Whether you’re a scrooge or a Cindy Lou Who, you can’t escape Christmas music. There are entire stations dedicated to it and Gap commercials won’t stop playing it. When I was a kid, I preferred my cassette tape of Ren & Stimpy’s Crock O’ Christmas, but I don’t think it’s quite appropriate to keep listening to songs about cat hair balls and suitcases full of meat. (Seriously, Mom, what were you thinking when you bought that for me?)
Thankfully, there are better options these days for us queer gals, and whether you celebrate Christmas, Winter Solstice, or another year being over, you’d probably agree that any holiday song sounds better when there’s a guitar-clutching lesbian singin’ it (or a gal lesbians love). Thus, we’ve compiled a list of our 10 favorite holiday songs that are sure to get you through the caroling, Chinese food-eating, and relative-avoiding times of the season.
1. “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” by Tegan and Sara
As if the twins couldn’t get any cuter, they had to go and do “The Chipmunk Song.” Yes, that’s the Chipmunk-ified voices of T&S, complete with a “Saarrraaaa!!!” just like Dave yelling at Alvin. Plus, how freaking cute were they as munchkins?
2. “Frosty the Snowman” by Fiona Apple
Sure, Fiona Apple’s not a lesbian, but she’s amazing. And listening to her singing about upbeat things to an upbeat tempo is at once wildly bizarre and heart-warming. Her adorable take on the tune will surely melt any Grinch’s heart (heck, it melted hers) even if it’s two sizes two small.
3. “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” by k.d. lang
Speaking of the Grinch, Ryan Murphy sneakily had k.d. lang sing the famous Grinch song with Matthew Morrison in last week’s episode of Glee. Although many were miffed that she herself did not make an appearance on the show (how awesome would a duet with Coach Beiste be?), k.d. lang’s rendition is instant holiday spirit.
4. “The Heartache Can Wait” by Brandi Carlile
Trying ot wallow in the fact that you’re alone during this time of year? Why not wallow with the lovely Brandi Carlile and curl up next to roasting chestnuts with a bottle of whiskey? At least you’ll be alone together with our favorite Seattle-born belle.
5. “Christmas Tree” by Lady Gaga
On a raunchier note, for our friskier friends this time of year, there’s Gaga’s “Christmas Tree” with Space Cowboy. I’m just having a little trouble understanding the meaning of the song: “Oh, Oh, Christmas/my Christmas tree’s delicious.” Her lyrics are way too subtle for me to get whatever type of sexual innuendo she’s trying to convey. Let me know if you can help.
6. “River” by Joni Mitchell
A classic yet beautifully tragic winter love song. Another awesome straight woman that a lot of gay ladies love.
7. “It Really is a Wonderful Life” by Indigo Girls
Chely Wright penned this lezzie holiday gem for Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. Go ahead and crank up the volume as you and your boo dress up the cats in Santa hats, trim the tree, ahem, or whatever it is you crazy kids do for the holidays.
8. “Winter” by Tori Amos
The winter season isn’t just about reindeer and latkes — it’s about coming of age, too. Thank you, Tori Amos, for this melancholy record that encapsulates the bittersweet sentiment of growing up.
9. “12 Gays of Xmas” by Venus Envy
Some gals at AE love “Silent Dyke,” from Venus Envy’s I’ll be a Homo for Christmas album, but “12 Gays of Xmas” from that album is one of the best Christmas songs ever made. I won’t give away the whole song, but here’s a little preview of what her girlfriend gave to her: “Five dental dams, four turkey basters, three tapes from Venus Envy, two dogs named Sappho and a year of therapy.” Haven’t gotten your holiday gifts yet because you’ve run out of ideas? Now you don’t have an excuse — run to Williams Sonoma and grab your turkey baster!
10. “O Holy Night” by Tracy Chapman
Nobody sings it like Tracy. It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not — Tracy’s sultry low register is warm like a fire and sweeter than a candy cane. Yum.
Honorable mentions include Wilson Phillips’s new Christmas Album, Christmas in Harmony (beware, they’re still cheesy as ever); Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas II You (even though “Oh, Santa” is dreadful); and Janelle Monae’s “Winter Wonderland” from Gap’s 2008 holiday commercials.
Still can’t get enough holiday music? Check out last year’s feature on winter songs and add to your list.
What are your favorite tunes this time of year?