7 classic Christmas songs that aren't actually about Christmas

9 December 2021, 12:13 | Updated: 16 November 2022, 13:39

Xmas Songs
Picture: YouTube/Channel 4

By Tom Eames

They always appear on festive compilations, but are they actually about Christmas?

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

We may love hearing them every December, but if you stop and think about the lyrics long enough, you realise that you could technically listen to them all year round!

  1. East 17 - 'Stay Another Day'

    East 17 - Stay Another Day (Official Music Video)

    This song was actually written by Tony Mortimer about his brother's suicide, but after Christmassy bells were added to the final mix and a snowy video was produced, it became a Christmas standard in the UK ever since.

    Mortimer later said: "It wasn't meant to be a Christmas single. The A&R department said we should stick some bells on the end, but that's as much as it touches on the old ho-ho-ho stuff. I thought they were all mad."

  2. Frankie Goes to Hollywood - 'The Power of Love'

    Frankie Goes To Hollywood - The Power Of Love

    Another song released around Christmas at the time, it is often regarded as a Christmas song, despite having no reference to Christmas within the lyrics.

    However, the video features the Nativity scene, and the single cover contained The Assumptions of the Virgin, and a festive tradition was born.

  3. Jona Lewie - 'Stop the Cavalry'

    Jona Lewie - Stop The Cavalry

    Jona Lewie has said that this song was never intended as a Christmas tune, and that it was actually a protest song.

    However, the line 'Wish I was at home for Christmas' as well as the brass band arrangements, made it an accidentally-perfect Christmas pop song.

  4. 'Baby It's Cold Outside'

    Idina Menzel & Michael Bublé - Baby It's Cold Outside

    Whether or not you think this song should be banned, we could also debate about whether it's about Christmas or not.

    The duet is about one half of a couple trying to convince the other to stay at theirs rather than go off into the cold night. Wintery yes. Christmassy? Not necessarily.

  5. 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!'

    Dean Martin - Let it Snow!

    This song was actually written in Hollywood during a heatwave, as the songwriters Cahn and Styne longed for cooler conditions.

    While the lyrics make no mention of Christmas at all, it is often played during the Christmas season, and is often covered by artists on Christmas-themed albums.

    Technically, countries in the Southern Hemisphere can play it during their winter months in June, July and August.

  6. Aled Jones - 'Walking in the Air'

    Aled Jones - Walking In The Air

    This song obviously has Christmas connotations due to its use in the classic TV movie The Snowman (though it was actually Peter Auty's vocals in the film itself).

    However, the song isn't actually about Christmas. Not that we'd listen to it any other time of year!

  7. Fleet Foxes - 'White Winter Hymnal'

    [Official Video] White Winter Hymnal - Pentatonix (Fleet Foxes Cover)

    Originally by folk band Fleet Foxes, this song has been covered in a Christmassy fashion by the likes of Pentatonix and Alexander Armstrong over the years.

    Despite mentions of snow and cosy red scarves, it's absolutely not about Christmas whatsoever.