You’ll find me driving in July blasting Mariah Carey’s Christmas album. Grab one of my headphones, and yep, that’s Michael Buble crooning about being home for Christmas — and yes, it could be well into January.
I’m the type of person that will listen to Christmas carols mid-year. Heck, I’m the type of person who will even play them on the piano midyear (badly, of course). The thing is: I love holiday songs. They fill me with cheer when I hear the bells ringing (are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening).
Merry music is such an important part of holiday cheer. Music helps improve our moods, as evidenced through research; studies have shown how singing in a choir improves quality of life for seniors and how music therapy benefits the LGBTQ+ community.
Singing allows us to tap into self-expression in a creative way. Turns out, bellowing out songs in the car or at home can be very helpful for your mental health. According to this study, singing and music can also help with the coming out experience.
For many, singing is a joyous occasion. This year, due to the pandemic, there may not be carolers in the streets or families gathered around the piano on Christmas Eve. Yet, if we arm ourselves with headphones, playlists, and our favorite holiday bops, we can still capture that holiday spirit.
Here’s GO’s round-up of some of the best queer cheer and holiday tunes to get you in the spirit:
Kat Cunning “O Holy Night”
You’ll find a few Christmas covers from Kat Cunning, but we can’t go past their rendition of “O Holy Night.” Kat is advocating further representation and appropriate use of pronouns for the LGBTQ+ community, especially through their acting and music. Grab the tissue box, look for the Christmas star, and play this tune.
Big Freedia “Make It Jingle”
Freddie Ross is making it jingle with the iconic mashup of hip hop and mixed beats called Bounce. She’s an advocate for gender fluidity and is otherwise known as the Bounce Queen of Louisiana. Get Big Freedia on your playlist ASAP.
Missy Higgins “NYE”
One of my favorite Christmas tunes is written by bisexual Australian artist Missy Higgins. The tambourine transports me straight to summertime every time. Higgins created a stir in Australia when she came out as bisexual and has been a strong critic of the media pressure that followed when trying to label her.
Kehlani “Lonely In December”
Feeling lonely this holiday season? Put on this smooth R&B track from Kehlani and groove that heartache away. Kehlani has been active in speaking of queerness and all that can mean. Check out Kehlani’s song “Honey,” an acoustic love song to another woman, once you’ve listened to “Lonely in December”.
Tegan and Sara “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”
Nostalgia abounds with this tune. First, the old-timey sounds have you feeling like you’re listening to a 1940s wartime song. Then, the classic chipmunk dubbing takes you waaay back to your childhood. This beloved queer sister duo knows how to hit them feels.
Cher and Rosie O’Donnell “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)”
Two icons. One iconic song. The result? A song that makes you immediately think of a dance floor. Cher is a beloved gay icon, and Rosie is an outspoken and well-known advocate for the queer community (as well as being a lesbian herself). Together, they made a track that will have you cutting shapes even in your own living room.
Lady Gaga “Christmas Tree”
There is no doubting Lady Gaga’s queer power, and this number is classic Gaga.
While a little bit too electronic for my holiday spirit, I adore when “Space Cowboy” riffs in or when Gaga slows the song. Magic.
k.d. lang “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”
TV show “Glee” has been blessing us with song covers for years. One of the favorites would have to be k.d. lang’s cover of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” lang came out in the ’90s and was one of the first people in the public eye to advocate for the queer community.
Fifth Harmony “Can You See The Star”
Member of the group Lauren Jauregui came out as bisexual in 2016 and advocates for equality in both her art and ideals. Fifth Harmony’s smooth melodies and harmonies have this nativity song making you feel excited for Christmas Day.
Miley Cyrus “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”
Miley, Miley, Miley. The more I understand of Miley, the more I like her. She’s brash, bold, and not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She has a plethora of Christmas covers and a pretty strange Bill Murray Netflix show, but it’s her cover of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” that has me singing along.
Bonus: All Pentatonix Songs
Grammy Award-winning acapella group Pentatonix’s vocals are incredible, and their holiday tracks will make you feel like you’re literally inside a snow globe. Queer advocates, openly-gay men, and group lead singers Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying are darlings of the queer community and give the group a never-fail energy that’s just infectious.