Can you imagine Christmas without carols? Beloved by young and old alike, Christmas carols truly make the season brighter.   

But let’s be honest – hearing the same traditional carols played everywhere for a month straight gets repetitive. Plus, if you’re a musician (or a music teacher) there isn’t much challenge in performing the same thing year after year.

Want to hear something a little different this Christmas season? Check out our list of non-traditional Christmas songs below. Our teachers here at Globalsound Studio teach these tunes when they receive requests for more obscure seasonal songs. From hard-rocking covers, to classic legends, to bubblegum pop, we’ve got just the song for those looking for Christmas music outside the (gift) box.

“What’s This” (from The Nightmare Before Christmas) by Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy’s take on the most memorable song from Tim Burton’s classic film The Nightmare Before Christmas rocks harder than the movie version. Although the film is official classified as a Halloween flick, fans claim it as a Christmas classic. Either way,  ‘What’s This’ is an earnest ode to what makes Christmas great – despite the lyrics about ‘children throwing snowballs instead of throwing heads’.   

“Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande 

This bit of Christmas bubblegum pop has been a hit with our students since its release in 2014. Ariana Grande’s R&B styled vocals recall Mariah Carey’s classic tune “All I Want for Christmas is You”.

“Happy Xmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon

John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1971 single has evolved beyond its origins as a counter-culture protest tune . This modern Christmas standard has been covered by everyone from Neil Diamond to Sarah McLachlan to Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson. “Happy Xmas” is frequently named as a Christmas favorite by musicians and listeners alike.

“River” by Joni Mitchell

This classic tune about heartbreak might be a little less than jolly. However, its beautiful melody has endured the test of time. Appearing on Joni Mitchell’s classic album Blue, ‘River’ features a version of “Jingle Bells” as an intro.

“Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson

‘Is love alive?’ goes the refrain on ‘Winter Song’. This mournful duet by two of the biggest singer-songwriters in music today perfectly captures the December blues. ‘Winter Song’s lovely harmonies and poignant lyrics make this song both melancholy and hopeful.