Non-holiday Holiday Songs
November 29, 2018 5:12 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to expand my advent playlist beyond specifically holiday songs.

I have had "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" stuck in my head since my office started putting up holiday decor. Of course, this is probably because the cover by Al Green and Annie Lennox was used in Scrooged, but I think the original actually topped the charts in the summer. What other songs feel seasonal without being specifically "holiday" songs?
posted by the primroses were over to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Chris Cornell's version of Ave Maria feels that way to me.
posted by misseva at 5:53 PM on November 29, 2018

Let It Snow
Sleigh Ride
A Few of My Favorite Things
What Are You Doing New Years Eve
I’ve Got My Love To keep Me Warm
Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Green Grows The Holly
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:02 PM on November 29, 2018

Here’s a YouTube playlist of non-Christmas Christmas songs by Saint Etienne.

On edit: I may have given you Christmas songs that are not about Christmas, rather than non-Christmas songs that evoke Christmas, which may be backwards.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:08 PM on November 29, 2018

Song for a Winter’s Night
posted by puppet du sock at 6:13 PM on November 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:17 PM on November 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

Huh...I just listened to River and it actually does mention Christmas. I thought it didn't. Sorry.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:19 PM on November 29, 2018

Fairytale of New York.
posted by kerf at 6:32 PM on November 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ola Gjeilo's album Winter Songs. "The Rose" really captures the feeling of a bright winter afternoon.

Loreena McKennitt's A Midwinter Night's Dream has a lot of religious overlap, but you might like some of the carols. The Gloucestershire Wassail is way more in the style of "give us seasonal treats or we'll torch the lord's manor" than praises to on high, for example.

This song tells you rather more about me than I think you want, but it fits the bill. And if the robot mime freaks you out, you can always open another tab (lol).

A Hazy Shade of Winter?

Sleeping at Last's ?
posted by snerson at 7:26 PM on November 29, 2018

The Decemberists' January Hymn sounds right for this.
posted by workerant at 7:28 PM on November 29, 2018

Sorry, cat jumped on my keyboard.

Patapan is a pretty decent carol that mentions Xmas, but the emphasis is more on playing around with fun rhythms -- Mannheim Steamroller, a choral version

The Waltz of the Doll from Coppelia is pretty merry. On the other end, Esenvalds' Only in Sleep always reminds me of snow falling past a warm window at night.

Noel Nouvelet is in French, so you may avoid Xmas mentions that way.
posted by snerson at 7:41 PM on November 29, 2018

Seasonal fave: 'Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence' Ryu Sakamoto live solo piano version.
posted by ovvl at 8:01 PM on November 29, 2018

It's definitely not holidayish per se but the Amelie soundtrack does it for me...maybe I originally saw it around Christmas? Not sure. But try it!
posted by bookworm4125 at 8:08 PM on November 29, 2018

Fountains of Wayne- Valley Winter Song
posted by Champagne Supernova at 9:53 PM on November 29, 2018

I'm fond of Better Days by the Goo Goo Dolls, and there's only a single, vague line that indicates it's potentially Christmas-y.
posted by stormyteal at 10:46 PM on November 29, 2018

As in your example, Mozart’s ‘Overture to the Mariage of Figarro,‘ seems like a holiday song to me because it was used in the opening scenes of Trading Places.
posted by evilmomlady at 2:24 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Just For Now by Imogen Heap isn't explicitly a Christmas song but if you listen to the lyrics its very clearly about spending time with your family at Christmas.
posted by *becca* at 2:58 AM on November 30, 2018

Song for a Winter's Night by Gordon Lightfoot
posted by Daily Alice at 3:26 AM on November 30, 2018

Sting was in his Lute Phase when he recorded it, but his If On a Winter's Night is meant to be more of a "winter" album than a "Christmas" one. So there are some more seasonal songs amid the "seasonal" ones. Of the "winter" songs I'm especially partial to "The Snow it Melts The Soonest", an old folksong from the north of England.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:56 AM on November 30, 2018

"Charlie Freak" by Steely Dan has a strong winter/Christmas vibe (including sleigh bells) but is about an overdose death of a homeless person and doesn't explicitly mention any holidays. RIght, I'll show myself out....
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 10:53 AM on November 30, 2018

The classic crooners all feel seasonal to me. Bing Crosby's voice seems so synonymous with the holidays that even his non-holiday music registers as 'Christmas.' Early Frank Sinatra (1940s to early 1950s, not Vegas Sinatra) also qualifies, ditto Andrews Sisters, and early Doris Day. Some of Judy Garland's songs also work well if they're quieter and slower tempo (her louder ones all feel more 'BROADWAY!' to me than holidays).
posted by castlebravo at 1:06 PM on November 30, 2018

Roches. Everyone is Good.

I think it has a peace on earth spiritual feeling without being explicitly religious. And it’s beautiful.
posted by FencingGal at 6:39 PM on November 30, 2018

Nella Fantasia seems appropriate in Christmas concerts.

If you want to include some songs of a sadder tone, check out Song for Sarajevo and The Blizzard in the album Christmas with Judy Collins.
posted by KwaiChangCaine at 7:51 PM on November 30, 2018

Greensleeves? I mean it's a traditional non-christmas tune, but because there are also Christmas lyrics, the tune itself has a certain Christmas association, at least in my mind.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:54 PM on November 30, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions! I haven't been able to go through and listen to all the links yet, but I so appreciate these leads.
posted by the primroses were over at 2:13 PM on December 1, 2018

Maybe Julie London's Warm December. I also like covers of Bob Dylan's Ring Them Bells, I think just because the repeated "bells" makes it seem Christmassy.
posted by fever-trees at 7:14 PM on December 2, 2018

Melancholy, in the best way, and the line 'the smell of hospitals in winter' gets me every time: Counting Crows - A Long December
posted by Bron at 3:06 PM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

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