My Christmas Music Collection

This is a list focusing on all the Christmas music in my collection. I’ve also added many of these songs to my Christmas music playlist.


I love listening to Christmas music – pop hits mainly, but also traditional carols as well, including going to carol concerts. Having a sing-along with others is always fun!

It’s a pity we don’t seem to get big Christmas hits any more though, compared to decades gone by. People do release Christmas songs, but really we’re now in an era where the Christmas tradition is for that year’s X Factor winner to be over-promoted and pushed to the top, even though their song has nothing to do with Christmas and isn’t really that good. Maybe that makes me sound old, but I really don’t think we get enduring and memorable festive classics any more, that will be considered classics in the future.

That said, it can be worth digging around a bit, beyond the famous hits and the most familiar versions of big songs. And in doing so over the years, I’ve built up a fair selection of festive tracks, so I have a good variety. Many are original songs, while others are interesting covers of well-known Christmas songs. Most of them I’ve purchased, as you should do, but some of the rarer tracks have been downloaded online from places like Youtube as there was no other way to get them. Having that wide selection means I can stick my Christmas playlist on shuffle and let it run without repetition for a nice long time.

All the tracks I want to listen to are prepared in my iTunes collection, so I can just turn them on at the right time each year. To achieve this, all the festive songs in my collection are set to be in the Christmas genre, with all the ones I like most having a 4 or 5 star rating. Based on that, I have a Smart Playlist that picks up all of my top-rated tracks in the Christmas genre automatically. I can then highlight all of those tracks at once, go into their properties, and adjust the Skip When Shuffling setting. For most of the year, that settings is on, so those tracks don’t get played when I shuffle my music collection. But during December, I turn it off, so all the tracks do get included. And, of course, I can just listen to the playlist on its own for a fun Christmas mix.

Albums (A-Z By Artist)

ABBA – Super Trouper

The beautiful song Happy New Year is more appropriate after Christmas, of course, but is still a key part of the festive period. And I don’t mind hearing it earlier, it’s always nice.

ABC – Christmas… With Love

This is a 4-track download-only EP with a nice Christmas song – A Christmas We Deserve – plus lovely acoustic versions of 3 of their hits with ‘Love’ in the title, including The Look Of Love.

AC/DC – The Razor’s Edge

Includes the brilliant track Mistress For Christmas.

Air Supply – The Christmas Album

Includes lovely versions of White Christmas, The Christmas Song, Sleigh Ride & Winter Wonderland.

Alan Jackson – Let It Be Christmas

Includes the title track Let It Be ChristmasSanta Claus Is Comin’ To Town & Winter Wonderland.

Andy Williams – The Very Best Of

Includes his classic Christmas track It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year. In addition, I’ve also added the track Happy Holidays to the album from a Christmas compilation, and there’s also a version of that track from his TV show.

Bad News – Bad News

Bad News were a spoof heavy metal band from Channel 4’s comedy series The Comic Strip Presents, featuring Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson, Nigel Planer and Peter Richardson. They released a few albums as their alter-egos, which were typically anarchic, as Bad News weren’t a professional band in the slightest. If you liked shows like Bottom and The Young Ones, you’ll enjoy Bad News too.

They released a song called Cashing In On Christmas, where the band literally sings about the fact that they’re releasing a single to cash in on Christmas. It’s deliberately blatant and silly, and it’s very catchy as well. The reference to Woolworths brings back fond memories too! I also have a Dub version that came out on a re-release of the album, and has the band giving a funny audio commentary (with strong language) over the top of the track. And there’s the Let’s Bank Mix, which is an extended version of the track. It was originally released on the 12” single, but I was able to find it online. So in that version you get to hear extra instrumental parts, which is pretty cool.

Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas?

There have been multiple versions of this song, so I’ve combined them all into one album in my collection.

The original Band Aid version from 1984 is by far the best, of course, and needs no introduction. It was much later, however, that I discovered the extended version online, which must have originally been on the 12” single. From the start it has slightly different instrumentation to it – it’s only minor, but you can tell it’s a new mix. The track is extended by the addition of a lengthy middle section, featuring spoken Christmas greetings from many of the artists involved on the track, over a percussion backing. David Bowie & Bob Geldof get the most prominence towards the end of this section, before it dives into an extended version of the “Feed The World” ending with additional echo on the vocals.

