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Away in a spaceship: the alternative Christmas playlist

Serial killer Santas, Star Wars-themed tunes and homicidal reindeer make a change from angelic cherubs…

ROCKING AROUND THE Christmas tree, Have yourself a merry little Christmas, yadda, yadda, yadda. We get it: Christmas equals the same tired old tunes, year in, year out.

The thing is, we Irish have slightly alternative tastes when it comes to our festive warbling. Does anyone outside our race really understand why the festive season doesn’t start until we hear the first strains of A Fairytale of New York? It is after all, a song about two drunken, fighting ex-lovers, down on their luck and with only one good set of teeth between them.

The BBC certainly didn’t get it: in 2007 they edited the words “faggot” and “slut” from the lyrics so as not to cause offence. They reversed the decision within a day after criticism from listeners, the Pogues themselves and the mother of the late Kirsty MacColl who dueted with Shane MacGowan on the song.

So we should feel right at home with this top five of alternative Christmas tracks. Serial killer Santa, anyone?

1. A Spaceman Came Travelling: Chris de Burgh didn’t let us down with a ditty about a spaceman who flies into Mary and the little baby Jesus in a shed. He tells them he comes from a planet a long way from here – and presumably wakes the baby with his turbo jet engines.


2. The Night Santa Went Crazy: Santa gets drunk on cheap whiskey and carries out a massacre in his workshop. Suffice to say it gets pretty messy – bits of elves and reindeer everywhere – and Santa goes down for 700 years. “Now Vixen’s in therapy and Donner’s still nervous…” It comes with an animated video which, frankly, just makes it weirder.

3. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer: Apparently this song started out as a joke. Anyone who listened to Atlantic 252 in the early 1990s will have lost their sense of humour as this cautionary tale of marauding reindeer was played on loop every Christmas. Grandpa’s doing great though.

4. What Can you Get a Wookie for Christmas (When he already owns a comb): Star Wars fans will get this. For everyone else, enjoy the fanboy video:

5. Christmas in Prison: Bit of a cheat here because the title is the only weird thing about this song. It’s actually a poignant little tune narrated by a homesick convict stuck in prison over Christmas, missing his wife and sweetly sung by American folk legend John Prine. Enjoy:

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