It’s that time of year again. Time to don your holiday best, trim the tree, and jump head long into the madness of shopping (at least there’ll be no fights over Tickle Me Elmo this year). What better way to get into the holiday swing of things than with a Christmas mix of 90s songs that bring back a warm fuzzy memory of when Christmas was simpler. Or, maybe not. Maybe the warm fuzzy feeling is just all the flannel we wore back then. Grab a Zima and enjoy our rundown of 10 great 90s Christmas songs. You may notice that not all of these tracks were released in the 90s, but if not, they are done by artists associated with the 90s. We decided exercising a little holiday-inspired license creates a better overall list and so went with it.
#10 Mariah Carey’s "All I Want for Christmas is You"
I have reluctantly included Mariah Carey’s ubiquitous Christmas confection as it continues to have a loyal following. But, we put it at #10 for a reason: it is overdone, overplayed and, we, frankly, are over it. We know we are not alone as a recent video piece on The Onion featured the following headline, "Brief Reprieve From Mariah Carey’s Christmas Song Comes To Resounding End."
#9 TLC’s "Sleigh Ride"
This video has it all: a great version of this song that is completely their own, 90s fashions and dance moves galore and a beat that’s infectious. I love the Cadillac all decked out for the holidays. I’m wishing I had that kind of sleigh.
#8 Barenaked Ladies’ "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
This has always been a favorite Christmas song. With the uniquely Barenaked Ladies twist, it’s hard to beat. They combine it with another favorite, We Three Kings, to make for a great performance. The harmonies between Ed and Steven, always a treat, are made all the better by the featured vocals of Sarah McLachlan.
#7 Christina Aguilera’s "Merry Christmas Baby"
Christina Aguilera has a set of pipes on her and "Merry Christmas, Baby" really showcases her voice. Her jazzy rendition, which features Dr. John, will have you swayin’ while you sip your eggnog and decorate your tree.
#6 Smashing Pumpkins’ "Christmastime"
Smashing Pumpkins and Christmas songs may not be two things you’d think go together, but guess what, they do! Billy’s distinctive voice and SP’s sound gives "Christmastime" a dreamlike quality. So as you get nestled all snug in your beds this holiday season, drift off into slumber listening to this tune and let visions of sugar plums dance in your head.
#5 Hanson’s "Merry Christmas Baby"
Hanson gets (and got) their fair share of naysayers—folks that don’t find them edgy enough and profess to not like their HUGE hit, "MmmBop," deriding it for being too pop and with none of the angst that marked much of the music of that period. We ignore them; Hanson was great. Who couldn’t use a little extra energy and levity at Christmas? Hanson delivers.
#4 Squirrel Nut Zippers’ "Carolina Christmas"
These guys have such a unique and very 90s sound. As soon as this song starts, you want to jump up, grab a partner and start swing dancing. As you’re dancing around the room, don’t forget to linger under the mistletoe.
#3 Brian Setzer Orchestra’s "Run Run Rudolph"
We at 90s411 are big fans of Brian Setzer. This song perfectly shows off his 80s-esque rockabilly and 90s swing sound with the standup base and strong electric guitar. And, anyway, with hair like that, it’s all good.
#2 Spice Girls’ cover of "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses
This is a great song – if you haven’t heard the original by The Waitresses (1981), watch it here. The Spice Girls do a great job with their cover.
#1 Adam Sandler’s "Chanukah Song"
Surely, there can be no doubt about the #1 holiday song from the 90s. Yup, the top spot goes to the one song not actually about Christmas. This was the funniest thing I’d ever heard when he sang it for the first time on Saturday Night Live (December 3rd, 1994) and remains just as funny today. Love those 90s references, "OJ Simpson – NOT a Jew!"
Enjoy! And, have a very happy holiday season!
A shout out to all the songs and artists on the Very Special Christmas series (volumes 2-4 were released in the 90s). The proceeds of this series benefit the Special Olympics. If you’re looking for a good mix of 90s Christmas songs that support a worthy cause, these compilations are a great place to start.
Let us know if we missed your favorite 90s Christmas song on our Facebook wall.