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The Best Indie Christmas Songs

Get into the Christmas spirit with Pale Waves, Sufjan Stevens and more

the 6 best indie christmas songs

Every Christmas season, indie artists take it upon themselves to record or cover Christmas songs. From classics to new compositions there is a lot to be loved. If you’re looking for a few tunes to get you into a festive mood, check out these indie Christmas songs and subscribe to our Christmas playlist.

1. Pale Waves – Last Christmas (Wham! Cover)

Oh boy, that Wham! classic. Whether you love it or hate it, you’ll enjoy Pale Waves’ take on this one. The Manchester band make Last Christmas sound like it was one of their own compositions: unapologetic pop with a melancholic undertone. The cover was recorded as part of the Spotify Singles at Metropolis Studios in London.


2. Sufjan Stevens – Lonely Man Of Winter

Lonely Man Of Winter is a super rare Sufjan Stevens track that was originally written for his “Xmas Song Xchange Contest”. The song was shared with one fan only, Alex Duffy, who won the contest back in 2007. Lonely Man Of Winter, including a new mix and another rare track titled Every Day Is Christmas, and is available on vinyl.

3. The Unlikely Candidates – Father Christmas (The Kinks Cover)

The Unlikely Candidates are an alternative quintet from Texas who originally formed at a high school party. They have thus far released three EPs and toured with the likes of Fall Out Boy and The Offspring. This year, they have officially released their rendition of The Kinks’ Father Christmas which has been circling around the internet for years.

4. Phoebe Bridgers – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Phoebe Bridgers releases a charity track every year around Christmas. For 2020 she recorded a cover of Merle Haggard’s If We Make It Through December. The track follows on from the Copycat Killer EP and her critically acclaimed sophomore album Punisher, released in June 2020.

5. Calexico – Hear The Bells

Hear The Bells is taken from Calexico’s holiday album Seasonal Shift, released on December 4th 2020 via City Slang. More than a Christmas album, the record reflects on the diverse cultural heritage found in the American holiday season and also includes covers of classics by John Lennon and Tom Petty.

6. The Raptors – It’s Christmas (Have A Rock N Roll Time)

The Raptors are a Glasgow based Rock N Roll band. Formed in early 2018 by Becca Murray and Jane Lloyd, they play 70s style rock, naming The Ramones, NY Dolls, and Runaways as their influences. The band released their double single (Death Becomes Her / Teen Witch) earlier this year and to end the year in style, recorded a wild Christmas single titled It’s Christmas (Have A Rock N Roll Time).

7. KT Tunstall – Hey, Mr. Santa!

Singer-songwriter KT Tunstall’s Christmas single Hey, Mr Santa! delivers a humourous and anti-materialistic message. The track was written by Tunstall and renowned Hollywood composer Christopher Lennertz, who has worked on the scores for Horrible Bosses, Bad Moms, and Pitch Perfect 3. Hey, Mr Santa! comes with a lyric video directed by Max Downey.

8. Holy Moly & The Crackers – Punk Drunk Xmas Eve

Holy Moly & The Crackers hail from the North East of England and are best described as “gipsy folk rock”, if there is such a thing. Punks Drunk Xmas Eve is their first ever Christmas single and comes with a Tim Burton-esque video that is full of dark and funny moments. If you want to turn things up a notch this year, Holy Moly and here guys got you sorted.

9. Banfi – Caroline

Banfi are a pop rock trio from London who have themselves a name over the past few years. After sharing the stage with the likes of Bear’s Den and Amber Run, the band have recently completed a near sell-out European tour. Caroline is their Christmas themed single.

10. Sparks – Christmas Without a Prayer

In 1974, Thank God It’s Not Christmas appeared on the Sparks’ third studio album Kimono My House. Since that time, Sparks have created a unique musical legacy both on record and in live performances, most recently by founding the supergroup FFS, consisting of Sparks and Franz Ferdinand.

11. Smoke Fairies – Christmas Without a Kiss

Smoke Fairies’ video Christmas Without A Kiss is taken from their holiday-themed collection Wild Winter. In 2015, Wild Winter sold out entirely when it was released in a limited edition run and sold exclusively at Rough Trade as the December Album of the Month.

12. Palma Violets – Last Christmas On Planet Earth

Palma Violets’ Christmas single Last Christmas On Planet Earth is out now via Rough Trade Records. The single is backed up by Palma’s favorite All the Garden Birds sung by the Rhythm Studio Kids Choir. The single is available on Limited 7″ & digital.

13. Marika Hackman – Driving Under Stars

In between her debut album We Slept At Last and the follow up I’m Not Your Man, British artist Marika Hackman released the Christmas EP Wonderland. The EP features her own composition as well as her take on the classic O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

14. Lucius – Christmas Time Is Here

LA-based four piece Lucius recorded this Christmas classic with Richard Swift (The Shins, The Arcs) before he passed away this summer. Christmas Time Is Here was released as part of a 7” single series for the The Fug Yep Soundation to raise awareness for addiction. All proceeds will go to the Swift family as well as MusiCares and Music Support UK organisations.

15. Feet – Vegetarian Christmas

Vegetarian Christmas is an ode to Linda McCartney and “alternatives to meat”.  The song follows in from the band’s debut album What’s Inside Is More Than Just Ham. The band commented on the song:

Teach, don’t preach is the songs philosophy. We’re presenting the option and asking what’s on your plate this Christmas? …Why not make vegetarianism part of yours this Christmas.

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Want more? Check out our Indie Christmas playlist.

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Deborah Jacobs

Music blogger by night, SEO by day. Started Indie is not a Genre in 2011, will always prefer live music over recordings and intimate pub gigs over arena shows.

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