12 Even More Alternative Christmas Songs

12 Even More Alternative Christmas Songs

Who need Deck the Halls when you have these jams?
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Well, the time of year has arrived again, where local news stations across America play exclusively Christmas music until Christmas Day (and sometimes then some). We all know the classics: Johnny Mathis's It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You, the Trans Siberian Orchestra, and anything Bublé, but every year the stations always miss out on some underrated Christmas songs. They deserve some air time, so while these stations keep on playing White Christmas, I will show you 12 days of Christmas worth of holiday sleeper jams, as I have in 2016 and 2015.

1. Don't Shoot Me Santa by The Killers


The Killers make it on my list every year, and I forget that they actually released a Christmas album and a Christmas EP. In Don't Shoot Me Santa, frontman Brandon Flowers pleads with Santa Claus to spare his life because he has been good all year. The song may have come out ten years ago, but it still absolutely slams. One of my favorites on the list.

2. Jingle Bell Rock by Cascada


If this song were remixed into a hardcore, eurobeat remix, Cascada's Jingle Bell Rock would fit nicely with a holiday Dance Dance Revolution game, if only that existed. What we do have is a complete studio Christmas album by the dance music queen herself, so I had a hard time choosing just one for this list. In the end, I went with Jingle Bell Rock because, just like her hit "Everytime We Touch," this song goes hard from beginning to end. It never drags, and in the end isn't that what Christmas is all about?

3. Jingle Barack by SNL feat. Chance the Rapper


A very timely selection, Saturday Night Live created a Run-DMC-esque 90s Christmas song last year about seizing the day and celebrating Christmas before Donald Trump became president. The song pulls out all the stops on what a Obama-less Christmas looks like, such as when Chance the Rapper sings the line "Imma hurt myself before we lose Obamacare." On the bright side, the original DMC himself makes an appearance in the video.

4. Underneath the Mistletoe by Sia


Sia released a Christmas album this year, and radio stations seem to be sleeping on it for God knows what reason (save for the single, Santa's Coming For Us). The album takes you on an emotional sleigh ride, including Underneath the Mistletoe being one of the more heart-wrenching bumps. The music video takes on a stop-motion style reminiscent of TV movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. In fact, most of the music videos from this album use this style, so after you watched this one, go listen to another song from the album.

5. Christmas Unicorn by Sufjan Stevens


Laugh that seasonal depression away with the seemingly fun and lighthearted Sufjan Stevens song. Oh, who am I kidding, a Sufjan Stevens song with both of those qualities? Unbelievable. Anyway, enjoy what Stevens has to say about the Christian holiday.

6. Frostbitten by Ivy Levan


Ivy Levan will always remain as one of the most underrated female pop artists of the latter half of the 2010s. She wields a powerhouse of a voice and unleashes it in a Christmas pop song about how different Christmas will be without her love (as most Christmas songs by female pop singers do).

7. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Death Cab for Cutie


Honestly, I only heard Michael Bublé's cover of this song, but after hearing Death Cab for Cutie's take, I think I have a new favorite. What can I say? I like the guitar strums in this one.

8. Single Hell by Hyadain


An energetic and comedic take on being single during the holidays as well as losing that Christmas magic as an adult, Japanese composer Hyadain parodies Jingle Bells (also referencing four other popular English Christmas songs) and turns it into Single Hell. A lot happens in this music video, so I advise you watch it for yourself.

9. Ski by Hyper Potions


Yes, without the title and the video it would be hard to tell that this is a Christmas song, but I always welcome EDM Christmas songs with open arms, jingling bells or not. So, enjoy.

10. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by Enya


Oh Enya, how could I have forgotten you? Enya, you new age goddess, capable of folk, celtic, and hymnals too. You really have to be in a mood to listen to Enya, but her voice invites you for a spiritual experience. This has to be the song that plays in heaven if you die on Christmas Day. I apologize if that was too morbid.

11. Winter Wonderland by Shinee

You would be surprised by the number of K-pop Christmas songs there are, but in the end I had to go with Winter Wonderland by boy band Shinee. The members sing in Japanese, typical for most K-pop groups who often release Korean and Japanese covers of their songs. I appreciate how much of a boy band hit this sounds, with its "I wanna hold you close baby" mood and whimsical music video. I also wanted to honor one of its fallen members. It is the least I can do. Rest in peace, Kim Jonghyun.

12. Who Spiked the Eggnog? by Straight No Chaser


Last but but definitely not least is Straight No Chaser, the all male acapella group that keeps popping up in my Christmas lists. Honestly, though, who knew they released this many original Christmas songs that are all so catchy?

Happy Holidays to all, and hopefully your Christmas playlist found some new festive bangers.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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3 Signs You're Overdoing It For A 'Bikini Bod' And Risking Your Actual Body In The Process

Eventually, the repercussions of inadequate self-care catch up with us, and we will always be the underdog on the battlefield for self-love.

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Looking in the mirror, a surge of reality overtook her petite body, and her eyes opened for the first time in years to the protrusive bones at all angles of her body. Her relationships were dwindling by a thread, and the hourglass of her life was almost up, yet she continued fighting an impossible battle for an impossible body. How did she allow a seemingly harmless diet escalate into something so drastic? Why was she putting her health on the line for a body that was only seen on billboards and magazine covers?

It's that inevitable time of year when the weather's getting warmer, the birds are chirping, yet your mind has been roaring ever since Target released their bathing suit line in January. Especially during the warmer seasons, everyone wants to look and feel their best, mostly because we can no longer hide that extra "damage" done by Aunt Judy's peanut butter pie in 100-degree weather on the beach.

