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Favourite Contemporary Christmas Songs


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Whether we look forward to carollers showing up on our doorstep in the weeks leading up to Christmas or we switch the lights off, hide behind the couch and pretend we’re not home, carolling is an integral part of the festive season. And as much as we might love the same old tunes that have been belted out in nativity choirs since the 1800s, Christmas song have been brought into the 21st century and it’s important to keep our festive listening up to date with the times. Many recording artists, often on the brink of a plummeting career, bring out a Christmas album that gets them back to the top of the charts. We have a look at four of our favourite contemporary tunes that help spread joy. 

The Little Drummer Boy by Boney M

From the moment this track was recorded in 1981, it has become synonymous with department store Christmas playlists and the mad rush for last minute gift shopping. Despite Boney M being sporadically active from the 1970s all the way up until 2010, “The Little Drummer Boy” has become their legacy with the most longevity and the only song that later generations know from the disco group. The huge commercial success of this song has resulted in some overplaying in the last 30-odd years. We’re sure you’ve exclaimed, “Argh, Boney M already!” when the track starts up in your local Target in the first week of November, but we’re also sure you’re singing “pah-rah-pah-pham-pham” as you’re reading this. 

All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey

It’s hard to deny that two of the best things in the world are Christmas and romance, and this track combines the two in perfect harmony. Another favourite on contemporary Christmas playlists, this is a fun and upbeat track that can be enjoyed by people of any religious denomination but still has to survive the madness of Christmas. There’s no mention of Jesus, Bethlehem or Three Wise Men. This one is all about the commercialisation of Christmas, from the lights to the tree, and not caring about any of it for the sake of love. And it has actual jingling bells in the instrumentation to give it that good old fashion festive feeling. 

Frosty the Snowman by Fiona Apple

If you’ve ever experienced Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere, you will know that one of the best things about it is being toasty and warm inside, wrapped in a soft blanket and sipping on Glühwein while the snow falls gently outside. Well, if that feeling had to be encapsulated in a voice, that voice would belong to Fiona Apple, so now you can experience that comforting feeling while the sun blazes outside and the kids are playing in the pool. “Frosty the Snowman” was originally performed by Christmas hit machine Gene Autry after his success with “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” the previous year, but we think Ms. Apple’s version has a bit more grit.

Do They Know it's Christmas by Band Aid

Of course we love all the twinkling lights and presents, and it’s easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas with all the commercialism that surrounds it. We put this song on the list to remind you – and ourselves – what this holiday is really about. It was written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 to raise money for relief of the famine in Ethiopia at the time. It was written in a rush, because the effects of famine wait for no man – not even Bob Geldof. It’s a bit twee, but we thought the cause made it worthy of the list.



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