It's that time of year again, Christmas is just days away and the holiday season is in full swing. So Options Magazine’s music experts* have put together the top songs every Queer needs for putting together an amazing holiday playlist.
Holiday music is something many love or something one finds to be a unique form of holiday shopping torture. Holiday music can sound dated or even dull, yet it doesn’t have to be. Of course, some of the best holiday songs that break free from the most cookie-cutter version of Christmas are done by Queer artists. Options music experts did a deep dive into holiday music -- which means the editor-in-chief and his boyfriend watched and danced to holiday music videos on Youtube one afternoon -- to make Options list of the top holiday songs every Queer needs.
Queerest Holiday Song:
December 1, 2020
The summer of 2019 -- that wonderful summer that feels so so long ago now -- was the summer of Todrick Hall’s Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels. It was everything, played in dance clubs, radio, and heard blared out of cars in gayborhoods across the country. So when Hall revamped it with a holiday twist with Bells, Bows, Gifts, Trees, it quickly became a holiday hit and is the Queerest thing you can play this holiday season.
Best Holiday Song For Getting Your Early 2010s Nostalgia On:
October 17, 2011
In 2011, Justin Bieber was everyone’s favorite twink next door. He didn’t have any tattoos, paparazzi hadn’t taken a single photo of him that would need to be censured, and his biggest controversy was if he had gone on dates with former Disney stars – in short, Bieber was still boring. So for those that want to celebrate -- only god knows why -- the early days of the 2010s, any 2011 Bieber song would do. What makes Mistletoe onto the list is that it is a simple and cute holiday song with just enough of a naughty implication to still upset those family members that you were hoping to offend after the comments they made at Thanksgiving.
The Holiday Song That’s Not Too Generic Yet Still Just Playlist Filler:
November 23, 2008
In 2008, Stephen Colbert hosted the unique modern art performance gem A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! on Comedy Central. While the entire album deserves an honorable mention, Another Christmas Song is exactly what it claims to be, just another Christmas song. Its lyrics that poke fun at the holiday music industrial complex sung over a poppy beat makes it one of the most rememberable yet generic holiday songs ever written. It is a must for most holiday playlists for no other reason than every playlist needs filler music, so use Another Christmas Song to fill that playlist.
Best Alternative Holiday Song That Is Still Respectable Enough To Play In Queer Circles:
Gwen Stefani, ft. Blake Shelton
November 20, 2018
You Make It Feel Like Christmas starts off with Blake Shelton singing with some strong country notes, and I first thought this was not a song for this list. Yet, this writer forgot an important rule of music: Gwen Stefani can do no wrong. So of course, once she jumps in she drew me back, and then hearing her lead the chorus this writer knew it was a must for the list.
From watching the music video to just listening to the song, the two of them sound like they are having a lot fun and their chemistry as a married couple shines through and this song brings that holiday cheer right into your house when it plays. So if you are looking for alternative rock for your hipster holiday playlist, but don’t want to be blacklisted by the alphabet mafia (yes, we are watching), You Make It Feel Like Christmas is a must.
That Holiday Song To Freak Out Annoying Straights:
December 16, 2008
In 2008, Lady Gaga was at her roughest and most fun. In December of that year, she released Christmas Tree, a techno-pop holiday medley about taking clothes off under the mistletoe and how delicious her Christmas tree is that is sure to upset prudes, those relatives, and annoying shoppers that keep asking you to take your mask off "so they can see your smile." Gaga’s Christmas Tree is the perfect holiday song to ride the beats with to destress and is just plain old fun. Unlike the Fox News Christmas tree, you will enjoy Gaga's song lighting a fire in your day. Make sure to blare it the next time THAT customer walks in.
Best Holiday Duet By A Same-Sex Couple:
Glee’s Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss)
Date Episode Aired December 7, 2010
Baby, It’s Cold Outside has had a wild few years. It was just a couple of years ago that the song was canceled for lyrics that appeared to condone spiking drinks only to be uncancelled after the internet realized that asking what’s in this drink was a punchline back in the day for getting a watered-down cocktail.