I’ve also got an extra track from the 1985 re-issue called Feed The World. Here you get an instrumental version of the song, overlaid with the spoken greetings from the extended mix, along with extracts from a phonecall with Bob Geldof, before the “Feed The World” ending kicks in, and Bob Geldof’s words finish the track. It’s not a version you’d listen to over and over again necessarily, but it’s an interesting addition. And from that same year, I’ve also got the 2 versions performed at Live Aid – a very brief and slow rendition of one section of the song by Paul Young during his set, and then the finale performance with everybody that closed the Wembley part of the show. The latter is messy in places (unsurprisingly, as they were all knackered by that point!), but still sounds cool, especially with the huge crowd singing along.

I’ve got the subsequent versions from later years for the sake of completion as much as anything, and it is a good charitable cause I’m happy to donate to. But none of them match up to the original. If anything they get worse each time in my opinion. The Band Aid 2 version wasn’t too bad, though it did lack much of the original’s sound and charm somehow. The Band Aid 20 version had voices that didn’t feel as strong as the original, and that rap section that felt completely out of place. And the Band Aid 30 version for the Ebola crisis rewrote some of the lyrics and again didn’t sound as powerful.

As I say, I know it’s all for a good cause, and they have to put a different spin on the song each time. So fair play to the artists involved and I hope a load of money was raised each time. But they are just proving that the original can’t be improved upon.

Bryan Adams – Christmas

A great EP released by Bryan in 2019, with 5 tracks including Joe & Mary, Must Be Santa & Christmas Time.

Cliff Richard – Christmas With Cliff

At one point there seemed to be a lengthy phase where newspapers liked to give away free CDs on a regular basis. And I ended up gathering quite a few – either from papers we bought ourselves, like the Daily Mirror, or from papers that relatives bought, like the Daily Mail or the Evening Standard, which they would post to me as they didn’t want them.

So this is a CD that was given away free with the Daily Mail one year, containing some of Cliff’s big Christmas hits, including Mistletoe & Wine of course. But the other tracks on here are lovely as well. The opening track, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, is fun and catchy to start with, while Saviours Day is another well-known hit of his, and I like his versions of The Christmas Song and Let It Snow as well.

Dennis Waterman & George Cole – Minder

I have a self-compiled album of tracks relating to the TV show Minder, including a few versions of the title theme (I Could Be So Good For You), and other tracks used during the show. And in amongst it all is a single they released, called What Are We Gonna Get ‘Er Indoors? This is a brilliant, funny song featuring Terry & Arthur from the show, with Arthur fretting about what to get his wife, and Terry not really caring! The B-side called Quids & Quavers is also good too, with Terry trying to write and play a song, while Arthur interferes in the typical scheming money-making way that he does with everything.

Eagles – The Millennium Concert

This was part of their boxset Selected Works: 1972-1999, and one of the songs it contains is Please Come Home For Christmas, which is a beautiful version by this wonderful group.

Elton John – Greatest Hits

I’ve not had to buy an actual Elton John Greatest Hits compilation, because I’ve ended up with enough of his best tracks on things like 70s and 80s compilations that I’ve been able to construct one of my own! It’s been quite handy to pull them out and put them together in that way.

So, naturally, I’ve included Step Into Christmas on the end of it, as it’s one of my favourite Christmas songs. It’s such a lively, feel-good Christmas pop classic. What’s less known, however, is the B-side – Ho Ho Ho {Who’d Be A Turkey At Christmas?) – which is wonderfully silly and worthy of regular airplay at Christmas in itself.

Frank Sinatra – The Ultimate Christmas

Another CD I got from a newspaper promotion. And the legendary Sinatra’s voice sounds wonderful at Christmas of course, on songs like Jingle Bells and White Christmas, and my favourites, Let It Snow and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

Kerry Ellis & Brian May – Acoustic By Candlelight

This is the first live album by these two wonderful performers, who work great as a duo together. Kerry’s voice is stunning, as demonstrated very well on her performance of In The Bleak Midwinter, which sounds amazing.

LadBaby – I Love Sausage Rolls

Christmas number 1 charity singles released by Youtuber LadBaby, supporting The Trussell Trust and UK food banks. They are only the third act after The Beatles and The Spice Girls, and the very first novelty performers of all time, to have consecutive Christmas number 1 hits. So this compilation I’ve made consists of their 2019 song I Love Sausage Rolls and a Swing Version of the track, plus their debut hit We Built This City… On Sausage Rolls from 2018.

