From tearjerkers to classics: Tier ranking holiday jams

There is one constant in the midst of this pandemic: the ability of radio stations to churn out nonstop Christmas music at every hour of every day.

Due to the rise of infections in our province, the holidays are going to be, as they say, different.

The indiscriminate closure of all holiday events means no VanDusen, Lafarge lights, or overpriced Winterfests, to say the least. But, there is one constant in the midst of this pandemic: the ability of radio stations to churn out nonstop holiday music at every hour of every day.

In the spirit of that special time of year when you can hear songs about a bullied reindeer and mistletoe, and hear Kelly Clarkson belting her heart out within the same hour, I’ve decided to compile a thoroughly enjoyable tier ranking.

Inspired by Canadian Youtuber Casey Aonso’s seminal video tier ranking celebrity quarantine blunders, I’ve also made up my own categories below, in no particular order:

Tearjerkers

A sad song with a happy title, bonus points for Sam Smith’s vocals.
A sad song with a happy title, bonus points for Sam Smith’s vocals. courtesy iHeartradio

Let us all collectively plug in our headphones as we mourn the loss of free cookie platters from this year’s cancelled in-person ugly sweater parties.

Last Christmas,” WHAM!

Crying while jamming at the same time? WHAM! proves that feelings aren’t the only things that are catchy.

I Need You Christmas,” Jonas Brothers

A much more melancholy follow-up to last year’s bop, “Like It’s Christmas,” proves that these brothers have got range as well as great hair.

Christmas Time is Here,” Vince Guaraldi Trio

Starting the season off with a slow one that’ll make you channel your inner Charlie Brown.

Merry Christmas, Darling,” Karen Carpenter

Karen Carpenter makes us all weep (with her talent).

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Sam Smith

A sad song with a happy title, bonus points for Sam Smith’s vocals.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Leslie Odom Jr

Leslie Odom Jr’s voice was made for holiday songs and Hamilton. All kidding aside though, keep the thought of future, pandemic-free holidays in mind and please, please, stay safe this season.

Try not to sing along (and fail) / Classics

Can you honestly listen to this song and not feel even vaguely excited about the holidays?
Can you honestly listen to this song and not feel even vaguely excited about the holidays? courtesy The Atlantic

Hate them or love them, I know you know the lyrics to all of these.

All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey

Dare I say this is to the holidays what “Happy Birthday” is to birthdays? (I do.)

Feliz Navidad,” José Feliciano

Can you honestly listen to this song and not feel even vaguely excited about the holidays?

Underneath the Tree,” Kelly Clarkson

Miss American Idol kills this from the first note to the last.

White Christmas,” Johnny Mathis

Will it happen in Vancouver? We can only hope.

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” Michael Bublé

There are numerous brilliant versions of this song, but I feel like I would have personally failed Michael Bublé if I didn’t put him down at least once.

It’s getting weird

Holiday songs that are a little unusual, confusing or just generally…off.

To this day, I don’t know why this happened, but it did, and we got a music video with it.
To this day, I don’t know why this happened, but it did, and we got a music video with it. courtesy Philadelphia Magazine

Mistress Claus,” Alyssa Reid

Frankly, this entire category exists solely to call out this song which — I’m not kidding — is told from the perspective of Santa’s…mistress. Is this weird or is it just me?

All I Want for Christmas (Super festive!),” Justin Bieber with Mariah Carey

To this day, I don’t know why this happened, but it did, and we got a music video with it.

Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer,” Elmo & Patsy

Ah yes, because the holidays would not be complete without reindeer and death.

Sounds like a Christmas song, but isn’t.

This song is not technically Christmas related—though its presence on Pentatonix’s Christmas roster says otherwise.
This song is not technically Christmas related—though its presence on Pentatonix’s Christmas roster says otherwise. courtesy Financial Times

And finally my personal favourite: songs that, for whatever reason, just give off a vaguely holiday-y, vibe despite having literally nothing to do with them.

Ava,” Coeur de Pirate

Credits to my French 12 high school teacher for introducing me to this lovely Quebecois singer. Doesn’t this sound like the background music for a cute Christmas commercial?

Beyond,” Leon Bridges

Is that sleigh bells in the background? Tell me that he didn’t write this with present-opening in mind.

My Favourite Things,” Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music

Like the film starring the iconic Julie Andrews, this song is not technically Christmas related — though its presence on Pentatonix’s Christmas roster says otherwise.