30 Holiday Songs That Don’t Suck

Check out these 100 percent non-sucky holiday songs!

In case you haven’t been to your local mall lately (or just stepped out of the house in general), the holidays are officially everywhere. And with holiday fever come a few telltale symptoms — like gift buying and giving, tree decorating, candle lighting, dreidel spinning, traveling, and hopefully tons of eggnog to wash it all down.

It’s also that time of year where you may be forced to listen to holiday songs every single place you go (Like, everywhere from your mom’s house to your local Starbucks.) You know what, though? Holiday songs get kind of a bad rap! After all, how many times can you listen to “Jingle Bells” before wanting to run screaming off the nearest snowdrift? This got us thinking — surely there have to be some supremely awesome holiday songs out there. You know, the kind of ditties that cleanse your mind and make you forget you’re listening to a holiday song at all. And that’s exactly why we rounded up a collection of our favorite holiday songs — the kind that definitely don’t suck. Enjoy!

+ Backstreet Boys, “It’s Christmastime Again”: We have to admit, we’re impressed — now competing with younger, spunkier boy bands like One Direction and The Wanted, BSB bring it home with their ultra-catchy Xmas track, which layers the boys’ rich harmonies just so over a blossoming string symphony. If “Love Actually” were released this year, we’re pretty sure this is what would play during the credits. YEAH, WE SAID IT. + Listen to Backstreet Boys, “It’s Christmastime Again.”

+ Christina Aguilera, “Merry Christmas, Baby”: Covered by everyone from Otis Redding to Elvis Presley, Xtina’s decadent, horn-driven take on this ’40s holiday tune leaves no vocal stone unturned — you can practically see Ledgentina sashaying down a flight of stairs a la Marilyn Monroe in a ball gown as she waits for her elves to encase her in fur and jewelry. + Listen to Christina Aguilera, “Merry Christmas, Baby.”

+ Christina Perri, “Something About December”: It’s easy to pass out in a holiday-induced shopping/cooking/traveling coma, but with her slow-burning, sentimental Xmas ballad, Christina helps remind us what what the holidays are really all about — family and friends. #AW. + Listen to Christina Perri, “Something About December.”

+ Destiny’s Child, “Carol Of The Bells”: We’re used to hearing this dramatic, orchestral track backing some climactic scene in a Christmas movie, but Destiny’s Child’s rendition sheds new light on the standby tune. Featuring the trio’s perfectly stacked a cappella harmonies, it totally reminds us of Beyoncé before she was Beyoncé, like back when she had cornrows and Kelly Rowland was rocking some seriously questionable red highlights. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere! + Listen to Destiny’s Child, “Carol Of The Bells.”

+ Dragonette, “Merry Xmas (Says Your Text Message)”: Haven’t we all been here? So maybe you’re dating a new dude or lady, and it’s not official enough to merit taking them home for the holidays, but if all you get come Christmas is a paltry “Merry Xmas” text, that kind of makes you want to throw a giant glass of eggnog in their general direction. And that’s where Dragonette’s holly jolly “EFF YOU” track comes in. + Listen to Dragonette, “Merry Xmas (Says Your Text Message).”

+ Fall Out Boy, “Yule Shoot Your Eye Out”: In their end-of-year kiss-off, the always optimistic Pete Wentz asks his ex-girlfriend to “dedicate your last breath to me before you bury yourself alive.” Because that’s what he wants for Christmas. #Emo. Also, we think this might be the track you play in the hours leading up to blink-182′s equally disenchanted “Boxing Day.” + Listen to Fall Out Boy, “Yule Shoot Your Eye Out.”

+ Fiona Apple, “Frosty The Snowman”: Taking a breather from considerably more depressing subjects, Fiona Apple sounds uncharacteristically jaunty in her description of a magical snowman being brought to life. Set to a plucky acoustic track, you’d think Fiona was actually enjoying herself or something. + Listen to Fiona Apple, “Frosty The Snowman.”

+ fun., “Sleigh Ride”: We knew we could count on the indie-leaning fun. for an ultra-melodic, terribly catchy Christmas cut. Backed by toe-tapping percussion and some irresistible strings and flute, Nate Ruess’ lighthearted voice sounds tailor-made for holiday fare. + Listen to fun., “Sleigh Ride.”