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Christmas Time Again

It came as quite a surprise when I discovered that this iconic American rock band had done a Christmas album. And I’m glad, because it’s brilliant, kicking off with the very bluesy Santa’s Messin’ With The Kid, a fun version of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the album’s powerful ballad title track, Christmas Time Again. And it has many other great tracks, including Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’ and Hallelujah It’s Christmas, plus a couple of nice instrumentals as well.

Madness – Mad Not Mad

The deluxe re-release of this album, and the singles box set called The Business, included the fun track Inanity Over Christmas, which includes all the members of the band delivering their festive greetings. It’s silly and enjoyable in true Madness style.

Monty Python – The Meaning Of Life

This was one of the brilliant comedy films from the wonderful comedy group. And one of the most fun segments in the movie is Christmas In Heaven, a lavish song and dance number welcoming those who had just passed away to their new spiritual home.

The deluxe edition of the soundtrack also includes an alternate version, which is twice as long as the original, with lots of additional lyrics, and is orchestrated completely differently. It’s a really cool version as well, it would have worked great in the movie too.

Mrs Mills – Glad Tidings (Mrs Mills’ Christmas Party)

This is another album I inherited on vinyl. Mrs Mills was a famous pianist who produced many albums of piano instrumentals that people could sing-along to. So this is a fun collection of tracks, kicking off with a very catchy performance of Jingle Bells, and taking in lots of other well-known Christmas songs along the way. It’s a nice album to have on in the background, or to sing along with if you feel so inclined!

Pet Shop Boys – Christmas

This was a short EP released by the duo. Talking of Madness just now, it actually includes an interesting cover of My Girl, which is quite good. But the first track is the only festive one, a new version of It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas. It was originally a fan club single, so it was new to me when I heard it on this EP. It’s quite a catchy track too, it’s got a nice steady beat to it.

The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale Of New York

Talking of the Pet Shop Boys, they were responsible for keeping this song off the number 1 spot. It’s hard to believe that this track, regularly voted the top Christmas hit of all time, and the most played Christmas song on UK radio, never got to the top spot. It only reached number 2. But it’s consistently reached the top 20 in the years since. And so it deserves to.

It is one of my absolute top favourite Christmas songs that I never tire of hearing every year. It’s so different and original, it has great variety within it, and the combination of Shane McGowan’s and Kirsty MacColl’s voices is perfect for this, and indeed Kirsty’s voice is beautiful. It’s a tragedy that she died so young whilst saving her son’s life, but she’s left an incredible legacy with this song, on top of her other hits.

So I have multiple versions of this track in one mini-album. All uncensored of course, I hate it when TV shows, radio stations or live performers bleep out or change the words in the second verse, because it doesn’t sound right then. As well as the main song, Fairytale Of New York, I also have the instrumental version (which is lovely in itself), some fascinating demo versions that sound completely different to the final record (demo 1, demo 2 and demo 3, with Pogues bass player Cait O’Riordian singing the female part), and a live performance by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl on St Patrick’s Day 1988 (a wonderful and rare chance to see them live together).

Queen – The Works

Thank God It’s Christmas was originally a non-album single release, but appeared some years later on Greatest Hits III, and then as a bonus track on a deluxe re-issue of The Works. So it’s not as well-known as some of the bigger Christmas hits out there, but it’s a really beautiful song. Freddie’s on top form here, it’s beautifully sung.

REO Speedwagon – Not So Silent Night (Christmas With REO Speedwagon)

This is a great rock album of Christmas songs, introduced by a very relaxing version of The First Noel, before it kicks in properly with Winter Wonderland., followed by a great interpretation of Silent Night and a really lively version of Deck The Halls. And it carries on like that, a wonderful mixture of slow tracks (like The White Snows Of Winter) and fast ones (such as Children Go Where I Send Thee). So I really like it.

The Shadows – The Collection

I’ve had multiple compilations by this iconic and wonderful instrumental group, some of which have repeating tracks, that I’ve bundled together into one large greatest hits compilation. And one of the tracks is a beautiful version of Walking In The Air. Hank Marvin’s guitar sound lends itself perfectly to this track, and the way it’s been put together with the backing instruments works really nicely. It’s a very relaxing track.

Shakin’ Stevens – Merry Christmas Everyone

The song Merry Christmas Everyone is another of my all-time favourite festive hits, and one that everybody knows and can enjoy singing along with. I also have an extended version that I must have found on Youtube somewhere, which has a second, different saxophone solo during the latter part of the song after the key change. But it doesn’t seem to be online now, so I’m glad I kept a copy.

