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We all know the classics. The lyrics of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You, and The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s Fairytale of New York have practically been ingrained in most of us. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good classic Christmas tune, but after weeks of listening to the same cycle of Christmas songs, even before December has come around, I always find myself in desperate need of a change. If you’re anything like me, I’ve comprised a small list of lesser-known Christmas songs for you to check out.
Home for Christmas – Maria Mena
This song has a permanent place on my Christmas playlist every year. The 2010 single by Norwegian artist Maria Mena has become a Christmas classic in Norway. In 2017 it was the country’s second most-streamed Christmas song, beaten only by, you guessed it, All I Want for Christmas is You. Home for Christmas is quite a different song, however. It’s slow, yet still powerful, with the gentle melody of mainly a piano, really showing off Mena’s beautiful vocals. The song’s lyrics “I want to go home for Christmas,” may also particularly resonate with us this year.
Merry Christmas, Darling – The Carpenters
Although it was released back in 1970, I have only discovered this song recently. It sounds like your typical Christmas song, but more in the lines of Frank Sinatra’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas or Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song than the more upbeat classics of Slade and Andy Williams. The 2018 release with the added Royal Philharmonic Orchestra instrumentals adds even more to the Christmas tone, and the song is a perfect example of those calm, soothing Christmas songs perfect to play on Christmas Eve with the fireplace lit and a cup of hot chocolate.
Just Like Christmas – Low
If you’re looking for something a bit more different, this one is for you. After a while of listening to classic Christmas songs, I find that they all start blending together into one, and my ears need a bit of a break from similar melodies. With Just Like Christmas, Low still captures much of the essence and feeling of Christmas through its lyrics, but with a more alternative, calm, yet upbeat, melody. Although different from many classic Christmas songs, Just Like Christmas is still clearly a Christmas song, especially with the bells in the background.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Albin Lee Meldau
This one might be considered a cheat, as we all know the popular version of this song, performed by Frank Sinatra. However, the simplicity of Albin Lee Meldau’s version, the only instrument being a piano, combined with Meldau’s unique, soulful vibrato, makes this one of my personal favorite Christmas covers. It’s calm, soothing, and perfect for relaxing during the Christmas holiday. Meldau has simply got a voice perfect for Christmas.