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10 of the most underrated Christmas songs ever recorded

Christmas music is already being blasted out left, right and centre and it’s only November (not that I’m complaining to be honest).

Every year, the same handful of festive classics get played to death from Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ through to The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl’s ‘Fairytale of New York’, but there are so many amazing Christmas songs that never get a look in.

In this article, I’m highlighting 10 songs that really should be considered modern Christmas classics. You may have heard of some of them but I bet there’s a few you didn’t even know existed.

Keep reading to discover some new Christmas songs for your playlist this year…

1. Gwen Stefani – ‘Cheer For The Elves’

Missing from the original ‘You Make It Feel Like Christmas’ release in 2017, ‘Cheer for the Elves’ was added to the deluxe edition in 2018. The song is so joyously wonderful that I can’t stop singing it (all year round). It should have been a single and Stefani’s husband Blake Shelton is about to release his version of it. Time for another duet do you think?

2. Brett Eldredge – ‘Glow’

If Mariah Carey is the Queen of Christmas then Brett Eldredge is her King. Having released two Christmas albums to date (yes, that’s one more than Michael Bublé), Eldredge has a solid catalogue of festive tunes but the title track to his 2016 album ‘Glow’ is the one I can’t get enough of. That big band feel is perfect for this time of the year and Eldredge sounds incredible (as always).

3. Kylie Minogue – ‘Christmas Isn’t Christmas ‘Til You Get Here’

‘Kylie Christmas’, released in 2015 with a ‘Snow Queen’ edition following in 2016, was very under-appreciated at the time. It’s gone on to be a streaming smash but the album deserved better, as did the track ‘Christmas Isn’t Christmas ‘Til You Get Here’. One of the album’s original moments, it’s everything you’d want from a Kylie Christmas pop song so why the hell wasn’t it number one?

4. 98 Degrees – ‘Season of Love’

98 Degrees are still making music and touring (and I still 100% stan them), and their 2017 album ‘Let It Snow’ is a perfect example of how to make an all-killer-no-filler Christmas record. ‘Season of Love’, one of the album’s originals, is the highlight. Listen to those harmonies, get out the bubbly and throw yourself into the festive mood.

5. Dan + Shay – ‘Christmas Isn’t Christmas’

Country duo Dan + Shay have released a total of 6 Christmas songs with only one of them being a cover, so honestly they should just get on and put out a full album. Of the originals they’ve release, the gorgeous ballad ‘Christmas Isn’t Christmas’ is the best and if Shay Mooney’s voice doesn’t make you feel the spirit of Christmas, quite honestly nothing will.

6. Faith Hill – ‘Where Are You Christmas?’

Written by Mariah Carey, the actual Queen of Christmas, ‘Where Are You Christmas?’ was recorded by Country star Faith Hill for the soundtrack to Jim Carrey’s 2000 box office smash ‘The Grinch’. The song has Mariah all over it but Hill puts enough of her own vocal moments in, to truly own the song. Rumour has it there is a Mariah version out there but for now, I’ll make do with this gem!

7. Toni Braxton – ‘Snowflakes Of Love’

Does Christmas always have to be upbeat and jolly? No it doesn’t and who better to showcase the soulful side of the season that Toni Braxton? Her oft-ignored 2001 album ‘Snowflakes’ provided some fantastic interpretations of Christmas classics along with a bunch of originals. ‘Snowflakes of Love’ is like a warm hot chocolate on Christmas morning when you’re snuggled into your onesie after opening your gifts. Listen to it and tell me I’m wrong…

8. Girls Aloud – ‘Not Tonight Santa’

In 2005, Girls Aloud continued to rip up the pop rule book by releasing an 8-track Christmas album along with their genre-defying third album ‘Chemistry’. Coming slightly before their true peak, the Christmas collection is often forgotten but it did give us the fantastic ‘Not Tonight Santa’ that leaned into the girl group’s cheekiness. It’ll be on repeat in my house (again) this year.

9. Kelly Clarkson and Brett Eldredge – ‘Under the Mistletoe’

Sorry, how wasn’t this the biggest new Christmas hit in years? Kelly Clarkson and Brett Eldredge, two stars who very much embrace the festive season, teamed up for this 2020 classic that wound up being included on Kelly Clarkson’s ‘When Christmas Comes Around…’ album in 2021. Upbeat, catchy as hell and fun, fun, fun, this song should be up there with the best of them!

10. Chris Young – ‘It Must Be Christmas’

The title track from his 2016 Christmas album, ‘It Must Be Christmas’ hits all the marks you want from a holiday classic. Young has been threatening to expand the collection for years (could this finally be the year?) but if he doesn’t, at least he recorded this absolute beauty of a festive track.

Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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