love, and family during Christmas.

17. The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping

This 80s hit is still as catchy as ever. With its upbeat melody and relatable lyrics, it’s a perfect song for getting into the holiday spirit.  

The story of a busy, single woman trying to make it through the holidays and finding love in an unexpected place is heartwarming and funny.

Plus, who can resist singing along to that iconic chorus?

The song has all the elements of a great alternative Christmas song. From funky music and an upbeat tempo, this is one you’ll be dancing to during your holiday party!

18. Bessie Smith – At the Christmas Ball

Travel back in time with this classic blues song released in December 1940 by the legendary Bessie Smith.

Its smooth melody and soulful vocals make it a perfect tune for a cozy, blue Christmas Eve by the fireplace.

But don’t be fooled by its soothing sound – the lyrics tell a story of romance and drama at a Christmas ball. This makes it one of the best Christmas oldies that’ll take you back in time.

19. The Killers – Don’t Shoot Me Santa

For those who like their Christmas songs with a twist, The Killers have you covered with this dark but humorous tune.

In true alternative rock style, the song tells the story of a man on the run from Santa, who he believes is out for revenge.  

The alternative rock band brings some festive cheer that’s both entertaining and unexpected. 

The turn of events in this song makes it a standout Christmas song for those who want to stick to something other than traditional tunes.

20. John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War is Over)

A holiday song with a powerful message, Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon has become an iconic protest against war.

The song serves as a reminder of the importance of peace during the holiday season.

The song’s peaceful and optimistic message is still relevant today. Consequently, it’s a timeless alternative Christmas song that deserves a spot on your holiday playlist.

21. Big Star – Jesus Christ

This alternative Christmas song is a favorite among indie and alt-rock fans.

With its hauntingly beautiful melody and thought-provoking lyrics, it’s a perfect contrast to the usual cheery holiday tunes.

The song delves into the deeper meaning of Christmas Day, questioning the commercialization and consumerism that often takes over during this time of year. 

The song features bright stars shining on King David’s city, depicting angels from the realms of glory. This serves as an incongruous reminder of the religious origins of Christmas.

22. David Bowie and Bing Crosby – Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth

In the traditional setup, Little Drummer Boy is a beautiful and classic Christmas song. But when David Bowie teams up with Bing Crosby, we get a unique and unforgettable alternative version. 

The contrasting voices of these two iconic musicians blend to create something magical.

Plus, the addition of the Peace on Earth melody adds depth and significance to the song’s message of hope and unity during the holiday season. It’s a timeless collaboration that makes one of the most excellent alternative Christmas songs.

23. The Carpenters – Merry Christmas Darling

This is your go-to alternative Christmas song for a chilled-out Christmas playlist. It’s among the best songs to unwind in the living room, bathed in the glow of the Christmas tree.

This song captures the nostalgia and longing for a loved one during the holiday season. 

Karen Carpenter’s soothing vocals and peaceful melody make this a perfect song to slow down and reflect on what truly matters during Christmas time– love and family. 

So cozy up with some hot cocoa and let The Carpenters’ Merry Christmas Darling be your soundtrack for a peaceful and heartwarming holiday season.

24. Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You

Released in 1994, the opening note of this song spreads more of a Christmas message than all Santas from every mall. 

This song has that indescribable quality that makes it an instant classic. With its upbeat melody and Mariah’s powerhouse vocals, it’s impossible not to feel festive and joyful while listening to this song.

Trust me, it’s nearly impossible to remain seated and gloomy when this track starts playing. You’ll either smile or do a little dance – either way, it’ll be a great time.

While some may claim the song is overplayed during the Christmas holiday, the excitement it arouses is still infectious. It’s a must-have on every alternative Christmas song playlist.

25. Brenda Lee – I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus

This is a merry tune with a bizarre lesson about Santa kidnapping.

I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus is a threat by Brenda Lee towards Santa for its crimes of present withholding. Lee promises to “take his bags of toys and run and bring to all the kids who don’t have none.”   

