Christmas. "It's the most wonderful time of the year" according to the song it is, but not everyone feels like making snow-angels for two hours, ice-skating, eating a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie-dough as fast as they can and then snuggling. If the Winter weather is getting you down and all those overly-optimistic Christmas songs are just grinding you down further, these tracks are essential listening.
As well as reminding us that It's A Wonderful Life, Hurts released this alternative anthem last year. It's title "All I Want For Christmas Is New Year's Day" is self-explanatory but in case you didn't guess, it's a song about wishing for a better time next year and a fresh start. It's emotive and captivating - Hurts at their best.
If celebrating Christmas around your extended family is what you're dreading the most, Imogen Heap's "Just For Now" will be perfect for your own alternative playlist. She sings about all those awkward moments ranging from someone kicking you under the table to burnt turkey.
The Academy Is...
Missing somebody this Christmas? Finding it hard to face the holidays because of this? Then this song is perfect to ease your pain just a little bit. Unless your festive fear is because you're mourning your favourite band, in which case you should probably avoid this video at all costs.
Another song about holiday heartbreak is Rihanna's "It Just Don't Feel Christmas". It's a little like Wham's Last Christmas except it's not as upbeat, and also doesn't have a video with such lovely 80s Xmas knitted jumpers.
She & Him
"Blue Christmas" is a standard for all those who are feeling down at Christmas. This year duo She & Him re-recorded the classic for their Xmas album. They brought the song into the 21st century...by singing it in 20th century style.
The Pogues & Kirsty McColl
Top of many "Favourite Christmas songs of all time" in the UK is "Fairytale Of New York". A song stringed together of insults and arguments is not your usual holiday music but this is undeniably a musical masterpiece.
Smith & Burrows
As an attempt to leave the list on a happier note, here's Smith & Burrows (that's Tom Smith and Andy Burrows) 2011 release "When The Thames Froze". The song challenges the financial crisis and the way the country (UK) grinds to a half everytime two snowflakes fall but it reminds us to "Tell everyone that there's hope in your heart". A truly beautiful song. LISTEN now.
Here's another Smith & Burrows track, "This Ain't New Jersey", from their album "Funny Looking Angels" which is mix of covers of classics and their own new material. If you buy only one Christmas release this, make it this one.
If you still don't want to smile this Christmas, watch It's A Wonderful Life. It will be worth it, I promise.