Top 10 Alternative Rock Christmas Songs

It’s that time of the year again. Time to revisit all the good old classic Christmas songs. Again. Or just forget about them and go for alternative songs instead. I have put together a list with my own favorites. Some are non-traditional songs and some are classics with more or less new arrangements.

10. “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” – Weezer (2008)
A rather classic version of the song, with just a little nerve added to make it interesting.

9. “The Season’s Upon Us” – Dropkick Murphys (2012)
Here’s a family you do not want to spend Christmas with. Trust me. You want to listen though, the lyrics are hilarious. Sounds like your average sweet Christmas carol, until you start to listen to the lyrics.

8. “Jingle Bells” – Drown The Witness
A ska/punk version of a classic Christmas song? Why not? It’s brilliant!

7. “O Come All Ye Faithful” – Bad Religion (2013)
This just fits so good, it’s almost as if the song was written to have heavy speeding punk rock drums in the background.

6. “(It’s Gonna Be A) Punk Rock Christmas” – The Ravers (1977)
This song appeals to the punk rocker in me and puts me in my own kind of Christmas mood. Apparently this song is often attributed to Sex Pistols, but The Ravers is an American duo. Given that this song was released the same year as Sex Pistols’ only album, I’d say the resemblance is deliberate.

5. “I Almost Met Santa Claus” – Marc Amendola (2003)
If this isn’t the joyful spirit of Christmas I don’t know what is. A perfect blend of punk rock and nu metal at breakneck speed. This song is a one-off, very different from Marc Amendola’s usual music.

4. “Fairytale Of New York” – The Pogues Featuring Kirsty MacColl (1987)
I don’t know what it is about this song. It’s certainly not high quality vocals, the story is sad and bitter, and the lyrics is about as explicit as you can get away with. Or rather, probably shouldn’t get away with, but still it works. ”You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot, Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God it’s our last”. Yet it remains, year after year, one of the most popular Christmas songs ever recorded. And it’s painfully beautiful despite all the misery.

3. “O Holy Night” – Mark Lanegan (2012)
Wow. Just wow. What a voice for a Christmas carol! Makes me wonder why he didn’t do it sooner. This is so beautiful.

2. “Let Me Sleep (It’s Christmas Time)” – Pearl Jam (1991)
So fragile, delicate and beautiful, only the voice of Eddie Vedder can do this song justice. It’s like a soft, warming blanket. This was the first of Pearl Jam’s annual Christmas singles.

1. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – Scott Weiland (2011)
Classic version, no more no less, but a perfect match between voice and song. He nails it, it’s perfect. All the Christmas spirit anyone can ask for is there. It’s so beautiful, and now so sad. Normally this wouldn’t be my no 1, but this year it has to be, and we all know why.

This entry was posted in Alternative, Grunge, Hard Rock, Lists, Rock Features and tagged , by Hanna Graf. Bookmark the permalink.

About Hanna Graf

Hanna Graf lives in Sweden but has a great love for American alternative music. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg. Hanna's favourite bands are Green Day, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Audioslave and Soundgarden. She started writing for Alternative Nation after witnessing Dave Grohl fall from the stage and break his leg during a Foo Fighters concert. Contact:
  • Corndog

    I don’t get how Fairytale of New York is alternative? It couldn’t be more mainstream if it tried. At least it is where i’m from…

    • nomad

      It’s like John Lennon’s Imagine. Most everyone loves it, but I don’t like it!

      • Corndog

        Same here. Can’t stand either song:)

  • http://www.cuntcertfy.nut/ Whip

    When I think of Scott Weiland and Christmas songs, it’s got to be the first time I heard him singing the Christmas song “from the Peanuts Christmas Special.” I first heard it on a bootleg CD in the late 90’s and it’s always remained kind of special to me.
    I believe this is the version of it here:

  • NoneOfYourBizzness

    Weiland’s “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” has been my favorite since I saw the performance live on Leno. It blew me away. Makes you realize how great of a singer he really was. RIP.

  • — J —

    The Dandy Warhols’ Little Drummer Boy is the only version I will ever listen to.

    • — J —

      And these guys are more alternative than half the bands on the list.

  • rustyshackleford462

    “Dark” Mark and Isobel Campbell had this little ditty, too.

  • Philippe Gaudet

    I’m really surprised you wouldn’t include “Christmastime” by The Smashing Pumpkins though… it’s really good.

  • Josip Juki?

    Where is Chris Cornell’s/Eleven’s Ave Maria? 😉

  • Raj

    Yup Weiland nailed it, he was channeling his inner Dean Martin/Frank Sinatra.

  • nomad

    You forgot Luscious Jackson’s “Let It Snow”

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