by Jim Casey | @TheJimCasey | December 8, 2016
Holiday Playlist: The 10 Manliest Christmas Songs This Side of Paradise
What would the Christmas season be without music? It’s the soundtrack for trimming the tree, wrapping presents and cooking Christmas dinner.
While those activities are fun for a lot of folks and Martina McBride’s White Christmas is must-have musical accompaniment, I decided to create the manliest of holiday playlists, perfect for listening to while splitting firewood, playing bocce ball in the backyard and sipping spiked eggnog around the fire (my favorite holiday activities). - Without further ado, here we go.
1. “Merry Christmas From the Family”
Robert Earl Keen - 1994
Robert Earl puts the “fun” in dysfunctional with his twisted Texas anthem of Christmas cheer. In keeping with the spirit of the season, REK reminds us that the holidays are about spending time with family—in this case, a motley crew that likes to drink champagne punch, smoke Marlboro Lights and eat bean dip while singing “Silent Night” and making runs to the local Stop ’N Go for “some celery and a can of fake snow.” That’s my kind of crowd.
3. “Blue Christmas”
Elvis Presley - 1957
Ernest Tubb took “Blue Christmas” to No. 1 on Billboard’s Country & Western chart in 1950, but Elvis Presley cemented the tune as a perennial holiday musthear when he put his aching croon on it in 1957, and later featured it on his 1968 television special. Bing Crosby can keep dreaming of a “White Christmas”—I’ll take a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas every year.
2. “Pretty Paper”
Willie Nelson - 1964
With both a whisper and a roar, Willie delivers a melancholy ballad about a disabled street vendor trying to sell pretty paper, ribbons and pencils to busy holiday passersby. Much like a medieval minstrel going from town to town to sing his story-songs, Willie’s tender rendition of “Pretty Paper” is the perfect parable to prompt us to slow down during the holidays, help those in need and be thankful for what we have.
4. “Come On Christmas”
Dwight Yoakam - 1997
The holidays aren’t always as warm and fuzzy as a pair of Frosty the Snowman footie pajamas—for many people, it’s a sad, lonely time of year. Dwight captures those forlorn sentiments with his haunting, melodic voice in “Come on Christmas,” a tune that beckons the season to conclude so his loneliness will end.