Tis the Season! Here’s my updated Top 10 all-time favorite Christmas (and a couple of Hanukkah) songs with another dozen or so Honorable Mentions. Please enjoy my “Free Form Christmas” Spotify playlist below as well. Its got eclectic sounds from Motown to Country, Jazz to Rock and Roll. Happy Holidays!

Here’s the Playlist: Check out Ken’s Spotify playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7cryt8IGTzXIzJpElywJHD

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (Darlene Love) – All-time classic #1. And she’s still rockin’ it!

“Christmas All Over Again” (Tom Petty) – “I want a Rickenbacker guitar!” Nuff said.

“Greensleeves/My Favorite Things” (John Coltrane) See how I got two Coltrane tunes in there.

“Everything’s Gonna be Cool this Christmas” (Eels) – the coolest Christmas song ever.

“The Rebel Jesus” (Jackson Browne) “But pardon me if I have seemed to take the tone of judgment…”

“Hanukkah Dance” (Woody Guthrie) – When you move from Oklahoma to Brooklyn, you write a song about “my little latke.” The version from Nefesh Mountain below is delightful.

“Merry Christmas, I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight” (Ramones) – A punk-rock Christmas is a win-win!

“Father Christmas” (Kinks) – All time classic #2.

“Cupid Winter Song” (Toy Sale) – a short-lived band from RI singer-songwriter Ava Callery… so good! Listen below.

Honorable Mention:

“River” (Joni Mitchell) – Sweet Joni. So lyrical.

“Mrs. Claus Kimono” (Drive-By Truckers) – the Truckers tell the stories no one else wants to.

“Run Run Rudolph” (Foo Fighters) – The Foo’s rock out on the Chuck Berry classic.

“Christmas in Prison” (John Prine) – “the food was real good”

“2000 Miles” (Pretenders) – We’ve all been there!

“8 Days of Hanukkah” (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings) – “Day 5, I like it more than Pesach.” Find me a funkier Hanukkah tune.

“Fairytale of New York” (Pogues) – It’s not all joy and cheer.

“Christmas All Summer Long” (Deer Tick) – Who says you can’t rock out on Christmas morning? Or in August…

“Back Door Santa” (Clarence Carter) – Dirty blues for the holidays. And check out the cool version by Jet.

“Christmas Wrapping” (The Waitresses) – Once upon a time this was the only alternative/indie Christmas hit. (These days, there are many.)

“I’m Spending Hanukah in Santa Monica” (Tom Lehrer)  “I spent Shavuos in East St. Louis…”

“Christmas in Washington” (Steve Earle) – Some things never seem to change.

“Merry Christmas Baby” (Etta James) – Classic! It will last forever.

Christmas Must Be Tonight (The Band) – Who doesn’t miss The Band?

“Post Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” (Tom Waits) – Still classic after all these years.

Check out Ken’s Spotify playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7cryt8IGTzXIzJpElywJHD

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines.
Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse," a roots/folk/rock radio show every Tuesday, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM. He is a former educator in the Scituate, RI school system where he taught Social Studies for over 30 years.
Ken is presently on the board of the Rhode Island Folk Festival and Newport Live (formerly Common Fence Music), a non-profit that brings diverse musical acts to the Newport area.