+ The Go-Go’s, “I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek”: Nerd alert! If you’re thinking this song’s by a certain ’80s girl rock band, then you’d be mistaken. This happy-go-lucky, deeply retro tune is by a different set of Go-Go’s, a ’60s British band led by a lisping Sue Smith to be exact — and they’re singing about a “Dr. Who”-inspired alien cyborg, AKA a “Dalek.” #Trivia. + Listen to The Go-Go’s, “I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek.”

+ Hanson, “Run Rudolph Run”: Originally popularized by Chuck Berry, this famous ’90s band of brothers (no, not the Jonas Brothers) stay true to the track’s unleashed energy, but add their own unique brand of alternative pop to the mix. + Listen to Hanson, “Run Rudolph Run.”

Listen to more holiday songs that don’t suck after the jump!

+ Kelly Sweet, “White Skies And Moonlight”: Y’all are about to have the hippest holiday ever. Layering traditional sleigh bells over edgy electro synths, Kelly’s romantic cut captures that winter crush feeling, and it’s probably what you’ll be shaking it to at your next Xmas party. + Listen to Kelly Sweet, “White Skies And Moonlight.”

+ Jackson 5, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”: What a way to find out that Santa doesn’t exist! Or…discover that your mom’s been cheating….#awkward. A Motown staple of the ages, the Michael Jackson-led tune is not only the perfect feel-good Christmas jam, but a vintage pop classic to boot. + Listen to Jackson 5, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”

+ James Brown, “Merry Christmas, I Love You”: Just one of 17 tracks on James Brown’s Funky Christmas album (a collection of “UHHH!”-worthy songs from ’66, ’68, and ’70), Mr. Superbad’s recordings are guaranteed to inject some much-needed soul into your sleepy yuletide playlist. + Listen to James Brown, “Merry Christmas, I Love You.”

+ The Jonas Brothers, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”: Funny, when the Jonas Brothers remind us that it’s the most wonderful time of the year, we totally believe them! And it’s not just because these guys are Christian radio vets. (But it may be a little bit because Kevin Jonas looks so cute with his wife in front of a Christmas tree.) But really, the brothers’ guitar and drum-heavy interpretation really perks up this holiday staple. + Listen to The Jonas Brothers, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.”

+ The Killers, “I Feel It In My Bones”: If anyone could turn Christmas into a doomsday scenario, it’s probably the Killers. As the sequel to 2007′s “Don’t Shoot Me, Santa,” the foreboding track has frontman Brandon Flowers eerily singing, “Once I was naughty, but now I’m nice.” Dangerous though as it sounds, the Killers only have charitable intentions — “Bones” was created to raise funds towards the (RED) campaign which helps fight HIV/Aids in Africa. + Listen to The Killers, “I Feel It In My Bones.”

+ Kylie Minogue, “Santa Baby”: Oh, how we love a good throwback. Aussie pop tart Kylie Minogue lends her teasing vocals to Eartha Kitt’s 1953 track, making us ALL want things like yachts and directions to Tiffany’s — um, heck, we’ll take some jewelry too! + Listen to Kylie Minogue, “Santa Baby.”

+ The Lonely Island, “D*** In A Box”: Who needs diamond rings when there’s Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake crooning about wrapping their junk up as a Christmas present?? No hate toward *NSync, but we’ll take Justin’s douchey chinstrap and dollar store loafers any day over the schmaltzy “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.” + Listen to The Lonely Island, “D*** In A Box.”

+ Mateo, “This Xmas (Be My Baby)”: With his Christmas song-turned-baby-makin’-slow jam, R&B singer Mateo’s seductive vocals don’t need to ask us twice — consider us putty (eggnog?) in his hands. + Listen to Mateo, “This Xmas (Be My Baby).”