However, he also released a new version with The Salvation Army in 2015, called Echoes Of Merry Christmas Everyone. It has a very different musical arrangement to the original, and a few slightly altered lyrics, but all in a really good way, and I love this version. It’s rare I say this for an artist’s remake of a song, but it’s up there with the original version in my opinion, because it’s really catchy and sounds really fresh.

But that’s not all, because I actually have a whole album of Christmas songs by Shakin’ Stevens, which is called Merry Christmas Everyone. So as well as the title song, you get great tracks including Rockin’ Little Christmas, White Christmas, I’ll Be Home This Christmas, It’s Gonna Be A Lonely Christmas, Blue Christmas and The Best Christmas Of Them All. So don’t think Shaky’s restricted to one festive song. He’s done quite a few, and they’re all great!

Slade – Crackers

This is a Christmas party album, with a mixture of party songs (e.g. Let’s Dance and Okey Cokey) and festive tracks. So in terms of the latter, you get fantastic rock versions of Santa Claus Is Coming To TownDo They Know It’s Christmas?Here’s To… (The New Year) and the medley of Auld Lang Syne & You’ll Never Walk Alone. You always hear their version of Auld Lang Syne after London’s New Year Fireworks. It works perfectly there, getting everyone linking arms and singing along in a lively, celebratory fashion.

And, of course, you get Merry Xmas Everybody, my personal favourite of all Christmas songs. It’s an obvious choice, but I absolutely love it. Less well known, perhaps, is the extended remix, which is also good fun, though I still prefer the original mix. And actually, the track on the Crackers album is an amazing live version, which is faster and heavier, and in my mind superior to, the studio track. But I’ve moved the regular version from a Christmas compilation to the end of this album as well, along with the extended version I found on Youtube, as it obviously sits perfectly here.

There is also a live version on their compilation Slave Alive! – The Live Anthology. However, as that festival was in the middle of August, the band don’t perform the song fully. Noddy simply gets the audience to belt out the chorus instead. So the track is only 40 seconds long, but it’s still fun to hear the crowd singing it, and I do include it in my Christmas playlist. But the definitive live version is the one on their Crackers album.

Status Quo – It’s Christmas Time / Quofestive 2011 & 2012

In 2008, Status Quo released a great festive track called It’s Christmas Time, which I really like. It’s pure Quo and a perfect, catchy rock track for the season, and there’s also an instrumental Quo-eoke Mix you can sing along with too. Rather than have 2 tracks floating around on their own, I’ve added them as bonus tracks to the closest studio album, In Search Of The Fourth Chord, released the year before.

I’ve also got a couple of live concerts by the band- Quofestive 2011 & Quofestive 2012 – recorded at the O2 Arena in London by a company called Live Here Now. They’re standard Quo concerts for the most part, but each contains a Christmas medley as well. The 2011 Medley features guest stars Roy Wood (from Wizzard) and Kim Wilde, while the 2012 Medley is just the band on their own and includes It’s Christmas Time.

T Rex – 20th Century Superstar

This is a box set by the band, including solo tracks by Marc Bolan as well.  And it features 2 festive rarities. Christmas Bop is a really fun song, but it never got properly released as a single in the end, so it’s great that it was made available on this boxset. And there is also the Xmas Flexi Message from the 1972 Fan Club Flexidisc, where you get to hear Marc Bolan and the other members of the group passing on their Christmas wishes, followed by another lovely Christmas song.

The Ventures – The Ventures’ Christmas Album

The Ventures were an instrumental guitar band who were big in the 60s, in a similar way to The Shadows. And one of their albums was a Christmas release. Sometimes the tracks start with riffs that sound like another famous non-Christmas track, but then go into a Christmas number that you recognise. So you’ve got cool guitar versions of Sleigh Ride, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Silver Bells, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, We Wish You A Merry Christmas and White Christmas for instance, among many others. It’s great to hear the songs played in their unique style, it works very well. So it’s a great Christmas album to have in the collection.

Wham! – The Final

This greatest hits compilation contains the full length Pudding Mix version of Last Christmas, one of the all-time classic festive tracks. Technically it’s not the original mix of the song – the original version from 1984 was remixed with partially new vocals for re-release the following year, and it’s that new Pudding Mix version that’s had all the airplay and been released on every Christmas compilation since. And with good reason, because it is such a lovely song.

