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The Pop Culture Holiday Songs You Need For Your Next Christmas Party

We really love Christmas music, but with all due respect to beloved holiday crooners like Burl Ives and Bing Crosby, even we tire of hearing the same 10-15 songs on repeat every December. At some point Bruce Springsteen tells us Santa Claus is coming to town so often we’d rather the man in the red suit never give us gifts again than listen to that song.

But there’s no need to ever get tired of any Christmas song, not when there are so many great holiday covers and original tracks out there to fill our seasonal soundtrack. So to help keep your holiday fresh this season, we put together a playlist of some of the best, weirdest, and nerdiest Christmas songs from across the pop culture spectrum that help make this the most wonderful time of the year.

C-3PO and R2-D2: “Sleigh Ride” (from Christmas in the Stars)

One of the most bizarre holiday crossovers ever, the 1980 record Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album is a delight. It features songs and stories from droids working in Santa’s workshop, and we could have went with the hilarious “What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?),” but this cover of “Sleigh Ride” featuring C-3PO and R2-D2 is just so weird and sincere that it’s our favorite.

Beck: “The Little Drum Machine Boy” (from Just Say Noël)

Beck might seem too cool to contribute to a Christmas album, but Just Say Noël is not your normal Christmas fodder, as his super funky “The Little Drum Machine Boy” song proves. The rest of the album has songs from bands like Sonic Youth and The Roots, but Beck’s opening track is the best kind of insane while making Christmas a lot cooler.

Sufjan Stevens: “Christmas Unicorn”

It’s not hard to understand why Sufjan Stevens fans are so fond of him when listening to this fantastic 12-minute jam “Christmas Unicorn.” It’s funny, insightful, and most importantly, it samples Joy Division‘s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” which all songs should.

Weezer: “Christmas Celebration”

The band released a Christmas EP in 2008 featuring six covers of holiday classic, and they also released a really good track called “The Christmas Song” during the Green Album era that we have no problem listening to year round. But if you are looking for something absolutely bizarre, “Christmas Celebration” from that same time period is Weezer at their most inexplicable.

They Might Be Giants: “Feast of Lights” (from Holidayland)

They Might Be Giants In….Holidayland was an EP released by the band in 2001. If someone asked you to describe what a They Might Be Giants Christmas song would sound like, you’d probably describe this Hanukkah song even without hearing it.

Troy & Abed’s “Christmas Rap” (from Community)

One of the best original Christmas moments in television history is when Donald Glover’s Troy got to bust out his inner Childish Gambino on Community to perform a Christmas Rap with Danny Pudi’s Abed. What makes this even better is the song isn’t about celebrating Christmas, it’s about Jehovah’s Witness Troy working as a spy who is “pretending” to celebrate.

Zach Braff and Donald Faison: “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

But long before Troy and Abed we had Turk and J.D., the greatest bromance the world has ever known. That’s why when Zach Braff and Donald Faison reunited to record a holiday classic together they went with this duet of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” but with extra creepy lyrics. This isn’t technically a scene from Scrubs, and yet it is. It totally is.

Key & Peele: “Just Stay for the Night”

But if you want even more parody in your playlist, you can go with Key & Peele‘s spoof of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” where they take on just how terrifying that song really is. This song is far more relevant today than it even was a few years ago.

Family Guy: “Christmastime is Killing Us”

Family Guy‘s Christmas special, where Stewie and Brian go to the North Pole and find Santa overworked and his elves all deformed and suffering from depression, ends on a hopeful note, but man it is bleak until that moment. However, that’s exactly why we love the twisted “Christmas Time is Killing Us,” which alternates between sweet and terrifying.

Eric Cartman: “O Holy Night” (from Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classic)

We could have picked any number of absurd songs from the South Park‘s holiday album Mr. Hanky’s Christmas Classics, like “Mr. Mackey’s Carol of the Bells,” but it just wouldn’t be Christmas without hearing Eric Cartman sing “O Holy Night.” After 18 years (18!) it’s tradition.

SNL: “I Wish it Was Christmas Today”

Of all the songs on this playlist, this might be the most important one to watch as much as it is to listen to, because that’s the only way to appreciate the best part: Tracy Morgan’s dead serious dancing. But how good is thing song? Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz barely crack during it. That’s when you know you have a classic on your hands.

SNL: “(Do It On My) Twin Bed”

However if you’re looking for the funniest holiday song in Saturday Night Live history, “(Do It On My) Twin Bed” might be the winner. Not only is it absolutely hysterical, it’s legitimately catchy. This has been stuck in my head for years now, and I’m more than okay if it never leaves.


Peter Serafinowicz as Paul McCartney: “A Sexual Christmas Time” (from The Peter Serafinowicz Show)

Paul McCartney’s redundant, absolutely bonkers “Wonderful Christmastime” is one of the most polarizing holiday songs ever, so why upset at least half the guests at your Christmas party by playing it when instead you can play one of the best parody songs ever, Peter Serafinowicz’s incredible McCartney spoof “A Sexual Christmas Time.”

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: “California Christmastime”

Nothing else has ever quite captured the differences between the traditional, snow-covered holiday most Christmas songs describe and what it’s like to experience the season in Southern California where winter is something only idiots freely live through.

Grouplove: BoJack Horseman Christmas Special End Credits

BoJack Horseman‘s end credits song is the best song on TV today and one of our all-time favorites, but the show’s amazing Christmas special got its own unique ending that is just as good.

The Muppets: “One More Sleep Til Christmas” (from The Muppets Christmas Carol)

Oh hey, you know we’re huge nerds right? That’s like our “thing.” So did you think we wouldn’t have The Muppets “One More Sleep Til Christmas” on here? We aren’t immune to getting sentimental this time of year, and this movie and song sung by Kermit makes us feel all warm and fuzzy.

Weird Al: “The Night Santa Went Crazy”

But we’re not going to end on a sentimental note, because our favorite nerdy holiday song belongs to Weird Al and his original track “The Night Santa Went Crazy.” It sounds like a classic Christmas tune, the music is great, but it’s the only holiday song where Santa loses his mind and turns the North Pole into an infamous blood-soaked nightmare.

It’s basically what we wish Santa would do instead every time Bruce Springsteen tells us he’s coming to town.

What song that we left off should have made this playlist? Share your best suggestions in the comments below.

Featured Image: Buena Vista Pictures/NBC/Netflix

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