For all the tradition, decor, and general rigamarole of the holiday season, there’s one thing that tends to irritate even diehard holiday lovers: The Christmas music. Starting every year mere hours after Halloween, for weeks on end our lives seem dominated by boring, predictable Christmas songs. From radio stations to mall PAs, Christmas music becomes impossible to escape, and considering it’s already a pretty stressful time of year, the rapidly increasing frequency of Mariah Carey’s catalogue can leave people leaning on their last nerve.
Of course, there’s a way to keep these overplayed standards from chipping away at your Christmas spirit (and your very soul). To provide you with some helpful alternatives, from punk anthems to hip hop classics, here’s a round-up of some of the best Christmas songs out there for people that don’t like Christmas songs.
Run DMC – “Christmas in Hollis”
It would make sense that the group that helped bring hip-hop to the mainstream would also be one of the first to bring Christmas music into hip-hop. Released as part of the A Very Special Christmas compilation put out by A&M records in 1987, a benefit album for the Special Olympics, the song became an instant smash hit, and has even been known to show up on the Billboard charts more than a decade after its initial release. When the group was first approached about doing a Christmas song, they initially refused, fearing it would trivialize hip-hop on a whole.
It wasn’t until producer Bill Adler floated the idea to deviate from the rest of the album and have them write and produce an original song instead. The music was sampled from Clarence Carter’s “Back Door Santa,” and Run DMC were free to reflect on the holiday season as they saw it. DMC told The AV Club in 2013 that he saw the song as an opportunity to bring reality into the holiday music, which he considered to be nothing but fantasy. “My story is what really happened in real life, about real people, and what it was like as a kid growing up.” For all these reasons, the song has proven itself year after year that you can take a fresh approach to Christmas music and still be considered a classic.