In 1998, Tooth and Nail Records gave every teenager anywhere a Christmas Gift that never stopped giving in the form of Happy Christmas, Volume 1. Instead of listening to Mom and Dad’s boring old Christmas music, kids were able to blast Happy Christmas (any of the 5 volumes, really) to their punk rock/alternative heart’s content. In truth, Mom and Dad’s Christmas music actually gets better and better the older we get, but Happy Christmas still has some gems that are worth pulling out every year.
So, here is the completely non-scientific and arbitrary list of the best songs from Happy Christmas Volumes 1 thru 5, broken down into two random categories with a few random notes. Merry (or Happy) Christmas from NRT!
Punk Rock/Alternative Versions of Classics
- Plankeye - Away In A Manger (Vol 1)
- "O Holy Night" - Seven Day Jesus" Seven Day Jesus (Vol 1)
Alternative as it gets, and you just can't deny that epic falsetto ending.
- "Your A Mean One, Mister Grinch" - Sixpence None the Richer (Vol 2)
Only two words are needed: Leigh. Nash.
- "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - Fanmail (Vol 2)
So. Punk. Rock.
- "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" - All Star United (Vol 2)
ASU makes a pretty fun song REALLY fun.
- "Heaven's Got A Baby" - Sarah Mason (Vol 1)
Simply one of the best versions of this song there is.
- "Wonderful Christmas Time" - Earthsuit (Vol 3)
Mutemath before they were Mutemath in all their funky, delightful glory.
- "Do You Hear What I Hear" - Hangnail (Vol 3)
One of the more fun versions of this classic that you'll ever hear.
- "Baby Please Come Home" - Anberlin (Vol 4)
A Tooth and Nail heavy hitter hits this one out of the park.
- "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" - Hawk Nelson (Vol 5)
Legitimately awesome and classic Hawk, and also the only version of this song you'll want to listen to more than once. (Sorry, Alvin)
- "O Come O Come Emmanuel" - August Burns Red (Vol 5)
The only instrumental on the list, and it's epic.
- "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - Copeland (Vol 5)
The Copeland treatment of this classic is the perfect final song for the five volumes.
Originals You Shouldn't Miss
- "Evergreen" - Switchfoot (Vol 1)
The most well-known B-Side from one of the biggest Christian bands of the past 20 years is a no-brainer.
- "Christmas Day" - MxPx (Vol 2)
One of the biggest punk bands anywhere and the one that started it all as far as Christian music goes, it's a true holiday headbanger and absolute vintage MxPx.
- "Santa Claus Is Thumbing To Town and I Celebrate The Day" (Vol 3 & 4) - Relient K
The only artist with two songs on the list, Relient K has a record full of great Christmas songs (Let ItSnow Baby, Let It Reindeer) that you shouldn't miss. Plus, bonus: one of these starts with a classic RK bass solo.
- "(Ho Ho Hey) A Way For Santa's Sleigh" - Emery (Vol 4)
Another Tooth And Nail pioneer joins the list (with less screaming than you'd expect). But still Emery.
- "Heat Miser and Snow Miser" - Thousand Foot Krutch and FM Static (Vol 5)
TFK and TFK's alter ego are here with two songs that reflect the styles of the two bands.
- "A Christmas Song For All Year Round" - Aaron Sprinkle (Vol 3)
The man behind more music than most know closes the list with a reminder of what it's all about in classic Sprinkle style.
John Hisel is a worship leader and youth pastor in Boise, Idaho.