Your Reading List of Hidden Holiday Gems

Now that classic holiday songs are featured on the Billboard Hot 100 — led by the #1 Queen of Christmas, Mariah Carey – it’s fun to see artists of today sharing space with those of yesteryear. (Brenda Lee, meet Bad Bunny. And please give us a “Brenda Me Preguntó” rum-pum-pum remix, please!) In addition to timeless classics everyone knows, we’re rooting for one of those ultra-underrated holly-jolly jams. (Please, Mimi Claus? We’ve been great this year!) Keep reading to see Shondaland’s picks for the Christmas songs we’d like to see back on the charts.


“All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Vince Vance & the Valiants

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Vince Vance & The Valiants – All I Want For Christmas Is You

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Not this a. Coal Lump Sum Lawsuit aside, this twangy charmer from 1989 stands out for both his beautifully impassioned female voice and his beautifully messy male hairstyles in the video. As beautiful as some of his covers have been – including Kelly Clarkson Karaoke 2020 – they cannot be compared to the original.

“Dominick the Donkey (The Italian Christmas Donkey)” by Lou Monte

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Lou Monte – Dominick The Donkey (Official Lyric Video)

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Rudolph may have the top publicist — not to mention the power of flight and a gleaming nose — but 1960s Dominick has the much better song. “Hee haw, hee haw” is a charming song. What sound does a reindeer make?

“Santa’s Mouse” by Bob Morrison

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Bob Morrison – “Santa Mouse” (Colombia) 1966

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The Chipmunks may have the top publicist – this sibling trio is the only non-Mariah act to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with a Christmas song – but it’s time to pass the crown to a new squeaky holiday rodent. “Santa Mouse” has the melodies to rock you all Christmas long!

“Vacation Lohan” by Ali Lohan

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To keep the seasonal magic alive after watching its big sister’s new classic Fall for Christmassimply go back to 2006 by pressing play, closing your eyes and imagining this dance in your fireplace.

“Sleigh Bells, Reindeer and Snow” by Little Rita Faye

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Sleigh Bells, Reindeer And Snow by Little Rita Faye

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There’s a great tradition of little girls with huge voices recording Christmas classics. As this. Or this. And particularly this. But no one can compare to 7-year-old country legend Little Rita Faye. Merry Christmas!

“Christmas Vacation” by Mavis Staples

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Mavis Staples | Christmas holidays 🎄 (HQ)

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Few can compare to the legendary pipes of Mavis Staples. (Wherever you need to go, she will take you there!) Even more rewarding than watching the 1989s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for the hundredth time, gift the Staple Singers’ iconic 1962 Christmas album, The twenty-fifth day of Decembera ride instead.

“Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man This Christmas)” by The Weather Girls

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The Weather Girls – Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man This Christmas) (Video)

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Few singers can compare to the combined power of Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes-Armstead. They showcase their North Pole electrical pipes on this 1983 “Open Letter to Mr. Santa Claus for All the Single Girls at Home.” More than a man, these girls deserved a true full holiday album to match their talent.

“Things Fall Apart” by Cristina

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The Lana del Reys and Jenny Lewises of today should raise a glass of eggnog at every darkly glamorous party at Cristina, who made smart and surly dark bops. Her bizarre 1981 ode to holiday depression plays as the cooler, grittier sister of “Christmas packagingby the Waitresses. Fit, since both debuted on the iconic ZE Records A Christmas CD.

“Santa Claus, teach me to dance!” Debbie and the Darnels

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Santa teach me to dance Debbie & Darnells 1962 Vernon

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When you ask Santa Claus for a gift, why not ask him for something more useful than a hippopotamus, a Wookiee with a combor even dental work? You know, like dance classes circa 1962! Sorry, (problematic) odes to solving world hungerwe have exhausted our desire to learn how to make mashed potatoes!

“Rosie Christmas” by Donna Summer

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ROSIE CHRISTMAS + lyrics – DONNA SUMMER

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Do any of us really want to have a “Rosie, Rosie Christmas” this year or any year? Obviously yes. Disco queen Donna Summer’s Christmas classic brings the grooves you need this holiday season. Happy holidays, you cute patooties!


Jonathan Riggs is a freelance writer and former editor of LGBTQ+ lifestyle magazine Instinct.

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