Apart from the song "Sleigh Ride," which I've been known to whistle on cloudy days in June, I hate traditional holiday music. Part of it comes from when I worked on the floor in a bookstore for a year, and was subjected to three months of traditional holiday tunes on endless loop, eight hours a day, five days a week.
But tomorrow, we're hosting a holiday party, and you can't have a party without holiday music. The only Christmas song in my collection is John Lennon and Yoko Ono's antiwar "Happy Xmas (War is Over)."
Fortunately, I've still got my review unit of the Sonos Multi-Room Music System, which comes with a 30-day trial subscription to Rhapsody. This is the perfect use for a subscription service--finding tons of songs you need for a specific one-time use but would probably never buy.
Using the PC-based Sonos controller, I navigated to Rhapsody, fired up the search engine, and started with the songs I remember from rock radio in the '80s: "Father Christmas" by the Kinks, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" by Bruce Springsteen, Bob and Doug Mackenzie's take on the 12 days of Christmas. Then I ran a couple of Google searches on "rock" and "Christmas" and found all sorts of gems, which I then grabbed from Rhapsody.
Here's what I finally came up with--perhaps it'll give you some ideas for your own holiday:
"Sleigh Ride," Doc Severinsen (the definitive instrumental version)
"Santa Claus is Coming to Town," David Grisman
"Father Christmas," The Kinks
"Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," Bruce Springsteen
"Sleigh Ride," The Ronettes (the definitive vocal version)
"Blue Christmas," Elvis Presley
"Thank God It's Christmas," Queen (drama!)
"Happy Xmas (War is Over)," John Lennon and Yoko Ono
"2000 Miles," The Pretenders
"Christmas Wrapping," The Waitresses (the pop song with the refrain "Christmas by myself this year" that I've heard on the radio a thousand times, but I never knew what it was called)
"Things Fall Apart," Cristina (getting weird)
"Santa's Beard," They Might Be Giants
"All I Want for Christmas Is You," Foghat
"Rock and Roll Christmas," George Thorogood
"Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)," The Ramones
"This Time of Year," The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones
"Christmas Duel," Cyndi Lauper (it also features The Hives)
"Season's Greetings," Robbers on High Street
"Fairytale of New York," The Pogues (a classic, haven't heard it in years)
"Christmas is the Only Time," Wes Lachot
"Bouree," Jethro Tull
"Little Saint Nick," The Beach Boys
"Sleigh Ride," "Frosty the Snowman," and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," all from the Ventures' Christmas album. Surf music! This must be what Christmas is like in Australia.
"Twelve Days of Christmas," Bob and Doug Mackenzie
"Christmas, Christmas," Mojo Nixon
"Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer," Elmo and Patsy (I never knew who did that song before this)
"Christmas at Ground Zero," Weird Al Yankovic (might not be a joke given the weather report)
"The Chanukah Song," Adam Sandler (in the name of balance)