Sometimes, life needs a soundtrack.
Yule is definitely one of those times. So, as I was wrapping presents and drinking eggnog, I fired up the “holiday channel” on Pandora.
It was kind of depressing. There was a lot of Emmanuel this and holy that. Even the songs that didn’t hit you over the head with “JESUS IS LORD” weren’t very pagan-friendly.
I even found a list of “secular” holiday songs on the web, and all of them had “Christmas” in the title.
Which is okay unless you, you know…don’t celebrate Christmas.
So, I put together my own playlist of easily accessible, well-known and well-loved songs that are (for the most part) Christmas-free yet will still get you in the holiday spirit.
Jingle Bells – Originally a Thanksgiving tune (and don’t you love those), there’s not a ‘Merry Christmas’ in sight. I like Sammy Davis Jr.’s version.
Deck the Halls – If you find an original version of this (like Katherine Jenkins’), your fa-la-las will be all about Yuletide, not Christmas.
Let it Snow – Another classic winter holiday song that has no Christmas or Baby Jesus anywhere to be found.
Winter Wonderland – Frank Sinatra does this best, and while it does have a parson in it, it’s pretty secular otherwise.
Sleigh Ride – Who doesn’t like a good Bing Crosby tune?
Frosty the Snowman – Bring back your childhood with nary a mention of Christmas.
Jingle Bell Rock – It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it…but no Christmas.
Nutcracker Suite, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Orchestral songs like this one may be “cheating” a bit, but it’s classic holiday cheer.
Beethoven: Fur Elise – You might not think of this as a typical holiday song….unless you grew up watching Charlie Brown. You’ll know it when you hear it. (Hint: It’s what Schroeder plays for Lucy.)
Carol of the Bells – Another classic when you stick to the orchestral version. (Or the Muppets.)
Christmas Eve/Sarajevo – It’s easy to overlook the “Christmas” in the name of this pulsing rock orchestral version of Carol of the Bells.
Here We Go a Wassailing – This is a borderline one. There is a mention of God, but the theme and words are so old-fashioned Yule that they have more to do with pagan traditions than Christian.
Good King Wenceslas – Like ‘Here We Go a Wassailing’, there are Christian overtones to this (Wenceslas is a “saint” and the story takes place “on the feast of Stephen”) but the overall message is a good one, and the language and imagery are very pagan.
The Christians and the Pagans – I love Dar Williams’ anthem to tolerance, with the story of a couple of lesbian witches visiting their very Christian relatives on Christmas Eve.
And last, but certainly not least:
You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Because nothing says ‘the holidays’ like spiders in your soul…
Got a great, pagan-friendly holiday song? Share it in the comments!