Most Goth-inclined families and individuals can usually serve their holiday music needs through the soundtrack work of former Oingo Boingo frontman Danny Elfman on such Tim Burton films as Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
What’s This? from The Nightmare Before Christmas
Ice Dance from Edward Scissorhands
Walkin in a Winter Wonderland aka Max Shreck’s Christmas Speech from Batman Returns
Yes, the former two out of the three are indeed Christmas films of the Gothic variety, with the early harmonious early 90s archetypal children’s choir evoking the crystalline beauty of snowfall, used in films from Home Alone to Harry Potter.
But besides the obvious choice of listening to Jack Skellington and Co serenade us about kidnapping Santa Claus, there are some other choices available from the work of various post-punk related artists to liven up a dead Christmas playlist.
This outtake from Saint Nick’s 1997 10 studio LP The Boatman’s Call will get you in the Christmas feels, guaranteed.
Robert Smith and his band The Cure are noted for their love of Christmas and use the holiday as a metaphor in songs like “Other Voices”, “Hey You!”, “Last Dance”, and “The Snakepit”, but only one studio recording directly refers to celebrating the holiday in such a festive manner enough to be called a Christmas song, in 1982’s Let’s Go To Bed.
Despite this, The Cure actually did perform onstage a celebration of the holiday in their Merry Christmas Everybody at Wembley Arena 1987.
Okay, okay, Last Dance is a Christmas song, but definitely not one to listen to while spreading holiday cheer.
Siouxsie and The Banshees:
When Robert Smith was a Banshee, this b-side to “Melt!” was recorded, with the accompanying French Television performance where Robert and Budgie’s eyes say it all.
But did you know that the earlier single Israel is a Christmas song? This may surprise some given Siouxsie’s Jewish background and iconic use of the Star of David on a t-shirt, but it is there in the lyrics:
“Shattered fragments of the past
Meet in veins on the stained glass
Like the lifeline in your palm
Red and green reflects the scene
Of a long forgotten dream
There were princes and there were kings”
“In Israel, will they sing Happy Noel
In Israel, in Israel
Israel, in Israel
In Israel, will they sing Happy Noel”
Additionally, there is also the track Red Over White
Back at Christmas 1982, New Order decided to give the patrons of their club The Hacienda a gift bag with a special Flexi Single (limited edition of 4000).
Included were the band’s take on the classical pieces Rocking Carol (aka We Will Rock You) and Beethoven’s Ode To Joy, utilizing lo-fi drum machines, sequencers and, an overzealous use of vocoder.
The two songs were originally recorded for a TV piece to be used by Factory boss Tony Wilson on his Granada Reports TV new programme, but went unaired, and unused until they were given to away as a holiday gift.
Alien Sex Fiend:
Saint Nik is not singing about no thanksgiving turkey here!
Stuff the Turkey
The Damned issued this 1980 tongue in cheek Christmas single around the time they released their Black Album.
There Ain’t No Sanity Clause
This 1993 2 track ep by the Cocteau Twins contains the best versions of Winter Wonderland and Frosty The Snowman ever recorded.
Frosty The Snowman
Cranes do John Lennon.
Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
The late Caroline Crawley’s vocals are hauntingly beautiful on this sad Christmas song.
The Legendary Pink Dots:
You know what? Not sure if this track is Christmas and/or Snowman related, but we don’t care, Edward Ka-Spel can do no wrong.
German post-punk heroes Xmal Deutschland’s instrumental track Xmas in Australia is an enigmatic track featured on the band’s 1984 album Tocsin.
Xmas in Australia
Usher San’s French Cold-Wave band Norma Loy’s Christmas song.
Detroit’s Shock Therapy does Christmas
New Wave singer Cristina’s Things Fall Apart was listed as one of The Cure’s Robert Smith’s favorite tracks of the 80s.
London After Midnight:
Los Angeles’ Gothic Rocker London After Midnight have their own Christmas ballad, along with a cover of Sally’s Song from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Type O Negative:
When the late Type O Negative frontman Peter Steele was not having his mother greet gift-wrapped Christmas groupies at his door, he was penning such Gothic Rock holiday classics as Red Water (Christmas Mourning).
It’s Always Christmas Time is a track featured on the Alien Christmas EP by Al Jourgensen. the song sounds like nothing else he has ever done, resembling more of a song by The Cure than anything by Ministry, probably due to this being a collaboration with guitarist Mark Thwaite, who is known for his work with The Mission, and Peter Murphy.
Industrial and Neofolk Christmas Songs:
For some people, Christmas would not be Christmas without Coil, Current 93, and Rose McDowall.
HÖH and Current 93 | Crowleymass
Coil | Christmas Is Now Drawing Near
Sorrow | The Little Drummer Boy
Rosa Mundi | The Snow Man
Goth Christmas music from your drunk uncle:
Starting with a the now classic Porn Orchard parody of what a Christmas song would sound like sung by Tom Waits and Peter Murphy, we present to you a few Christmas songs to listen to with copious amounts of whiskey or eggnog.
The overplayed New-Wave Christmas classic:
A great Goth Christmas compilation from Projekt Records:
Excelsis. A Dark Noel features tracks by This Ascension, Lycia, Faith and The Muse, Eya O, and more!
And here is a cover of Wham’s Last Christmas by Death In Rome