The song is a lighthearted twist on the traditional Christmas spirit with a catchy tune that will leave you singing along and laughing at the absurdity of it all.

Its sheer absurdity makes it one of the weirdest Christmas songs of all time.

26. Sufjan Stevens – It’s Christmas! Let’s Be Glad!

This song by indie artist Sufjan Stevens is full of quirky, whimsical lyrics that will put a smile on your face.

“Even if the year’s been bad, there are presents to be had” – a reminder not to take the holidays too seriously and just enjoy the simple pleasures of Christmas.

The song’s cheerful melody and imaginative lyrics are ideal for a Christmas playlist.

Its upbeat rhythm and cheerful tone make it a perfect holiday song to dance around to while decorating or baking cookies.

27. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Just Another Christmas Song

From The Little Drummer Boy to Rudolph, this song has lyrics that touch on everything we’ve come to expect from a Christmas song.

But Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings add their signature soulful sound and energy, making it a refreshing and unique soundtrack for Christmas. 

With Jones’ powerhouse vocals, you’ll be singing along and moving to the beat in no time. Consequently, it’s a go-to track if you’re tired of listening to Christmas radio stations.

28. Bad Religion – Father Christmas

Written by Ray Davies and released in 1977 by The Kinks, this punk rock cover of Father Christmas by Bad Religion is a rebellious and energetic twist on the traditional holiday tune. 

With its fast-paced guitar riffs and raw vocals, it’s enough to get anyone in the Christmas spirit – punk style.

The lyrics also delve into the harsh realities of poverty during the holidays, reminding us to be grateful for what we have.

29. James White – Christmas With Satan

This was the strangest track in the holiday album released by Ze Records in 1981.

According to this track, James White apparently spent his Christmas with Satan.

The track features a frenzied and chaotic mix of punk, avant-garde, and funk music. It’s not your typical Christmas song, but it’s definitely a unique addition to any alternative Christmas playlist.

The idea of James White spending Christmas with Satan may seem bizarre, but in the end, it’s all just a playful and humorous take on the holiday season.

30. Jingle Cats – Silent Night

Nothing creates a Christmas mood like the sound of cats meowing in unison along with beloved carols.  

Yet, somehow, this album by the Jingle Cats became a cult classic during the holiday season, a throwback to its Jingle Bells counterpart. 

Silent Night is just one of many songs featured on their album, all sung entirely by cats. It’s a purrfectly silly and lighthearted addition to any alternative Christmas playlist.

The song is guaranteed to add some humor to your Christmas playlist and lighten the mood during the hectic holiday season.

Plus, who doesn’t love cats?

31. Wham! – Last Christmas

Let’s face the reality—Christmas isn’t a great time for everyone. This is especially true when images of happy couples and their families are constantly being shoved in your face. 

But Wham!’s Last Christmas”offers a different perspective on this holiday.

Glee Cast and Wham!’s mournful and wistful lyrics tell the story of someone who has had their heart broken during Christmas. 

Lyrics like, “Well, it’s been a year / It doesn’t surprise me,” the song paints a full picture of romantic ups and downs.

It’s a reminder that not everyone celebrates during the holidays and to be mindful of those struggling.

In addition, the catchy beat and sing-along chorus make it a perfect addition to any alternative Christmas playlist.

So whether you’re heartbroken or just love a good throwback song, Last Christmas is a must-have for the holiday season.

Design your alternative Christmas song playlist

Alternative Christmas songs are everywhere if you know where to look for them. Hopefully, this list has given you an excellent starting point to start bringing together your own collection of punk-pop, alternative, and indie music for the festive holidays. 

Remember, you can also find other guides to radio channels, songs, and Christmas music here on Radio Fidelity. 

You may be interested in our Christmas-related articles, such as “When does Christmas music start on the radio?”. We also have a list of the Best Radio Stations for Christmas Music and the Most Famous Christmas One-Hit Wonders. You can also stroll down memory lane using our Guide to Long-Forgotten Chrismas Songs!

Radio Fidelity: For the love of radio.

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