Tomorrow, the calender switches to December.

Christmas falls in the month of December.

Therefore, logically, Christmas is rapidly approaching. I'm not much of a logician but that makes sense to me.

I love the Christmas -er, Holiday season, but every time I hear the mall Muzak version of I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas or that ear-splitting Chipmunks Christmas Time is Here song, I want to jab my ear drums with a rusty pencil.

It's no secret that we're flooded with more and more "new" versions of Holiday classics (or Holiday-themed original tunes) each year, and most of them are garbage. Occasionally, though, you'll hear something worthwhile. These "alternative" versions of Christmas classics come along and give a decidedly different spin on what would otherwise be the same old songs. These can vary from bands or artists "interpreting" a tune in a unique manner, or it can mean a group creating their own original Xmas song that stands well on its own.

I'd like to preface this by saying that being inundated with the same Holiday tunes at supermarkets and malls and whatever is better than not hearing any Christmas music at all, but I offer these alternatives to someone seeking something different every now and then.

And here we go:

This first gem comes from South Park's amazing holiday special, Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics. I remember rushing home from church on Christmas Eve and watching the videotaped broadcast of that all-musical holiday special. It still amuses me to this day, and whenever I hear Carol of the Bells by ANYONE I only think of Mr. Mackey. Mmkay?

No Doubt used to be awesome, and Oi to the World is a good snapshot of those days. Quirky!

Weezer put out a "Christmas with Weezer" EP a few years back, and this was on it. A typically oddball Rivers Cuomo creation, it's not too shabby of a song itself, IMO.

I first heard this song on a KROQ Christmas compilation album, and thought it rocked. Of course, this was in about 2002, and Sum 41 was awesome to 17-year old me. The addition of Jack Black shouting out ridiculous items on his Christmas list only makes it more rocking. And the riffs, my heavens, the riffs!

If you've read any of my articles on this site, you know I love pop punk. And I've been a devoted New Found Glory fan for about ten years now. This song, a B-side that made its rounds on KROQ itself, always comes to mind when I think of Christmas, so here it is.

I don't know what it is about Carol of the Bells, but I've heard a lot of hard rock/metal covers of it. This August Burns Red cover was suggested to me on a message board, and I think it's fun.

More festive pop-punk. Fenix Tx adds a little bitterness to this Mexican-themed holiday tune.

More holiday ska, this time from Save Ferris.

This might not be a "Christmas" song, but it IS about December, and The Matches (r.i.p.) released it on a holiday album. I've always loved it for its quirkiness, something I always admired about the Oakland-based band.

Despite what this video claims, this is NOT 311, it's just Nick Hexum, the group's lead singer. He brings his normal smooth voice to the island-y Hawaiian jam, and it fits his style nicely.

Thrice's take on John Lennon's classic politically-themed Christmas tune is a stand out mainly because of the nice treatment Dustin Kensrue gives the vocals, as well as the rich melodies.

And now for something completely different. This song, from a Metal Christmas tribute album, scared me when I first heard it. And yet, Chuck Billy, Scott Ian, Jon Donais, Chris Wyse and John Tempesta give a pretty brutal rendition of Silent Night. Feel free to blast this around your grandma when you're opening gifts this year.

To close things out, here's a tender re-working of the Stevie Wonder holiday jam, That's What Christmas Means to Me. Because, you know, everyone's Holiday Season could use a bit more Michael McDonald.


Feel free to suggest ones I've missed, because I'm sure I've missed more than a few gems.

Oh, and happy holidays!