Christmas should be all about fun and putting smiles on people’s faces. What better way to do that than with music? The 1980s were a great decade for rockin’ Christmas tunes. If you want to have some real fun this holiday season, look no further than these five songs that will get you moving and forget that it’s probably freezing outside.
#1 – “Rock And Roll Christmas” by George Thorogood & The Destroyers
This song exemplifies joy. It is filled with saxophone and guitar solos. The video is literally just three plus minutes of everyone dancing their butts off, including Santa Claus (who is actually blues legend John Lee Hooker). It’s the closest you can come to doing the twist without actually listening to “The Twist.” Your hips will hurt just from watching this Christmas party caught on tape. It’s the perfect way to jump right into the holiday spirit. “Go Santa, go, go, go!”
#2 – “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)” by The Ramones
The Ramones really struck a chord (or three) with this short rocker about love, and the desire to keep the positive vibes going. Alongside pounding drums and energetic guitar riffs, Joey Ramone sets the scene by referencing classic Christmas characters and moments such as Rudolph, Blitzen, snowball fights, and sugar-plum fairies. It takes us back to a time when things were simple and peaceful. It seems that there is trouble in paradise for the singer, but he confidently declares his love for that special someone, and persists that “Christmas ain’t the time for breaking each other’s hearts.” This should serve as a friendly reminder to try our best to get along with each other this holiday season.
#3 – “Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You” by Billy Squier
Much like The Ramones, Billy Squier really drives home the point that Christmas is a time for love. And much like George Thorogood’s rockin’ good time, this video is an absolute blast to observe. It contains a giant sing-a-long chorus provided by the MTV staff, from back when they actually played music videos. Everyone in the crowd is clapping and swaying back and forth in pure happiness. One line that really stands out is when Squier sings “Times are hard but no one seems to care.” Carefree is the best way to describe everyone involved with this song, and it should also be the way we view Christmas.
#4 – “Christmas In Hollis” by Run-DMC
This classic hip-hop track from New York natives Run-DMC will always liven up the party. It features a catchy beat combined with bells and witty holiday rhymes. In the beginning of the song, lead vocalist Rev. Run takes us through a Christmas fairytale in which he finds Santa’s wallet on the ground. He thinks about all the things he could do with the money, but quickly returns it, acknowledging “I’d never steal from Santa, cause that ain’t right.” When he returns home, he finds a bag of cash from Santa, rewarding him for his good deed. From then on, it’s a nonstop celebration, complete with plenty of food, decorations, lights, carols, dancing, and of course, egg nog. The festivities being described are infectious and completely uplifting. Rev. Run and his bandmate Darryl team together at the end of the song to describe Christmas in the best way possible: “The time is now, the place is here / And the whole wide world is filled with cheer.”
#5 – “Merry Christmas Everyone” by Shakin’ Stevens
This cheery jingle doesn’t seem to get played as much as the other ones on this list, but it absolutely should. It is an instant mood enhancer. It’s virtually impossible to not clap or snap your fingers to this track. Just like the Christmas bashes in all of the above-mentioned songs, Stevens focuses on images of people dancing and partying, children having fun, and most importantly, “love and understanding.” In the video clip he wastes no time putting on an ugly sweater and shakin’ the night away. He wears his sweater with the joy and pride that only a day like Christmas can provide. It’s pretty hard to argue with the lyrics “Oh, I wish that every day was Christmas / What a nice way / To spend the year.” What a nice way, indeed. As a bonus, Stevens recorded an updated folk version of the song in 2015, in collaboration with the Salvation Army. The video depicts not just a fun and festive party, but the greatest thing about Christmas – giving to, and helping, those in need.