Run Run Rudolph – Chuck Berry
Here’s a great one to keep you going. Any fans of the film Home Alone will surely remember the sense of urgency this track evokes. And it’s a nice upbeat one to get your festive journey going. Chuck Berry popularised this song when he released it in 1958 and it’s been covered by numerous artists since.
Thank God It’s Christmas – Queen
It’s not the most obvious choice, but this is a really stirring, festive tune. It was released in 1984 and spent six weeks in the charts, even though it only peaked at number 21. A slow-builder, it’s sure to get you in the mood. One reason it doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves is the fact that Queen never recorded a video for it, so it often gets missed off the annual TV playlists at least. But you can sure get it on in your car as you settle in for the winter drive.
Fairytale of New York – The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl
One of the all-time classics, of course, this bittersweet tale is often seen topping votes on the best Christmas songs of all time. It never made number one – instead being beaten to top spot in 1987 by the Pet Shop Boys. But it has become a firm favourite since. Whatever you might read into its lyrics, it’s still a festive tune that’s a must for any Christmas road trip.
All I Want for Christmas – Mariah Carey
One to get you bouncing in the car for certain. A simple and jolly Christmas song that’s become a classic since its release in 1994. Indeed, it’s been recognised as one of few more modern songs to go down as a festive staple and it’s a sure-fire singalong for your car journey. It topped the charts in a host of countries and it reached number two in the UK.
Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade
One of two that you just have to include. The 1970s was a good time for festive songs in the UK and right up there among them was this absolute classic. It was released in 1973 and is on everyone’s playlist to this day. It made it to number one in the UK – beating another very famous single (more on that shortly). The track sold more than one million copies upon its first release and has been re-released in every decade since, as well as being covered many times. Downloads have meant that it re-enters the charts every December, too. And absolute must for your journey – “Iiitttsss Christtttmassssss”
Driving home for Christmas – Chris Rea
Surely this is the theme tune to any festive drive. Released in 1986, this song sums up that feeling of the drive to see loved ones at Christmas, with lyrics including: I’m driving home for Christmas Oh, I can’t wait to see those faces It also sums up the frustrations: Top to toe in tailbacks Oh, I got red lights all around Amazingly, despite its now must-play status, the song only peaked at number 53 in the UK charts in 1988. It did re-enter in 2007, reaching number 33, and again in 2016, getting to number 26. Over the years it’s been used in TV adverts and soundtracks and is now a bona fide festive favourite.
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day – Wizzard
Arguably, alongside the aforementioned Slade, the daddy of them all. It was released in 1973, the same year as Slade’s effort, but it only made it to number four as Slade took the honours. But it’s gone down as an absolute classic – and rightly so. A song that encapsulated that feeling of Christmas being so special that you wish it could happen every day, it’s got it all – including a children’s choir. One to have towards the end of your playlist as you roll into the driveway.