Yet, though the ups and downs, the same-sex rendition with Chris Colfer and Darren Criss remains one of the best versions to listen to and is one of the tragically few songs out there, holiday or otherwise, that is clearly song by a gay couple. The two brought to the song both a youthful innocence while also reliving the song’s original meaning of finding an excuse to spend the night to appease a society that wouldn’t approve in a thoroughly modern way. It is a must for any Queer holiday playlist.
The two also did a duet of White Christmas, which deserves an honorable mention.
Most Iconic Holiday Song By A Queer Artist:
October 18, 2005
Melissa Etheridge is one of America’s great singers and songwriters, and she is one of the most famous LGBTQ Americans of the last four decades. So it is a given she would make this list. What makes Christmas In America the pick is her strong vocals and poetic lyrics that picture Christmas time in the United States perfectly. It can’t be ignored that a song pleading for a loved one to come home was written during the Iraq war and the song carries notes familiar to any listener of activist music. Christmas In America is an iconic classic song by a strong Lesbian demanding the man send her baby home. It is an essential for Queer holiday playlists and is a nod to every family with loved ones stationed overseas.
Best Holiday Song To Get Your Drag On:
Cynthia Lee Fontaine
November 11, 2021
Cynthia Lee Fontaine delivers a delightful holiday gift this year with Bring Me the Holidays. RuPaul’s Drag Race’s “Miss Congeniality” winner Cynthia Lee Fontaine shines in her new music video for Bring Me the Holidays as a glorious Navidad queen. Its mix of English and Spanish lyrics are a wonderful addition and a nod to Fontaine’s roots in being born and raised in Puerto Rico. If you are looking to make your holiday music playlist a drag, Bring Me the Holidays is just the song for you.
That Holiday Song That, While Being A Classic, Is Still Queer As F---:
December 3, 1984
Last Christmas is the holiday classic pop song all other holiday pop songs want to be. It is the oldest song on this list for a reason because it was truly a leader in the holiday pop genre. It is sweet, feels like family, and is a holiday song that is at the same time an 80s pop song sung by Goerge Michael –– you can’t get much Queerer than that. Whether you want to have a historic gay icon on your playlist or you just want to make sure you have best holiday songs of on your list, Last Christmas is a Queer playlist must.
Best Holiday Song Of All Time:
November 1, 1994
Of course All I Want For Christmas Is You is on this list. Who do you think we are? Heathens that have been living under a rock since 1993? This writer and the music expert he consulted with, also known as this writer’s boyfriend, may be heathens, but we have Google!
Mariah Carey will always have a Queer icon status, partly because no matter how she spends her New Year’s eve, most of us will be too drunk to remember in the morning, and partly because All I Want For Christmas Is You is the best holiday pop song of all time. This writer doesn't find the 1990s gave us much of anything, but the 90s gave us a magical diva who sparkled like no other singer of the time -- and few have come close to since -- and that singer is Mariah Carey. All I Want For Christmas Is You is a must for every Queer holiday playlist and is really a must for holiday playlists in general.
Not every song can make the list, yet many deserve an honorable mention. These are a few of the many many songs that deserve consideration:
Holidays by Meghan Trainor and Earth, Wind & Fire, it is so good but just didn't make the list.
American Idiot by Green Day, for dealing with terrible relatives.
Have I Got A Present For You by Toby Keith, for when your family talks about the Fox News Christmas tree and the war on Christmas.
Nuttin' for Christmas by Plain White T's, because we all love misbehaving Queer punk kids.
Linus and Lucy, Vince Guaraldi Trio, because who doesn't love a Charlie Brown Christmas?
Little Dealer Boy by Willie Nelson with Stephen Colbert because we all could use something to unwind after dealing with relatives.
That's our picks for some of the best holiday music. This writer and everyone at Options wishes our readers a Happy Holidays and that you find the tunes that are right for you.