Call me a Grinch, but I am not a Christmas person. Whether it's just because I have an affinity for autumn or the seasonal depression I develop every year the moment I realize the sun will be setting at 4:00 p.m., Christmas just never did it for me. Still, I can appreciate the beauty of a winter wonderland when the snow starts to fall.
As an avid music listener (My Spotify screen time is truly embarrassing), I'm not going to deny there are some pretty stellar Christmas songs out there. However, after spending over twenty years listening to the same dozen songs every year, I sometimes cringe when songs like "Jingle Bell Rock" come on the radio for the millionth time.
To provide some cozy snow-time tunes without being overly Christmas-y, here are some acoustic and indie-folk songs that I think capture the spirit of the season.
White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes (2008)
Such a classic for the indie-folk genre, many hipsters would consider this a Christmas song in its own right. The cheery ballad with haunting lyrics about a child being decapitated (I'm not kidding) captures the real dichotomy of the winter season. Joyful, bright but also cold and just a little bit deadly.
Running With the Wolves - Cloud Cult (2010)
I'd argue nearly every song by this Minnesota-based psychedelic folk band could be on this list. If you've ever had the urge to drop all of your belongings and move to a snowy forest, this is the song for you. For those who feel stuck in the dullness of Midwest winters, there's something about this song that will fill you with magic.
Blood Bank - Bon Iver (2009)
Similar to Cloud Cult, sappy "winter vibes" describes all of Bon Iver's discography. This track might be cheating as the lyrics directly reference Christmas, but "Blood Bank" will also be my go-to snow song. The reparative, yet hypnotic melody feels like watching windshield wipers wiping snow back and forth.
You're the One - The Black Keys (2006)
Though there's no direct mention of winter or snow in this song, I feel like it's the perfect track to play in the sad scene of a holiday rom-com. If you find yourself with holiday blues, and to stare out the window and watch the snowfall, this 60's inspired track is for you.
Alaska - Maggie Rogers (2016)
One of the queens of sad girl rock, Maggie Rogers’ "Alaska" documents heartbreak over a scene of thin air and melting ice. This dancy pop song brings some life to whatever season the listener may be in.
Chicago - Sufjan Stevens (2005)
This recommendation is another cheater, as Sufjan Stevens has a load of recorded Christmas themed songs under his belt. However "Chicago," is such a first-rate Stevens' track. While this another song with no mentions of winter, the twinkling tune evocates a holiday feeling. I think it's perfect for any end-of-the-year introspection.
This is only a few of the plethora of snowy indie tracks for a non-Christmas-y winter. Whatever you listen to, stay safe and stay warm in this Holiday season.