Underrated Christmas songs that everyone should know


Photo Credit: Layla Valenzuela '23

This could be you if you listened to these songs!

Layla Valenzuela, Copy Editor

As we head into our winter break, Royals are tuning into their Christmas radio stations and dusting off their holiday playlists. As I celebrate my 17th Christmas, I can’t help but yearn for a different selection of songs. Personally, I get tired of hearing “All I Want For Christmas is You” on repeat for a month, so I’m always on the hunt for new holiday songs to enjoy. I’ve compiled a few of my favorite Christmas/Holiday songs that I feel are SEVERELY underrated. Some are originals and some are simply covers of classic tunes that I think deserve recognition. So, without further ado, enjoy!


“The Christmas Waltz”: Laufey

Released just a few short weeks ago, Laufey’s “The Christmas Waltz” has instantly become a classic for me. Originally sung by Frank Sinatra, Laufey has put a special spin on “The Christmas Waltz” that I can’t help but appreciate. If you’re in the sentimental ‘I-love-Christmas’ mood, this song is the one for you. As the tune dies down, Laufey’s harmonies with a children’s choir symbolically give the listener a big hug. Who doesn’t want that?

“I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”: Darren Criss

As a classic song that’s commonly performed by a pre-pubescent child, one may think that a grown man singing “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” would be strange. However, Darren Criss completely rearranges the composition and adds a modern flair with drum beats and (wait for it…) a kazoo solo. Yeah. Need I say more? I bet you’re searching for the song right now.

When Christmas Comes to Town”: The Polar Express

Okay, listen up. I understand that The Polar Express is a children’s film; however, that doesn’t stop it from creating one of the GREATEST Christmas songs of all time. I used to rewind the scene this song was in over and over again just to hear the perfectly-crafted bridge. The music in cartoons is simply elite. And yes, I realize that The Polar Express is one of the most popular Christmas films of all time, but this song in particular is not talked about enough. It should be a regular on everyone’s holiday playlists.

Only Phoebe Bridgers can evoke emotions as beautiful and raw as these. (Photo Credit: Layla Valenzuela ’23)

“If We Make It Through December”: Phoebe Bridgers

Sigh…where do I even begin with this one? Phoebe Bridgers’ version of this classic song gives it a new life. When asked about her opinions on this song, Cadiz Salazar ’23 said, “I have such an attachment to this song.  It’s so hard to put into words- I need to do it justice…” She then proceeded to stop talking, re-listen to the song, and come back to say, “She just took something so bland and turned it into something absolutely beautiful.” In order to fully understand what she means, you MUST listen to this song as soon as possible.

“Love is Christmas”: Sara Bareilles

With a simple piano melody, Sara Bareilles creates a memorable Christmas song that I come back to year after year. Released in 2011, “Love is Christmas” is truly not enjoyed as much as it should be. This is one of those songs that you’d listen to with your family sitting by the fireplace. It always puts me in a grateful and reflective mood. Miss Bareilles just has that effect on people, and more people should recognize her brilliance.

“New Year”: Darren Criss

Though this isn’t TECHNICALLY a Christmas song, it’s the final song on one of the most groundbreaking Christmas albums of my generation, “A Very Darren Crissmas,” so I’m gonna let it slide. In short, “New Year” by Darren Criss never fails to tug on my heartstrings. As in many songs, the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ add a depth that makes me incredibly nostalgic and puts me in an I’m-about-to-break-down-crying mood… in the best way possible. Darren Criss, please come to LA again to perform your magnificent album; share with us Californians the true meaning of Crissmas.


Did I thoroughly enjoy raking a few of my favorite Christmas songs for you to discover? Yes. Was this entire article just an excuse for me to rant about how brilliant “A Very Darren Crissmas” is? Possibly, the world may never know. I hope you’ve discovered a few new holiday songs to enjoy this break. Maybe you can listen to them while studying for finals. Until next year, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Royals!