Christmas is a time of traditions and because of that we often assume that everyone on your street is doing the exact same thing let alone the rest of the world. However, whether horrid bread sauce graces your plate or not is a minor festive disparity when it comes to the wildly varied traditions the world over.
One particular part of the festive custom in the English-speaking west is to listen to the same 15 songs on repeat every single year. While many have tried to break into this elite club, most of the hopeful songs find themselves quickly condemned to the naughty list where they linger forevermore and are forgotten about.
After all, there is something unique about a Christmas song—they have some weird fateful feel as though they have been fished from the ether rather than being created in the classic sense. This notion adds credence to Hoagy Carmichael’s take on songwriting when he said: “And then it happened, that queer sensation that this melody was bigger than me. Maybe I hadn’t written it all. The recollection of how, when and where it all happened became vague as the lingering strains hung in the rafters in the studio. I wanted to shout back at it, ‘maybe I didn’t write you, but I found you’.”
While finding a Christmas classic certainly proves elusive, there are certainly some scattered around the world. From memories of Christmas on Bondi Beach under the southern Australian sun with the soulful Tim Minchin classic ‘White Wine in the Sun’ to the wildly jazzy jingling vibes of Johnny Ventura over in the Dominican Republic with the Caribbean classic ‘Salsa pa tu Lechon’.
Below we have collated the best of these tracks to bring a bit of international fanfare to your celebrations. They might not sound like the solemn old tones of ‘White Christmas’ but they certainly add a refreshing twist to proceedings. After all, if you can’t round for a good old kitchen chorus screaming rendition of ‘Feliz Navidad’ then you surely must be a humbug. Enjoy a playlist if our curated international Christmas classics below.
The ultimate international festive playlist:
- ‘Feliz Navidad’ by Jose Feliciano
- ‘Cha Cha Cha du loup’ by Serge Gainsbourg
- ‘Dona Maria Le Ruego’ by Victor Jara
- ‘La Fiesta de Pilito’ by El Gran Combo
- ‘En el Nombre del Cielo’ by Servidores de la Palabra
- ‘En Barranquilla Me Quedo’ by Joe Arroyo
- ‘All I Want for Ismas’ by Jacob Miller & Ray I
- ‘Salsa pa tu Lechon’ by Johnny Ventura
- ‘The Christmas Traveller’ by The Irish Rovers
- ‘El Negro Esta Cocinando’ by Los Van Van
- ‘Noel a Paris’ by Charles Aznavour
- ‘Holy Night’ by MoZuluArt
- ‘White Wine in the Sun’ by Tim Minchin
- ‘Boas Festas’ by Giberto Gil, Caetona Veloso, Eliane Elias
- ‘Navidad’ by Gipsy Kings