Christmas Playlist

A plague on the X-Factor, with its manufactured music and manufactured hype to get the Christmas Number One. (Not that any of these things are new.) So a campaign to usurp it, like the previous one to get Jeff Buckley‘s version of Leonard Cohen‘s ‘Hallelujah

up the charts, rather than Alexandra Burke‘s, is something I would welcome.

Except I can’t really go for Rage Against The Machine‘s ‘Killing In The Name‘, with its proliferation of f-words. Sorry.

But more positively, it set me thinking about what would be on my personal Christmas playlist.

Sufjan Stevens‘ 5-EP collection ‘Songs For Christmas‘ contains so many gems.  How about his version of ‘Come, thou fount of every blessing’?

For fun, you have to have Dylan. Yes, really: the old goat is laugh-a-minute. The recent ‘Must be Santa’ has to be in there:

Bruce Cockburn‘s ‘Christmas‘ CD from the 1990s was pretty stunning. ‘Joy to the world’ is but one of the gems – unfortunately, I don’t seem to be able to add the video into WordPress either directly or indirectly, so click here or possibly here to see it. Anyway, you won’t be surprised to find Cockburn in this list, since this blog’s name is inspired by him!

Back to the daft, and I have an irrational affection for ‘I Want An Alien For Christmas’ by the Fountains Of Wayne:

And for real Christmas kitsch, there’s nothing like a pseudo-Phil Spector sound, so over to Bruce Springsteen for ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’:

Or for the real thing, Darlene Love and ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’:

I mean, you just don’t need Mariah Carey, do you?

Of the mainstream big Christmas hits, there’s something I like about the guitar sound on Chris Rea‘s ‘Driving Home For Christmas’:

But where’s the Christian stuff?  Randy Stonehill has written a couple. I can’t find a video online of ‘Christmas Song For All Year Round’, but someone has put pictures to the poignant ‘Christmas At Denny’s’:

For Christian cynicism about the commercial season, I can’t trace a video by Larry Norman himself of his song ‘Christmastime’, but here is Stonehill’s version, complete with the immortal lines

Christmastime is coming and the kids are getting greedy
They know it’s in the store because they’ve seen it on the TV

Well, that’s just some random stuff from me. What do you love at this time of year? What can’t you stand?


  1. I also love Christmas music – but give me the traditional carols for this time of year! I love Dylan and Springsteen, but not at Christmas. What I also love is the connection with family, the crackling on the pork (my husband is a wizz at this) and Boxing Day on the beach. What I don’t like is rude people in shops, trying to find a parking spot near said shops and, dare I admit it, the way some people go overboard with Christmas lights – one smarty-pants wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald to call them “boganvillas”. Bogan in Aussie is a not very clever person, bougainvilleas are beautiful tropical flowers – you probably know that!


    1. Don’t make us envious in the UK talking about Boxing Day on the beach when there’s snow on the ground here! 🙂

      I could talk about carols, too, but would have to be careful not to go on my annual rant about the theological deficiencies in some of the words! Maybe if I can find a positive way of writing about them, I’ll put together a post on that in the next few days.


  2. I’m a little more towards the traditional at this time of year, although I am a Randy Stonehill fan…..I’ll send you some links to some of our faves for Christmas. One album we listen to a lot this time of year is “Michael W. Smith – Christmas” from (1989)….the arrangments, the choirs, are just fabulous. (My favourite from that album, “Lux Venit”.)


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