I have this friend. She’s the loveliest of lovely: a talented artist, a bleeding heart who cares about the marginalized and disenfranchised, always thoughtful about the way she expresses her Jewish identity. There’s just one problem: She hates Christmas music.
Look, I get it: We Jews have a lot of feels about Christmas. It’s never fun to feel like society is ignoring your very existence while throttling Christian culture down your throat every time you just need some tampons at CVS. This particular friend of mine grew up in Israel, so she’s especially not used to the Christmas takeover that happens every December (let’s be honest, it starts in October). I’m definitely not saying we should get over those feelings and get into the Christmas spirit.
All I’m saying is that some Christmas music is actually pretty good.
For starters, a lot of it was actually written by Jews. And if you’re not into the classics, there are plenty of modern hits that will get you grooving in spite of your Grinch-like tendencies. So for my friend — and all you other Christmas music-hating Jews out there — I beg of you, just give these a spin:
1. Elvis, “Blue Christmas”
This is a song about being sad on Christmas, so it’s practically written for Jews. Plus it’s Elvis! I recommend putting this one on in the car while driving through a blizzard and crying!!!
2. The Waitresses, “Christmas Wrapping”
I seeeeriously dare you to try listening to this song and not dancing. That’s right, you can’t do it! I first discovered this song in an episode of Gilmore Girls. Lorelai was listening to it, and we all know she has pristine taste, so this one’s pretty inarguable.
3. Hanson, “Merry Christmas Baby”
It’s Hanson! Enough said.
4. Aimee Mann, “I Was Thinking I Could Clean Up for Christmas”
OK this one was actually recommended by my aforementioned Christmas music-hating friend because obviously she secretly loves it and is living in denial. I see you.
5. Snoop Dogg, “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto”
Featuring Nate Dogg with those smooth background vocals, this is the Christmas song you never knew you needed.
6. James Taylor, “Jingle Bells”
Leave it to JT to make this classic Christmas jingle super groovy. Turn the lights down low and cuddle up with your sweetheart with this one.
7. Pentatonix, “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”
I have mixed feelings about Pentatonix because a capella makes me a feel a little squiggly but I must admit this is pretty catchy and puts me in the mood to prance around my apartment like an out-of-shape ballerina so I dig.
8. Chuck Berry, “Run Rudolph Run”
Who doesn’t love Chuck Berry? They should go away, whoever they are.
9. Wham!, “Last Christmas”
A very ’80s Christmas jam. Check out the video for a heartbreaking tale set on the ski slopes featuring mullets, snowball fights, and a sad George Michael 😢
10. Mariah Carey, “All I Want for Christmas”
There’s no way you thought I wouldn’t include this one, right? Movies have featured it, musicologists have studied it, the people just can’t get enough of it. Blast it by yourself in your room, grab your hairbrush, and do your thing.
11. Andrew Bird, “Auld Lang Syne”
Look, this one’s not even Christmas but New Year’s, so there’s no excuse. Plus, Andrew Bird’s violin makes everything amazing. That’s just a fact.
12. SNL, “Christmastime For the Jews”
It’s funny cause it’s true.