This year, my very English boyfriend is making me wear a Christmas jumper over the holidays. My God, the things I do for love.
I’m not keen on the idea, especially because there’s going to be a red reindeer nose sticking out of my chest and getting in the way every time I lean forward at table. So, we’ve come to a compromise; I’ll wear the stupid jumper, but he has to listen to my Christmas album during every festive activity, and he’s going to enjoy it.
And so are you. For those of you who pretend to not like this genre of music, and for those of you who roll their eyes and get your Scrooge on every time you enter a shop and they’re playing one of the below, you’re all liars. We all know you’ve got a secret playlist on your iPods, and we know you go all giddy when the Home Alone soundtrack comes on. Don’t fight it anymore, homies. Show your appreciation for these anthems… unless it’s the Boney M Christmas collection.
Happy Xmas, War Is Over – John Lennon & Yoko The Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir
No it’s not, Lennon. No it’s not. Have you been watching 2015/2016 from up there in heaven? Oh my days, chief. War is anything but over. This song had been written by Lennon and Ono back in 1971 as a protest against the Vietnam War, and its message – particularly these last few years of the post 9/11 era – has been poignant. So no, war is not over, even if we don’t want it, and for all the cheesiness of Christmas tunes, I hope we can all at least see the bitter irony with this one.
Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid 1984
Thirty-two years on, and we still haven’t made poverty history. So much so that the Band Aid project has had to remaster it two more times in 2004 and 2014 in order to get the message across. We mostly hear the 1984 version being played, and with good reason too. You had Sting, U2, Kool and the Gang, Phil Collins, George Michael, Duran Duran, Status Quo and Spandau Ballet, and everybody had lovely hair… except for Phil Collins.
Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin’ Stevens
At the time of writing, I’m in a foul mood, so this classic isn’t really doing it for me. If I happen to be in a good mood – and yes, it’s been known to happen – I absolutely adore it, but right now, my rent is due, my bank is once again being incompetent, I don’t own a cat, there’s no chocolate in the fridge and I can’t find my thermal socks. So no, I’m not feeling it, Shakin’ Stevens. I hope the rest of you are, though. It is a favourite when I’ve got cash to spend.
I Believe in Father Christmas – Greg Lake
Scientists and psychologists have recently been urging parents not to fuel the myth of Father Christmas… And then Greg Lake comes on the radio. I won’t get into this debate because it’s a) too early in the morning and b) the final climax of this song is just breathtaking. This classic ends on a truly magical swirl of orchestration. However, Lake had written the song as a protest against the commercialisation of Christmas, so it was quite ironic when it hit Number 2 in the UK charts in 1975. The instrumental sections are actually Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé suite for a Soviet film of the same name – talk about a political statement gone wrong. But hey, it’s a beautiful number.
A Spaceman Came Travelling – Chris de Burgh
Now here’s a beauty which I could listen to all year round. It’s a bit of a twist on the the Nativity, where Angel Gabriel turns out to be a time-travelling spaceman from the 70s who prophesises that his awesome single will inspire the whole world 2000 years later. Unfortunately, it only made it big in Ireland, but once de Burgh released Lady In Red, the momentum caught up… eventually. Irony aside, this is a truly beautiful song that echoes the Galilean carpenter’s philosophy of “peace and good will toward men”.
All Alone For Christmas – Darlene Love
This one isn’t really right up there with the classics, but it’s an amazing song which I highly recommend. You may probably know it from Home Alone 2, in that now very heart-wrenching scene with the Twin Towers. It’s got Darlene Love’s powerful vocals, and like the Christmas defsa that he is, Macauley Culkin makes a cameo in the music video. It’s a feel-good festive song that’s too wonderful to leave out.
Of course, we couldn’t mention all of them – and yes, we have left out Last Christmas by Wham! – so we’ll let you tell us your favourites in the comment section below.