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10 Holiday & Winter Songs for the Folk Music Fan

This is going to sound really hipster, but I don’t like mainstream Christmas music. Which is not to say that I don’t like mainstream music. I love getting my jam on to hip hop while I workout. Just not the Christmas stuff. No “All I Want for Christmas Is You” for me. Icky.

But I do like Christmas music. And I’ve always been a big folk/Americana gal. So last year I put together an alternative Christmas playlist: primarily folk, primarily acoustic, and not the big songs you hear over and over again this time of year. Although I did include a couple of my favorite carols.

In case you’re also getting bored with what’s on the radio and looking to shake things up with something new, here are a few unique holiday and winter tunes to add to your holiday playlist.

  1. Goodbye England (Covered in Snow) by Laura Marling. I discovered this tune last year. Nice for when you want a winter song but not necessarily a Christmas song.
  2. Christmas for Cowboys by John Denver. Traveling from England to the U.S. and touching in that it’s about being thankful for the stars, the fire, the beauty of nature.
  3. Christmas in the Ashram by Chris Rosser. And now we’re moving again…to California this time. Pushes the envelope a bit, but if you hang out with yogi-hippie types, you’ll know right away: it’s so true!
  4. Mary & Joe by Darryl Purpose. This one also kind of pushes the envelope too. I guess I’m kind of a rebel. 😉 I love how it focuses on the radicalism of Joseph’s love and acceptance for Mary.
  5. Snow in Austin by Ellis Paul. This is the first song I think of whenever it snows. “Have you ever seen a cactus Christmas tree?”
  6. Mary, Mary by Ellis Paul. Ellis Paul is one of my favorite artists and has been my whole life. I love how this beautiful Christmas song is about the adult son’s relationship with his mother. Plus the video is awesome!
  7. River by Joni Mitchell. A Joni Mitchell classic.
  8. O Come, O Come Emmanuel by The Punch Brothers. A much older classic, but with an innovative acoustic instrumentation that really brings it to life.
  9. Carol of the Bells by Ed Gerhard. Another classic carol with folk instrumentation.
  10. Fare Thee Well by Ashley Davis. A song for the new year. Sad but beautiful.

What’s your favorite Christmas, holiday, or winter song?

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  1. I am ALWAYS looking for new songs to add to my holiday playlist so I am off to check these out on Spotify now!

    I don’t know if I can pick a favourite one though as I have too many that I love! I suppose it depends on my mood!

    1. Joyce says:

      I know what you mean about it being hard to pick a favorite holiday song–so many good ones!

  2. Cora says:

    This is aweesssommmmeeeee. Clicking through every one. Thanks girl!

    1. Joyce says:

      Glad you like it! 🙂

  3. Shannon Carriger says:

    Maybe Next Year, Meiko
    Winter Song, Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson
    And I always think of The Weepies Say I Am You as a holiday record, though it really isn’t.
    Love the blog 🙂

    1. Joyce says:

      Thanks for the recommendations!

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