Having weight loss goals, or any body-related goals for that matter, are true tests of discipline and are certainly rewarding, for both our health and for our self-esteem. However, progress can become addictive, and you could very much start performing a disappearing act if you're not careful and strategic in pursuing your goals.

Particularly to my fellow extremists out there, learn to mend your battle stations wisely if you plan on preparing for the summer season, and don't sacrifice your sanity and your health for a war you'll never win. Here are some signs that you may be overdoing it, or essentially causing more harm than good.

1. You're eating numbers

Not that you literally ate the quadratic formula for breakfast, but you're seeing your food for its numerical value instead of for its sometimes soul-satiating and always body-nourishing means; knowledge is power and counting calories to lose weight is undoubtedly an effective way to track your progress. But not for us extremists. If you have obsessive tendencies, there are more precautions to consider when using this weight loss tool. When the moderate indulgence of a succulent brownie suddenly warps into an off-limits red flag, ringing in your mind: "410 calories, 24 grams of fat and 46 grams of carbs, oh my!" then it's time to step back and reevaluate your plan. Don't let numbers run your life. Food is not the enemy, and you will start becoming your own with this mindset.

2. You've been staying in on the weekends

Your goals for the perfect beach body (as seen, literally, only on TV) just don't involve a night out at the bars, drinking empty calories of alcohol, and, unavoidably, eating pizza. Getting off track for one night makes you anxious. But this will soon start to eat away at you. We are social beings and thrive in social settings. However, no one wants to be around a hangry grouch who's in dire need of many snicker bars.

3. You workout to "earn" and "burn off" your meals

Let's say you did go out one weekend and had more pizza or "off-limit foods" than you would have liked. The next day, your initial thought is to go work everything off, and you begin to form this love-hate relationship with the treadmill, simultaneously with yourself. Instead of allowing fitness to enhance your life, it dangerously starts to consume you. You're not a dog, and do not need to "earn" anything!


So why does self-love always feel like a battlefield?

We forget that long-lasting, high self-esteem stems from the invisible qualities we all have that define us, such as compassion, intelligence, humor, and resilience. Today's media has ingrained an idealistic, nonexistent (except maybe for those who eat cotton balls for breakfast and ice cubes for dinner, no judgments here though!) image in our minds, where women feel pressured to obtain a body seen only on billboards and magazine covers. We fight our bodies past their warning signs of exhaustion, making self-love feel like a battlefield.

I once overdid it.

I viewed food as numbers and for only their effects on my appearance. I had to effortfully rewire my brain to stop associating certain foods as "bad" or detrimental to my physique that I prioritized over every other aspect in my life.

I stayed in every weekend, watching my relationships crumble in a domino effect, while only having enough energy to exercise. There's nothing more mentally consuming, and addictive than looking in the mirror and wanting to become smaller and smaller every day, but this was my reality for a long time, and it started with simple diet intentions for the upcoming summer season.

Be careful with your body goals, because as humans, we always tend to take things too far, and we are not indestructible. Eventually, the repercussions of inadequate self-care catch up with us, and we will always be the underdog on the battlefield for self-love.

If you're still worried about your bikini bod, let's also not forget: One-pieces and high-waisted bottoms are always an option!

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Christmas Of Remembrance Series: My Last Letter

Christmas time is not about the gifts... It is about something far, far more special.

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Dear Reader,

Thank you for your time.

This is a series that I have dedicated to those I have loved and lost. It was merely a thought, then an idea, and now a realized creation. Christmas time… all winter really is a hard time for me. It holds this duality in my life of being both my favorite and also my least favorite and difficult time of year. It has been that way for years now.

In a way, this series aids my closure and healing further, and it allows me to tell my story in a way that, to me, is less scary (one of the many great facets of this platform). It was never my intention to write this in order to reach people, or encourage people, or serve as an inspiration to anyone. This was for me and only me. No one else. But, if these pieces of writing do impact someone, somewhere, or make them feel encouraged or inspired in some way or another, or just simply make them feel, then I hope you have enjoyed them. If I can make someone feel, then I guess I have done my job.

The life of an artist is often an uncertain one. The life of a human is a trying one. But life is a journey, and all journeys have their trials. Their tests. Their triumphs and rewards. And they all have their losses. What matters most is what you make of all of it. What lessons you learn. What changes you make. What life you create for yourself. What art you create because of it all. It can be very, very hard. But it can all be glorious at the same time.

At the heart of this series, my words, there is this deep and valuable belief of mine: Christmas (or the Winter Holiday that you may celebrate) is so much more about presents and cooking and shopping and all that other bullshit… it is about family.

The family that is related by blood. The family that surrounds your heart. Your Mom. Your brother. Your dearest friends. The bonds that make life valuable. Worth living. These bonds are soulful bonds, ones that are far more special than any mere trivial object. So… be with them. Forgive. Forget. Heal. Mend what is broken. Reassemble what has been shattered. And stop worrying so much. Laugh together. Cry together. Heal on another. Heal together. And may your new days be better, brighter, and full of love.

Happy Holidays.

Ty


A song for you...

"Sense of Home" — Harrison Storm / YouTube

If you liked this series, I invite you to check out my previous article below…

To My Fellow 孤, The Sons Without Fathers On Father’s Day

As well as this article by a fellow creator…

What You Learn Losing A Parent So Young

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