Here's Your 2020 Christmas Songs Playlist – As Chosen By The HuffPost UK Team

🚫 A Slade-free zone 🚫

Now it’s actually December, there will be no escaping Christmas tunes being blasted out of every shop and radio station in the land. Alas, it will be the same old five tunes played on repeat. But while we’ll always have time for Mariah’s All I Want For Christmas, if we ever hear Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody ever again, it’ll be too soon.

So, if you’re looking for a Slade-free Christmas playlist that includes some oft-overlooked festive gems nestled alongside a selection of all-time classics as picked by the HuffPost UK team, skip this way...

Judy Garland - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Picked By Jess Brammar (Editor-in-Chief)

This has to be the saddest of all the Christmas songs, dripping with nostalgia and longing for times past and better times ahead. I know it’s an odd choice but it reminds me of one Christmas when things were pretty crap in my life, and just hearing Judy singing about her hope that “next year those who are dear to us, will be near to us once more” reminded me that it’s a time of year when it’s ok not to feel on top of the world, there are a lot of people wishing they were elsewhere or with other people. And who could not be moved by Judy Garland, singing about how she hopes “Next year all our troubles will be out of sight”? Love a bit of festive pathos.

Sia - Santa’s Coming For Us

Picked by Matt Bagwell (Head Of Entertainment)

Sia could have gone down the well trodden and predictable route of releasing a Christmas covers album full of the usual suspects, but instead bestowed us with 13 original festive gems when she released Everyday Is Christmas. The sinister-sounding Santa’s Coming For Us opens the album with the (ridiculous) line “Nights are getting shorter now, hot chocolate” and sets the tone for one of the most original - and fun - Christmas albums in recent memory. Silly lyrics, ear-worm melodies and lots of jingle bells abound, all wrapped around Sia’s gorgeous voice. Oh, and there’s a song called Puppies Are Forever. Pass the cheese board.

Beach Boys - Frosty The Snowman

Picked by John Johnston (Senior Video Producer)

If you want the full Christmas TV special feeling, stick this on and instantly the world will transform into full studio sitcom lighting where everyone’s wearing christmas jumpers. Full Christmas kitsch with harmonies and arrangements only the Beach Boys could muster, when you put this on you can’t help but smile and see the world as one big musical number.

Louis Armstrong - Cool Yule

Picked by Ash Percival (Entertainment Editor)

As much as I love All I Want For Christmas Is You (and I do LOVE it), there’s just something even Christmassier (yes, that’s a word) about some of the more classic songs. My favourite will always be Louis Armstrong’s Cool Yule. I remember when I worked in Next as a teenager it was their Christmas ad campaign song and it played about every 15 minutes in the store from the beginning of November onwards. That probably should have driven me mad, but the song actually really stayed with me and is always at the top of my Christmas playlist.

Ariana Grande - Santa Tell Me

Picked by Daniel Welsh (Entertainment Reporter)

More often than not, there’s a strong whiff of cynicism when you get contemporary pop stars trying their hand at a Christmas album, presumably trying to follow in the Louboutin-prints left by Mariah Carey when she cashes her royalties check every January. Sure, there have been a few modern offerings that have stuck around, but they’re usually forgettable at best, and embarrassing cash-ins at worst.

That’s what makes Ariana’s ‘Santa Tell Me’ even more refreshing. An effortless offering from one of the most charming stars in pop that doesn’t borrow too heavily from existing Christmas tunes, but similarly doesn’t shy away from leaning in to a festive sound.

Vonda Shepherd - This Christmas

Picked by Charlie Lindlar (Commissioning Editor, Personal)

The only Christmas music my mum let us play growing up is A Very Ally Christmas, a compilation of Yuletide tunes sung by the cast of Ally McBeal and a few guests. Robert Downey Jr does River, Jane Krakowski does Run Rudolph Run, Calista Flockhart herself does a sultry Santa Baby, it’s wild. This is the opening track and, in my family, Christmas doesn’t start until the album is first played, so it’s very special to me!

Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas

Picked by Nancy Groves (Head Of Life)

I have too, too many Christmas hits on rotation (my current favourite is Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler’s Snowflakes and I’m also an unashamed fan of the OC’s Chrismukkah compilation). But think of it this way: could you imagine December without Mariah? Course not. All I Want For Christmas is 25-years-young and still a stone-cold classic, covered but never bettered. One year, I threw a Christmas party and my friend Rich, who had been living out in Russia (I suspected as a spy), not only turned up announced on my doorstep but came bearing a copy of Mariah’s Merry Christmas album as a present. Not just one festive banger but 10. Oh Mariah, you spoil us!

Justin Bieber - Mistletoe

Picked by Lucy Pasha-Robinson (Opinion Editor)

Nothing says Christmas like a tiny 17-year-old pop star singing the words: “I don’t wanna miss out on the holiday, but I can’t stop starin’ at your face”. He looks like a giant baby so I can think of better people to be under the mistletoe with but no one can deny Justin Bieber’s got an angelic voice. I like this song because it’s ridiculous but it also makes me feel a little bit like a teenager, especially the repeated use of “shawty” in the refrain. 10 out of 10.

Christmas Alphabet - Dickie Valentine

Picked by Natasha Hinde (Life Reporter)

Growing up, we had one Christmas album (two CDs) with all the festive classics on, which we’d listen to on repeat from Christmas Eve through to the end of Christmas Day. And it feels like this song by Dickie Valentine was always playing. I knew all the lyrics as a child – it’s pretty easy to remember, Dickie literally walks us through the Christmas alphabet (C is for candy on the Christmas tree, H is for happiness with all your family, R is for reindeer, etc.) I loved it aged seven and I still love it now – it reminds me of the best times spent with family.

Always On My Mind - Pet Shop Boys

Picked by Ramzy Alwakeel (Head Of News)

Of course Always On My Mind isn’t really a Christmas song, which is one reason it’s so satisfying that it stopped Fairytale Of New York from being Christmas number one in 1987 – the other being that Fairytale contains a homophobic slur and the Pet Shop Boys have a huge gay following. But squint a bit and maybe it’s the perfect festive single after all. Its tardy attempt to make amends for a year, or lifetime, of neglecting someone special *is* Christmas, all words and no action, an outpouring of wretched emotion after too many glasses of wine that we won’t talk about tomorrow. It’s also got a fantastic hi-NRG beat, a weird video, a great B-side and a sample of some fireworks at the end.

Our Alternative Christmas Playlist...

Our Alternative Christmas Playlist


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