Top ten Christmas driving songs
Christmas is the one time of the year when it is universally acceptable to sing your heart out in the car to songs that are older than your grandmother; when being caught mid-trill by fellow motorists elicits a smile and not a hand gesture - and what a cavalcade of great tracks there are to choose from.
There's one rule when it comes to defining the best Christmas driving songs: they've got to be fun, hence the lack of slower favourites in this, our top ten...
10. 'Jingle Bell Rock' - Bobby Helms
Released in 1958, this rock n' roll tune is the third most-covered Christmas track of all time. The likeable, bouncy melody is just two minutes and 12 seconds in duration, but splendidly sets the mood for any festive journey.
9. 'Mary's Boy Child' - Boney M
What's Christmas without disco, you ask? Indeed. The 1978 cover of this carol is, believe it or not, one of the best-selling singles of all time. Not only that, you get an incredibly awkward segue straight into Boney M's own disco gem, 'Oh My Lord' - it's like two presents in one.
8. 'Christmas Wrapping' - Waitresses
Any song that opens with the lyric 'Bah humbug' is bound to be fun. This offering from 1981 may not have topped that charts (that was Human League's 'Don't you Want Me?, heinously delaying Bucks Fizz's 'The Land of Make Believe' from reaching no.1 until January 1982), but it has continued to delight with its downbeat sentiment combined with upbeat bass line. Plus the story ends well, too.
7. 'Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree' - Brenda Lee (sorry, Mel and Kim!)
Another track from 1958 which is a party stalwart, though many now associate it with festive film, 'Home Alone'. It's almost impossible not to bop behind the wheel. Incredibly, Ms Lee was only 13 years old when she recorded the hit.
6. 'The 12 Days of Christmas' - Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters
This cheery version from 1949 is perfect for singing in the car with children, as everyone knows the words and can take a parts, all vocally converging on "five go-old rings". Plus Bing has to feature somewhere in the list!
5. 'Winter Wonderland' - Darlene Love
This track comes from Phil Spector's well-respected 'A Christmas Gift For You' album and while it's hard just to pick a single track, this one has some immense harmonies for those that feel inclined.
4. 'I Wish it could be Christmas Every Day' - Wizzard
1973 was a great year for British Christmas records. The height of Glam Rock gave us Slade (see below) and the very-beardy Roy Wood with this infectious song. So beloved is it, that the song's been re-released every December for the past six years.
3. 'Bohemian Rhapsody' - Queen
Though not strictly a 'Christmas song', this musical, cross-genre behemoth was number one at Christmas in 1975 and again in 1991 following the great Freddie Mercury's death. Can you honestly say you don't headbang to the hard rock instrumental middle eight, a la 'Wayne's World'?
2. 'Merry Xmas Everybody' - Slade
Featuring not a single sleigh bell, this seasonal favourite's original incarnation was not Christmassy at all, but instead called 'Buy Me A Rocking Chair'. It was revisited after record company, Polydor suggested the band release a Christmas tune. It was recorded in summer 1973 and hit the top spot. It is widely acknowledged as the most popular Christmas song of all time.
1. 'Driving Home for Christmas' - Chris Rea
It had to be, really. "Top to toe in tailbacks..." this track's enduring appeal is probably down to the fact that we can all relate to what Chris is going through at the wheel, dying to get home but stuck in traffic. It has almost an easy-listening, lounge feel and you can't help but smile when you hear it. Funnily, it doesn't seem to have the same impact when you're not in a car.
There you have it, our top ten Christmas driving tunes. This outstanding playlist should see you through any journey over the festive period, just be careful not to lose concentration while hitting the high notes.