Oh Christmas songs. For some, they are the ultimate celebration of the most wonderful time of year; for those of us that worked in retail through the festive period, the first few bars of any are enough to set Kill Bill sirens off in our brains.
They are a massive part of our culture. But while some are incredibly famous, from the Fairy Tale of New York – the one time of the year your friends can shout f*ggot guilt-free, apparently – to White Christmas, there’s a genre of holiday song that’s gone under-appreciated: the queer ones.
So now the bells are truly jingling and the holidays are round the corner, I’ve ranked pretty much every LGBTI Christmas song.
- Queer icons, including Mariah Carey, are not included. Because All I Want For Christmas would be number one, obviously.
- They have to be explicitly queer or performed by a queer artist
- Only one song per artist (RuPaul represents the entirety of Drag Race)
- I am right and am fully supportive of you coming for me
- I’ll be ranking them on quality, Christmas-cheer, and how much they’ll upset your grandma.
DISHONORABLE MENTION: Michael Bublé – Santa Buddy
Bublé can’t go into the main list because he’s not queer. And he wants to make it incredibly clear that, under no circumstances whatsoever, do you consider him anywhere near homosexual. This absolute travesty of a Christmas song is no homo made into a melody. ‘Slip a Rolex under the tree’? This song is so aggressively heterosexual it wears basketball shorts out in the snow.
21 GLEE – Baby it’s Cold Outside
Remember Glee? Back before Netflix created a IV drip of queer content directly into our LGBTI veins, Glee was all we had for gay teen drama. Unfortunately that meant suffering through the destruction of legendary songs. No song, in fact, was safe, including the creepiest tune in Christmas canon. Yucks all round.
Quality: 1/5, Christmas Cheer: 1/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: Watching her soaps when two gays kiss on screen
20 Sam Smith – River
Perpetual misery-guts Sam Smith decided what the happiest time of year needed was another morose song about breaking up with a man. Look, Sam, it’s statistically impossible for you to break up with this many people and, if you are, a metaphoric frozen river to teach you how to deal with these relationships isn’t going to help. Have a Ferrero Rocher and cheer up.
Quality: 2.5/5, Christmas Cheer: 0/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: She had to ask you twice for her whisky and lemonade
19 Edna Jean Robinson – Boobs for Christmas
Folks, I’m not going to lie to you. This is not a good song. But it is a ridiculous, low-fi Drag Queen song about wanting some boobs for Christmas. The definition of the shrugs emoji.
Quality: 1/5, Christmas Cheer: 2/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: Jeremy Corbyn is elected Prime Minister and the Queen is locked in the Tower of London (For American readers: Bernie Sanders is elected President and Oprah is locked in Alcatraz)
18 Johnny McGovern – Dirty Gay Christmas
I know I unleashed this very specific, gay festive hell on myself but sometimes I do think we as a community sometimes need to be stopped. This is the most obvious song played to a terrible beat and every word makes me want to go back into the closet. Okay, it’s not that bad, but I hate it.
Quality: 0.5/5, Christmas Cheer: 3/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: You can barely hear the lyrics, so I’m going with ‘someone ate all the Brussels sprouts when she wanted one, even though she doesn’t like them’
17 Clay Aiken – Mary Did You Know?
Clay Aiken has sung five hundred thousand Christmas songs, so I did what any self-respecting content factory would do.c I googled ‘which Clay Aiken Christmas song is the best?’ The algorithms that control our lives chose this one, a very boring hymn. Merry Christmas.
Quality: 3/5, Christmas Cheer: 2/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: You give her a nice card
16 Tegan and Sara – The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)
What did I just listen to? It’s just a Christmas song inter-cut with bits of lesbian sister duo Tegan and Sara using the chipmunk effect? Does anyone find the chipmunk effect funny? Is it just for children? Can children use YouTube? Did we ever find it funny as kids? Does it fall below Crazy Frog on the cultural ladder? Do kids even know what Crazy Frog is? Oh god, this song has made me existential.
Quality: 2/5, Christmas Cheer: 3/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: She’s watching the Queen’s Speech, but it’s in Spanish
15 Halford – Oh Come O Come Emanuel
The openly gay lead singer of Judas Priest released a cover version of the traditional hymn. The guitars add an appropriate amount of dramatic tension, but his vocals feel a bit restrained for the most part, given its Christmas. Your dad’s favorite.
Quality: 2/5, Christmas Cheer: 2/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: The bad weather meant the TV kept cutting out on the Queen’s Speech
14 Mr Blobby – Christmas in Blobbyland
I hope our international readers are staring at this creature in horror. Mr Blobby is a terrifying pink monstrosity; a curse placed on the United Kingdom and a cross we all have to bear for the sins of our country’s past. He is an abomination forged in the depths of our despair. He only knows destruction. And Mr Blobby is coming for Christmas. Look at his work and weep, ye heteros!
Quality: 0/5, Christmas Cheer: 5/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: Staring blankly at a wall, recalling memories she never wished to see again
13 Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus – Rockin Around the Christmas Tree
Yeah, it’s all right.
Quality: 3/5, Christmas Cheer: 2.5/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: Prince Charles does the Queen’s Speech instead (For American readers: Donald Trump Jr does the Presidential Address instead of Trump)
12 The Dreamcatchers – All I Want for Christmas Is You
I’m very aware this is a song developed in the bowels of Disney’s torture chambers to tap directly into Tweens’ dopamine reserves, but co-singer Dove Cameron is bisexual so it’s on the list. It’s bad but your younger sibling will like it.
