There comes a point every festive season when it suddenly dawns on you that if you hear the same old Christmas songs one more time you are going to run for the hills.
Yes, we’ll admit to getting those lovely nostalgia pangs when we hear those opening bars of ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ or ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ at the beginning of December, but after almost three weeks of it, it begins to take its toll.
That’s why we’ve helpfully come up with a handful of alternative tunes for anyone hoping to inject a little extra sparkle to their Christmas Day playlists, without having to resort to the dusty old favourites we’ve been suffering through every winter since time began.
You can forget about Shakin’ Stevens, Chris Rea and even The Pogues - here are 15 lesser-known tracks guaranteed to help bring along some extra holiday cheer, including overlooked and under appreciated festive bangers from big-name artists like Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga…
1. Kylie and Dannii Minogue - ’100 Degrees’
’100 Degrees’ was undoubtedly the most memorable - and dance-able! - offering from Kylie Minogue’s 2015 Christmas collection.
This original track might not sound like a festive classic (there’s neither a sleigh bell nor a reference to Santa in sight), but this disco-infused bop is guaranteed to get the whole family up twirling around the living room. Yes, even your nan.
2. Dragonette - ‘Merry Xmas (Says Your Text Message)’
So this cheeky (and NSFW) offering might not exactly be one the whole family can get behind, but it’s still a catchy ode to dumping someone on Boxing Day, which makes a welcome change to rhyming “festive cheer” with “last all year” and hoping for the best.
3. Lady Gaga and Space Cowboy - ‘Christmas Tree’
Long before ‘American Horror Story’, 64 million Twitter followers and *sigh* ‘Joanne’, Lady Gaga was putting out synth-heavy pop ditties like her Christmassy offering, ‘Christmas Tree’.
Although it’s infused with influences from traditional tracks like ‘Deck The Halls’ and ‘Little Drummer Boy’, lyrics like “take off my stockings we’re out spreading Christmas cheer” suggest this isn’t one to put on while you’re tucking into your turkey.
That said, it could provide the perfect soundtrack to an office party flashback, depending on how well you behaved...
4. Sia - ‘Santa’s Coming For Us’
Given that she’s more closely associated with ethereal and powerful ballads like ‘Alive’, ‘Chandelier’ and ‘The Greatest’, Sia tried something new in 2017 and released an album of entirely new Christmas tunes.
Lead single ‘Santa’s Coming For Us’ features enough lyrical festive clichés that you immediately feel like you’ve been listening to it for the last 30 years, but the production is contemporary enough to keep it sounding fresh.
5. Justin Bieber - ‘Mistletoe’
With two new number-one singles under his Calvin Klein waistband in 2017, we’d forgive you if the year had already left you totally Biebered out.
But just in case you can stand one more, this 2011 offering is a chilled-out Christmas love song that still manages to give us that warm fuzzy feeling.
6. Bonnie McKee - ‘California Winter’
Bonnie McKee is responsible for co-penning some of the most memorable tracks by artists like Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Rita Ora, so it’s no surprise that her own Yuletide output is a total earworm.
7. The Weather Girls - ‘Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man)’
Rumour has it, the phrase “camp as Christmas” didn’t actually come to be until the year 1983, when this wonderful song burst onto the scene.
As if the ultimate Christmas throwback wasn’t joyous enough, it opens with the expression: “We’re your Weather Girls... and have we got holiday news for you!”
Now that’s brand awareness.
After a couple of generous snowballs, we defy you to stay on the sofa when this one suddenly comes on during that Christmas afternoon lull.
8. Mariah Carey - ‘Oh Santa’
Listen, we’re not going to sit here and pretend this song is as good as ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, because it isn’t. But if we judged every song by that criteria, we’d have about four songs left on our iPods.
If you want a bit of Mariah this festive season but you’re scared of what you’ll do if you have to hear ‘All I Want For Christmas’ one more time, then this is the song for you.
9. Carly Rae Jepsen - ‘Last Christmas’
Hearing the same songs over and over around December can get frustrating, so it’s always refreshing when a contemporary artist tries to put a fresh spin on an old classic.
Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Emotion’ was one of the stand-out albums of the past couple of years, so it felt right when she ended 2015 with her take on this Wham! favourite.
10. Ariana Grande - ‘Santa Tell Me’
Let’s face it, sometimes modern Christmas offerings can be a little half-hearted. You always get the feeling the artist would rather be doing something else, which leaves you feeling almost guilty as you bop along at home.
Yes, Gwen Stefani. We mean you.
That’s why it’s extra great when a pop star really gives it their all with a Yule-time release, as Ariana Grande did in 2014, when she unveiled ‘Santa Tell Me’. If we had to put money on a latter-day Christmas song we’ll still be singing along to in 20 years, this would be it.
11. Spice Girls - ‘Christmas Wrapping’
Disappointingly, the Spice Girls never released an original Christmas song during their time together, which is a shame as this perfect mix of Spice Girls attitude and festive fun (which was used as the B-side to their Christmas number one ‘Goodbye’) is an absolute gem (if you’ll pardon the GEM reference).
12. RuPaul - ‘Merry Christmas Mary’
Taken from Ru’s 2015 Christmas album ‘Slay Belles’. What more is there to say but, ‘YASSSSSSSS’?
13. Kelly Clarkson - ‘Underneath The Tree’
Combining everything we love about Christmas music with everything we love about Kelly Clarkson, this song is an absolute racket, so probably not one you want to put on if your Christmas Day is already on the rowdy side.
That said, if you need something to perk up a less-than-energetic festive gathering, this is the song to do it with.
14. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John - ‘I Think You Might Like It’
No, this isn’t going to do much to reduce the cheesiness we’ve been subjected to ever since radio stations unleashed the usual festive suspects upon their listeners (in fact, compared to this, even ‘Wombling Merry Christmas’ sounds edgy).
But Christmas isn’t about the cool or cutting edge, it’s about the naff, the over the top and the completely ridiculous, and what could fit the bill more than this country-fied Christmas duet?
15. Hurts - ‘All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day’
Truly an anthem for anyone who just wants the festive period to hurry up and be over, a quick blast of this moody offering from Hurts should really let everyone in the vicinity know how you’re feeling.