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It’s always great receiving presents around the holiday season. Along with the thought that goes into choosing that perfect gift for someone, there’s the tradition of the presentation which often includes covering these gifts in festive wrapping paper. After all, who doesn’t love a good cover? It is with the spirit of the season in mind that we present our top five favorite Christmas covers. Not merely reinterpretations of standards, these are modern classics given an even more modern spin!
See also: The Best of South Park’s Christmas Songs
No Doubt – “Oi! To The World”, 1997
Any punk fan worth his weight in holly is familiar with Orange County favorites The Vandals’ Christmas album Oi! To The World. Just about the only thing more wonderfully absurd than the title track’s placement of a brawling skinhead’s action sequence at Christmas is the fact that No Doubt’s cover of it for 1997’s A Very Special Christmas 3 compilation didn’t alter a single word.
Sloppy Seconds – “Hooray For Santa Claus”
No holiday film is complete without an iconic music moment. While we all know “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s” iconic themes, there’s a surefire underground favorite in “Hooray for Santa Claus” from 1964’s Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Elevating its cult status is the wonderful cover from Sloppy Seconds, who faithfully retain the song’s inaccurate spelling “S-A-N-T-Y.”
Buster Poindexter – “Zat You Santa Claus?” 1987
Louis Armstrong’s holiday album has been the barometer for Christmas Cool for over 50 years. It’s rare anyone attempts a take on the originals, which is why New York Dolls frontman David Jo Hansen AKA Buster Poindexter’s version of “Zat You Santa Claus” is all the more impressive. It even inspired Beavis and Butthead to work some holiday magic.
Flipp – “Heatmiser” 1997
The Rankin/Bass claymation Christmas specials could always be relied upon for a new catchy new Holiday jam or two. A Year Without a Santa Claus’ most memorable moments come from the musical introductions of feuding brothers The Heatmiser and The Snowmiser. With all respect to Harvey Firestein and Michael McKean’s take on the songs from NBC’s 2006 live-action version of the special, we’re partial to Minneapolis rockers Flipp’s take on it which they mailed to fans as a free Christmas gift.
Mojo Nixon – “Trim Yo Tree” 1992
If you have one cowpunk Christmas album beneath your tree this year, make it Mojo Nixon’s Horny Holidays. While you get plenty of Mojo’s sleazy salute to the standards, there’s something really special about his tribute to Jimmy Butler’s double entendre-laced 50s classic “Trim Your Tree.” This Christmas, it’s the perfect thing to get your Mojo back.