Do you (want to) hear what I hear? Christmas music is probably the only genre that is restricted to a certain time of year, and thus allows us to connect it to specific holiday-related memories. I love everything from the soundtracks (think Home Alone and Elf) to the classics (Bing Crosby, Sinatra) and pop (Mariah, Christina, ‘N Sync). Keep playing those songs that take you back to childhood, but if you’re looking for something new, this list is for you.
Two great compilation albums of indie songs were released this year: Holiday Rules and Canadian record label’s Isn’t This World Enough?? A Nettwerk Christmas. Including songs from those albums, the eclectic list below should have something for everyone with genres ranging from the blues to reggae. So discover some new holiday tunes and make some new memories with them! Subscribe to Qlette’s Holiday Jingles playlist on Spotify to rock around to the full list.
Fun. – Believe in Me
An upbeat pop Christmas song by the band that brought you Some Nights and We Are Young. (Isn’t This World Enough?? A Nettwerk Christmas album)
Electric Guest – Holiday
Indie band + holiday tune = happy ears
Black Prairie & Sallie Ford – (Everybody’s Waitin’ For) The Man With The Bag
This lighthearted song by the bluegrass band features unique vocals with a playfulness that will bring you back to Christmas childhood. (Holiday Rules album)
Liam Titcomb – Generosity
A wholesome, feel-good song to get you in the giving-spirit from this folk/pop artist. (Isn’t This World Enough?? A Nettwerk Christmas album)
Cee Lo Green (feat. Christina Aguilera) – Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Cee Lo “Purple” and Lisa Frank teamed up on the album cover of this upbeat pop album filled with soul, jazz, blues, and rock. Also check out the Rod Stewart duet.
The Head and the Heart – What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve
This indie/folk band formed in Seattle (!!) utilizes the vocal talents of their female violinist to harmonize with their lead singer and accompany the piano in this lighthearted song. (Holiday Rules album)
Matisyahu – Happy Hanukkah
Jewish Bob Marley expands the Hanukkah songs to 3 (joining Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel and Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song).
Great Lake Swimmers – Hang A String of Lights
I can certainly relate to this Canadian indie/folk band’s love of Christmas lights. Definitely put this happy, mellow tune on while you decorate! (Isn’t This World Enough?? A Nettwerk Christmas album)
Scala & Kolacny Brothers – It’s Christmas! Let’s Be Glad
The Belgian choir continues to cover alternative music after becoming famous for their cover of Radiohead’s Creep, featured in The Social Network trailer.
Scotty McCreery – Santa Claus Is Back In Town
American Idol’s season 10 winner (don’t judge, the show is fun) sounds a bit less country when he’s covering an Elvis classic (gotta represent my Memphis blues roots).
Hey Rosetta! – Carry Me Home
The Canadian indie band harmonizes on this song that’s as cute and warm as its album’s title, A Cup of Kindness Yet.
Keri Noble – Everything I Want for Christmas
Keri is a singer/songwriter & pianist, often compared to Norah Jones. This upbeat, reflective song appears on the compilation album Holiday Lights, Vol 4 and her album, More Than Santa, which is full of other originals.
Sidewalk Prophets – Because It’s Christmas
You probably wouldn’t know they were a Christian contemporary band if I didn’t tell you, since they rock it out in this pop song.
Rod Stewart (feat. Trombone Shorty) – Red-Suited Super Man
Maggie May’s lover released a holiday album with this cheery original comparing Santa to Superman!
Matthew Mayfield – It’s Christmastime Again
Off the compilation CD for charity, A Rock by the Sea Christmas: Vol 3, this Mumford & Sons soundalike says, “It’s a song about boundless hope and a sense of freedom that comes with infinite possibilities.”
Freedom Fry – Dark Christmas
This indie-pop band was reading R.L. Stine when they wrote this song.
Colbie Caillat – Christmas in the Sand
In case that last song was a little too dark for you, count on Colbie for a “bubbly” Christmas song.
Sufjan Stevens – The Midnight Clear
On his second five-disc Christmas album (wow, commitment!), Stevens creates a playful, childlike sound with the banjo and xylophone.
And if by the end of this, all you want for Christmas is Mariah’s classic, then I’ve got a new version of that too (featuring Jimmy Fallon & The Roots)!
Be festive, merry and thankful!