+ Matisyahu, “Happy Hanukkah”: We’re still getting accustomed to the famously religious singer performing sans beard and peyot, but luckily not much else about Matisyahu has changed. His reggae-tinged track about the Festival of Lights is an upbeat, rootsy jaunt proclaiming good tidings, and its frequent wishes of “Happy Hanukkah, I wanna give a gift to you” makes us want to throw on the nearest tie-dye shirt and light a special cigarette the candles. + Listen to Matisyahu, “Happy Hanukkah.”

+ Michael Buble, “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”: Sure, Michael’s Frank Sinatra/Old Hollywood vibe might not be the edgiest interpretation of this holiday classic, but like “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “Miracle On 34th Street,” it’s kinda one of those festive relics that never gets worn out. + Listen to Michael Buble, “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.”

+ Pogues Featuring Kirsty MacColl, “Fairytale Of New York”: Performed by the Celtic punk group and the British singer Kirsty MacColl (RIP), Christmas never sounded so gritty (and possibly drunk). No really, the track is actually about youthful dreams ruined by alcoholism and drug addiction. Sounds pretty Irish to us! + Listen to The Pogues Featuring Kirsty MacColl, “Fairytale Of New York.”

+ The Ramones, “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)”: With their punk rock call for (domestic) peace on Earth, the Ramones touch on a universal truth: We may not always be nice to our loved ones, but if there’s ever a time to do it, Christmas would probably be that time. Just be a good sport. Then go back to insulting each other after Dec. 26. + Listen to The Ramones, “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight).”

+ S Club 7, “Perfect Christmas”: Embodying everything we love about squeaky clean Christmas tunes (and the early aughts), the British co-ed pop outfit otherwise known as S Club 7 charmed their way into our hearts with their expertly coordinated and completely unoffensive yuletide track. Think lots of glittery eye makeup and overly straightened hair. Because there ain’t no party like an S Club party. + Listen to S Club 7, “Perfect Christmas.”

+ The Shins, “Wonderful Christmastime”: Covering Paul McCartney’s 1979 tune, James Mercer & Co stay true to the original in melody, but Mercer adds his own special brand of lush, jingly-jangly indie pop, which reminds us of why Natalie Portman thought to put those headphones around Zach Braff’s head in the first place. + Listen to The Shins, “Wonderful Christmastime.”

+ Spice Girls, “Christmas Wrapping”: This disco-tinged track has the Spice Girls bouncing their way through The Waitresses 1981 song, except with with slightly more British lyrics — we don’t think the original included any mention of “the world’s smallest Tesco turkey.” + Listen to Spice Girls, “Christmas Wrapping.”

+ Street Drum Corps + Bert McCracken, “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)”: In their rather emo tribute to the classic holiday jam, the Used‘s Bert McCracken and drum and percussion professionals Street Drum Corps keep things mostly melodic (but still epic). Not to worry — Bert manages to sneak in a couple of heavy-metal riffs. + Listen to Street Drum Corps + Bert McCracken, “Happy Christmas (War Is Over).”

+ Stevie Wonder, “What Christmas Means To Me”: Pop powerhouse Stevie Wonder’s yuletide cheer is infectious on this famously festive track, which is one of the most covered Christmas songs maybe ever. Accompanied by Stevie’s trademark piano and a hand-clappin’ jingle bell overlay, this one’s staying put in your head till well after New Year’s. + Listen to Stevie Wonder, “What Christmas Means To Me.”

+ Sufjan Stevens, “Get Behind Me, Santa!”: Sure, this track might be inspired by a biblical passage where Jesus is tempted by the devil and stuff, but religion is just how Sufjan rolls. That, or he’s just really into the White Stripes. Whatever the case, this crash-bang explosion of a song is run by all kinda weird stuff — there’s a lot of dissonant organ, off-key horns, and shrieking voices — so do us a favor and put this one on your college radio Christmas mix. + Listen to Sufjan Stevens, “Get Behind Me, Santa.”

+ The Vandals, “Oi! To The World”: A punk-rock staple of the highest order, there is simply no forgetting The Vandals’ undeniably chantable chorus: “If god came down on Christmas day/ I know exactly what he’d say/ he’d say oi to the punks/ and oi to the skins/ but oi to the world, and everybody wins!” Can we get an OIMEN!!? + Listen to The Vandals, “Oi! To The World.”

Photo credit: Getty Images