It’s getting to be about that time of year when holiday music surges from being “too early” all the way to “in our face 24/7.” Which, for those of you who love the overwhelmingly Christmas-centric sounds that will be piping into every shopping mall, supermarket, and train station for the next month, this might not be a bad thing. But for others it can get, as we like to say, a bit much.
If only holiday music could be…GRITTIER…amirite? Inspired by a Twitter thread from Richmond, Virginia writer Dan Waidelich — (shoutouts to my pal Meghin Moore at Charlottesville’s Daily Progress for tagging me) — I spent a lot of yesterday thinking about the sort of seasonal music that Gritty Claus (pictured above) might have in heavy rotation.
We’ve hypothesized about the Flyers mascot’s musical tastes a bit already. And since making his NHL debut in September, we’ve really gotten to know this furry freak’s personality, which has a rough and rowdy exterior but is sweet and sentimental under that surface. With all that in mind, we’ve compiled ten holiday and holiday-adjacent songs that we feel might fit Gritty’s vibe. Dig in below.
Run The Jewels “A Christmas Fucking Miracle”
Less of a song about Christmas than about staying true to oneself — which Gritty most definitely does — this jam from hip-hop’s dynamic duo has a nevertheless festive video with El-P and Killer Mike playing on all sorts of seasonal tropes, some silly and others serious.
Atom and his Package “What We Do On Christmas”
Gritty loves irreverence, and this is a song so irreverent that Philly’s Adam Goren — the man behind beloved synthpunk cult faves Atom and his Package — appended it with a disclaimer: “My name is Adam! I’m a Jewish boy! I like Jews. I like Christian people. There should be no problem.” What’s the fuss about? This song satirizes crazy right-wing conspiracy theories by imagining the one day on the calendar that Jewish people would have completely free to plan another year of world domination: Christmas.
The Flaming Lips “Christmas at the Zoo”
The Flaming Lips bring out the freaks, and our hero Gritty is definitely part of that tribe. This is one of their many holiday offerings, “Christmas at the Zoo,” from 1995’s Clouds Taste Metallic.
Nerf Herder “Santa’s Got A Mullet”
Gritty’s style may be all free-frizzing and wild today, but lest we forget, the mullet was once the unofficial haircut of the NHL.
Vince Guaraldi Trio “Skating”
This is one of those moments where Gritty gets in touch with his sensitive side. The classic Charlie Brown Christmas album from the Vince Guaraldi Trio is a staple at so many holiday gatherings around the country, and Gritty’s personal favorite is all about one of his favorite activities. No, not kicking ass…skating! (A runner up here is Kathleen Edwards’ beautiful “Hockey Skates.”)
mewithoutYou “Winter Solstice”
When he’s feeling introspective in a non-denominational kind of way — or when he’s just in the mood to big up his hometown — Gritty flips on this song from the recent untitled LP by Upper Darby art rockers mewithoutYou, and basks in its beautiful reflections on the winter solstice.
Bad Religion “Silent Night”
What’s another key trait of Gritty? Attitude. And what has more attitude than a band of noted agnostics who call themselves Bad Religion playing revved up punk rock versions of sacred carols? Rock the live version of “Silent Night” below, and dig into their full Christmas Songs album here.
Snoop Dogg “Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto”
Suave southern California rapper Snoop used this track on the 1996 compilation Christmas on Death Row to both update James Brown’s song of the same title, and reflect on the importance of helping those less fortunate during the holiday season.
The Kinks “Father Christmas”
Yes, yes, we know — it’s another holiday staple that’s on probably every “Christmas songs that rock” playlist. Know what though? The message of kicking rich kids’ asses, stealing their presents, and passing them along to less privileged children is one we’re certain Gritty can get behind.
Mariah Carey “All I Want For Christmas Is You”
Just because he’s taken on a second life shutting down Nazis, you think Gritty’s not going to get giddy skating around the rink at top speed to the best and most joy-inspiring holiday song of the past 25 years? Think again — he may be made of orange fuzz, but has a heart, after all. Merry Grittmas!
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