The Wurzels – Holy Cow! It’s The Wurzels Christmas Album

Yes, you read that right. The lads from Somerset did indeed release their own Christmas album! And you know what? It’s really good! If you like songs like Combine Harvester (and who couldn’t?), you’ll love their covers of great Christmas hits. It kicks off with a very catchy version of White Christmas, and doesn’t let up from there, and I defy anybody to listen to the album without tapping or swaying along to it. It’s wonderfully jolly, with great interpretations of Merry Xmas Everybody, Sleigh Ride, Fairytale Of New York and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer as just a few examples.

But also, while looking up the songs on Youtube to add to my playlist, I stumbled across another single they released, 10 years before the Christmas album. It’s called Come On Santa, it’s really fun and silly, and it gets quite crazy towards the end! If you want to hear what gets bleeped out of the radio edit, then you can listen to the X-Rated Version as well. It’s not that rude really, but enough for radio stations to reject it. So that’s been a fun discovery while putting this list together!


A Very Special Christmas

This was a series of compilation albums produced to raise money for Special Olympics. and they’ve got a lot of lovely tracks on it by well known artists. Often they’re covering very familiar songs, meaning they sound different but in a good way, while there are some other original songs on there too. It’s a great alternative to the bog standard Christmas compilations you get every year. I’ve included as many tracks as I can from these compilations in my Youtube playlist, but my top 20 tracks would be:

  1. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – The Pointer Sisters
  2. Winter Wonderland – Eurythmics
  3. Do You Hear What I Hear? – Whitney Houston
  4. Merry Christmas Baby [Live] – Bruce Springsteen
  5. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – The Pretenders
  6. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – John Mellencamp
  7. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – U2
  8. Run Rudolph Run – Bryan Adams
  9. I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas – Bon Jovi
  10. Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  11. Jingle Bell Rock – Randy Travis
  12. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Frank Sinatra & Cyndi Lauper
  13. Please Come Home For Christmas – Bon Jovi
  14. What Christmas Means To Me – Paul Young
  15. Sleigh Ride – Debbie Gibson
  16. Silent Night – Wilson Phillips
  17. Santa Claus Is Back In Town – Jonny Lang
  18. Blue Christmas – Bon Jovi
  19. Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You – SR-71
  20. Back Door Santa – John Popper & B.B. King

We Wish You A Metal Xmas And A Headbanging New Year

As the title suggests, this is an album of heavy metal covers of Christmas songs. Each track is performed by a combination of heavy metal stars that you don’t normally get performing together, so they’re like one-off supergroups. And it sounds pretty awesome. The opening version of We Wish You A Merry Christmas is a perfect heavy metal delivery of the song, and Motorhead’s Lemmy features with Dave Grohl on the second track, Run Rudolph Run, which is a great rock version. And Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer is a fun song that I’d not heard anywhere else before. It’s not an album I’d listen to as frequently as others, as I’m not into heavy metal that heavily, so to speak. But it’s cool to dip into these tracks every so often when you want to rock out over the Christmas period, as a change from other relatively more sedate songs.

Christmas Carols

I mentioned earlier that I used to get free CDs from newspapers sometimes. Around Christmas time, these would sometimes be entire CDs of Christmas carols sung by choirs. Or if it was a festive CD for a particular pop artist, sometimes a few bonus carols by choirs would be tagged on to the end. So I’ve basically combined all of those tracks into one big Christmas Carols compilation, which keeps them all together nicely. So there are carols like:

Christmas Hits & Covers

I’m going to finish with the big tracks that haven’t been mentioned anywhere else above, saving a lot of the best until last, though there are some cheesy ones in here too!

When you buy Christmas compilations of the big hits, you end up with a lot of repeats of the best known songs. So I bundled all of my compilations together into one huge Christmas Hits album, removing the duplicate tracks as well as any that I already have on the artist albums mentioned above.

In addition, I’ve also checked out and downloaded various cover versions of songs over the years, and created a Christmas Covers album dedicated to those. They’re not as good as the originals in most cases, but they’re enjoyable alternatives that help to add further variety to my playlist. Hearing the same song in different variations makes it less predictable and boring, so there are more surprises when I put my playlist on shuffle.

So this is a big roundup of my favourite hits and cover versions that haven’t been mentioned elsewhere in this post already.

And that’s it. Well done if you decided to look through all that, I hope you found it interesting. If you want to recommend any other Christmas tracks for me to check out, or if you find any broken links above, let me know!