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Top 7 Most Underrated Christmas Songs

December 9, 2021

You’ve heard the basics. Mariah Carey, Michael Buble, Bing Crosby. They’re played on repeat for one month a year all over the radio, stores, and basically anywhere you step food.

How about we explore some of the lesser known jams of Christmas in all sorts of different genres?

  1. Lawrence – This Christmas (Soul-Pop)

Lawrence, an up-and-coming New York Soul/Pop group wrote for and scored Disney’s film Noelle from last Christmas. However, This Christmas is by and far the outstanding track. They took Donny Hathaway’s classic and sped it up, adding some sparkling guitars to the mix without overpowering the original Soul which is the heart of the song. They take This Christmas from a 90s classic to an Indie Rock banger reminiscent of The Waitresses. 

  1. The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping (New Wave)

Speaking of The Waitresses, how could you forget Christmas Wrapping? This song is an all-time classic, yet seems to never get credited as anyone’s favorite Christmas song. My guess is that the story (A romance where the couple fails to meet up the entire year until they incidentally meet at a grocery store on Christmas Eve) never connects with people due to Patti Donahue’s low vocal mixing. Despite this, the song remains an effortlessly catchy and very enjoyable Christmas song when you know the story behind it. Check it out. 

  1. Phoebe Bridgers – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Singer-Songwriter)

Phoebe Bridgers turned the pandemic into her playground last year, completing her newest album, Punisher, and making it one of the best albums of the year. Late in 2020, Bridgers put out a short EP called “If We Make it Through December.” Bridgers’ combination of brooding folk and Tony Berg’s production choices make an entirely wonderful EP. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is the standout here because Bridgers’ voice fits perfectly into the song’s focus on a tranquil and peaceful Christmas. 

  1. John Denver – Christmas for Cowboys (Country)

While not a big fan of country myself, a college roommate convinced me of John Denver’s worth through Christmas music. Christmas for Cowboys doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it details the beauty of working in nature on Christmas day on the Great Plains. John Denver’s voice, a well-documented tenor, sells the song beautifully, filling out an underrated classic for the Country-style Christmas playlist.

  1. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence – Ryuichi Sakamoto (Classical/Score)

While A Charlie Brown Christmas by The Vince Guiraldi Trio will get the proper audience a cultural masterpiece of its caliber deserves, when you get tired of it, may I suggest this acoustic replacement? Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, the theme for the film of the same name, is a charming score, cleverly matching the film’s themes in the music. Standing alongside the song is the movie’s purpose; a treatise on war crimes and finding humanity in the midst of tribulation. A remarkable story and a fantastic score to go with it. 

  1. Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal (Indie Folk)

Is this a Christmas song? Well, technically no. But putting this winter melody alongside other calming Christmas songs would hardly seem out of place. It is lightly based on a Grimm’s fairy tale, and, depending on how you interpret the lyrics, could be just as morbid as those same fairy tales. Nevertheless, Fleet Foxes’ beautiful Indie-folk instrumentation brings to mind a sunny, snow-covered world seen through the haze of a dream. It’s beautiful, expressive and definitely deserving of more recognition.

  1. For King & Country – Glorious (CCM)

How did we forget about this song? As a Gen Z Christian kid who started loving music right when For King & Country’s “Run Wild, Live Free, Love Strong” came out, Glorious is the perfect Christian Christmas hit. Though it hit Christian radio in December 2017, it seems to have been forgotten since. Classic sounding synth builds into a catchy chorus leaves me wanting more songs with the spark that this song creates. Bring back the classic For King & Country I know and love! Bring back the good ‘ol days of Christian music! I will get off my soap-box now, but seriously, don’t let Glorious become a forgotten Christian synth-pop gem.

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