Spice up your playlist with alternative Christmas carols

Shane Finneran

Everyone loves “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls,” but to add some spice to your holiday playlist, consider some of the season’s sassier songs.

“Christmas in Hollis,” a 1987 gift from Run DMC, got air time in the movie “Die Hard” and is probably hip-hop’s first venture into the holiday genre. The opening verse tells the story of a young man who finds Santa’s wallet:

A million dollars in it, cold hundreds of Gs / Enough to buy a boat and matching car with ease … / But when I got home, I bugged, ’cause under the tree / Was a letter from Santa and the dough’s for me

Adam Sandler, on a 1994 segment of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, explained “The Chanukah Song” like this: “I wrote a song for all those nice little Jewish kids who don’t get to hear any Chanukah songs.” A perfect blend of comedy, holiday
cheer, and unsophisticated acoustic guitar, the performance is Sandler at his best:

David Lee Roth lights the menorah / So do James Caan, Kirk Douglas, and the late Dinah Shore-ah… / You don’t need “Deck The Halls” or “Jingle Bell Rock” / ‘Cause you can spin a dreidel with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock — both Jewish!

Perhaps nothing more needs be said about “This One’s For The Children” than it is a New Kids on the Block holiday song. “This is a very serious message,” one of the New Kids says gravely as the 1989 song begins. It only gets worse from there:

Many people are happy / And many people are sad / Some people have many things / That others can only wish they had / So for the sake of the children / Show them love’s the only way to go / ‘Cause they are tomorrow / And people, they’ve got to know

Alvin, Simon, Theodore and their band leader Dave — who were all voiced by the same person — sing and bicker in their trademark helium voices in “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late),” an ear-grating ode to childhood materialism and impatience that won three Grammy Awards in 1958:

Want a plane that loops the loop / Me, I want a hula hoop / We can hardly stand the wait/ Please Christmas, don’t be late

The video for The Ramones’ “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” is available on YouTube and features the band rocking out in leather and tight jeans as a married couple feuds their way through a very 1980s holiday party. The 1987 song is a fast-paced, feel-good blend of upbeat guitar licks and silly lyrics from the grand-daddies of punk:

All the children are tucked in their beds / Sugar-plum fairies dancing in their heads / Snowball fighting… / It’s so exciting, baby…