On Rotation: December 2023

In the words of Mariah Carey... IT'S TIME! Christmas is just around the corner and if you're after some festive tunes to get you in the groove, look no further than our picks. With all the classics and some alternatives, your Christmas playlist is sorted.


Mud - Lonely This Christmas


I first heard this track when Frank Hamilton (look up his ‘One Song a Day’ project from a few years ago) covered it and was like ‘wow, what a delightfully depressing song’. Since then it has been my go to when folk are playing Christmas songs, and it somehow never sours the mood. To quote Mrs Doyle: “maybe I like the misery…”

Honourable mentions:

  • White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
  • The 7 O’clock News / Silent Night – Phoebe Bridgers
  • That Was The Worst Christmas Ever! – Sufjan Stevens

Elton John - Step Into Christmas


This is my ultimate upbeat Christmas song. It always puts me in a good mood, and gets me ready to 'Step Into Christmas' if you will. It was mixed to sound like one of producer Phil Spector’s 1960s recordings, using plenty of compression and imitating his trademark “wall of sound” technique. This was intentional according to both Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and an homage of sorts to Christmas songs by Spector-produced groups such as The Ronettes.

Honourable mentions:

  • White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
  • Stop The Cavalry - Jona Lewie
  • Fairytale of New York - The Pogues ft Kirsy MacColl
  • Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses
  • Anything from A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector

Wham! - Last Christmas


A charity record released in 1984 but kept off the number 1 spot by one of the biggest charity records ever (Band Aid’s 'Do They Know Its Christmas'), this is the ultimate festive song for me and will take some beating. The song has taken on an extra special significance given George Michael’s death on Christmas Day in 2016, but almost 40 years after its release, it’s still pure pop joy and the very 80s video and hairdos just top it off for me.

Honourable mentions:

  • The Power of Love – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  • 2 Become 1 – Spice Girls
  • Little Saint Nick – Beach Boys
  • I Was Born on Christmas Day – Saint Etienne & Tim Burgess
  • Go Power at Christmas Time – James Brown

José Feliciano - Feliz Navidad


The Spanish song, 'Feliz Navidad', is just a warm, heartfelt Christmas tune and one of my favourites. It's just an upbeat, feel good festive track that gets me singing along to the chorus every time. With it's catchy beat it's become a popular song all over the world, and the title of the song literally means 'Merry Christmas!'

Honourable mentions:

  • Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid
  • All I Want For Christmas - Mariah Carey

Pretenders - 2000 Miles


There’s something nostalgic about '2000 Miles' for me. It conjures up memories of being little and Christmas being so magical. The track also has that special 80s stamp that’s impossible to recreate. Between the images of being small, sitting in a gaudy living room surrounded by twinkling lights and decorations that have been putting a shift in since the 50s, and the almost snowfall-like melody of the guitar, this is the song I turn to when I want to get in the festive mood.

Honourable mentions:

  • Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin Stevens
  • Don’t Let the Bells End – The Darkness
  • Stop The Cavalry – Jona Lewie

Ella Fitzgerald - White Christmas


A very classic Christmas feelgood track that is guaranteed to get you in the festive mood. Ella's smooth jazz cover of this track will leave you feeling relaxed and wishing for a white Christmas... The perfect song to put on whilst your wrapping presents or putting up the tree.

Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmastime


With those iconic synths, chimes and bells, this catchy and cheerful track reminds me of all those childhood Christmas’ sat around the tree with the family. Released back in 1979, it’s still a staple festive track which never fails to make me feel nostalgic about those magical Christmas’ when I was young.

Honourable mentions:

  • Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Ella Fitzgerald
  • Driving Home for Christmas - Chris Rea
  • Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon & Yoko Ono
  • What Christmas Means to Me - Stevie Wonder


Check out our full playlist of festive songs below!

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Hey, I'm Karishma. I like food, music and Christmas!

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