Quality: 2/5, Christmas Cheer: 4/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: Camilla does the Queen’s speech instead (For American readers: That Trump daughter no one knows or likes does the Presidential Address instead of Trump)
11 Big Freedia – Santa is a Gay Man
A tale of discovery as US sensation Big Freedia asks Santa for all kinds of gay men until they realize… it’s Santa they want. It gets old after a verse but funny enough to show to your friends on the group chat.
Quality: 1.5/5, Christmas Cheer: 3.5/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: Extinguishing one cigarette and lighting another while avoiding eye contact
10 Pansy Division – Homo Christmas
Homocore band Pansy Division turn their queer wit towards Christmas. A jaunty little tune but instead of reindeer or crying in the park, it’s about men having sex with men. A testament to sexual men’s ability to make a wholesome time of year about wanting to bone.
Quality: 3/5, Christmas Cheer: 3/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: You come out at the dinner table, but your cousin already did it five minutes ago
9 London’s Gay Man Chorus – Coming Out Christmas
Ahh, the perfect gay Christmas song. Coming out is always a flip of a coin and if your parents insist on being The Worst, why not take Christmas down with you? Their voices are great and the lyrics are charming without being crass.
Quality: 3, Christmas Cheer: 3.5/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: You come out at the dinner table, but you already told her three years ago
8 Lady Gaga – Christmas Tree
Remember when Lady Gaga was fun? The bisexual queer icon wrote a song referring to her genitals as a Christmas tree during the Fame Monster era, proving to be both dumb and better than anything on Joanne.
Quality: 3.5/5, Christmas Cheer: 3.5/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: You win at Monopoly but you flip the board anyway, with all the pieces landing on grandma
7 Pet Shop Boys – It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas
The Pet Shop Boys shot to fame by contorting pop music in ridiculous and surprising ways and, let me tell you, they don’t take a day off for Christmas. Their jaunty take down of Christmas songs and the British festive spirit is a proper banger. Might not be as strong as most of their discography, but that’s like asking anyone to come up with a better Christmas song than Mariah Carey.
Quality: 4/5, Christmas Cheer: 4/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: You accidentally give her your partner’s present – you snatch it away in time but she half-sees that it’s a dildo
6 Bing Crosby & David Bowie – The Little Drummer Boy (Peace On Earth)
David Bowie is one of the greatest artists to ever grace the Earth so literally anything his voice and mind touches is going to better than half the crap we’re forced to absorb through our ear holes. This song is a classic, but it’s more of a Christmas morning while cooking the dinner kind of tune. Great, but you aren’t belting it out.
Quality: 4.5, Christmas Cheer: 3/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: You give her a hug and say she’s your favorite Grandma
5 RuPaul – Merry Christmas, Mary
‘Oh RuPaul, I bet this basic bitch puts it near the top.’ You know what, everyone commenting on Facebook, YES. I AM. This song is an actual bop. A modern pop song, but with a chorus and joy. Before everyone falls asleep at the dinner table, just blast it from the speakers, get on the chairs, and really reaffirm your sexuality to the wider family.
Quality: 4/5, Christmas Cheer: 4.5/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: She bites into her M&S Christmas cake, her favorite, but your voting card is inside, and it’s for Jeremy Corbyn (for US readers: Bernie Sanders)
4 Bearforce1 – Christmas is Here
Bonus points for the name Bearforce1. This song is an absolute cracker. Top disco beat, as camp as you like it, and easily disguisable as a non-gay song on the office stereo. Just play, make eye-contact with the only other queer person in the office, and share that bond this Christmas.
Quality: 4/5, Christmas Cheer: 5/5, How Upset Is Your Grandma: You’ve just given her a brandy, but after a couple of sips she realizes you got the brand she doesn’t like
3 Wham! – Last Christmas
It came out before George Michael, but that doesn’t make the iconic singer any less gay. The song about love lost to the wrong person is an actual, bonefide classic. It’s the kind of bittersweet that sums up Christmas Day. The food is great, but you’ve eaten too much. Presents are fun, but you’re broke. You love your family, but one of them is definitely a homophobe. The spirit is truly captured.
Quality: 7/5, Christmas Cheer: 2/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: She met your boyfriend, confirming you are gay, but she kind of likes him
2 Queen – Thank God it’s Christmas
A monument to Christmas evening, this is the ultimate song to have once you’ve cracked open the spirits and the dining table on Christmas Day. Freddie Mercury lends his perfect vocals to one of the best Christmas songs of all time. Perfect for the office Christmas party. Perfect to slowly turn up as the conversation turns onto politics. A true majesty of the festive season.
Quality: 5/5, Christmas Cheer: 4/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: The turkey was cooked exactly how she likes it
1 Elton John – Step Into Christmas
Elton John unleashes his legendary talent on the festive season and the result is a song of pure bliss. Listen to this and try to be sad. It’s one of those jingles that literally shakes the worries of the world away with Christmas nonsense. And when the world is so spectacularly, unstoppable terrible, it’s exactly what we need.
Quality: 5/5, Christmas Cheer: 5/5, How Upset is Your Grandma: She’s changed her ways and has started her own Pride march