For many, the Christmas season is a joyous time to celebrate being with friends and family, but not all our favorite Christmas music reflects the ‘merriment’ of the season. Many holiday songs are filled with heart-ache and sadness that really puts a damper on the festive season, but at the same time remain some of the standard classics of Christmas. Here are the top ten best broken-hearted Christmas songs of the season.
“Blue Christmas” — Elvis Presley
The King popularized this gloomy Christmas standard about unrequited love in 1957, and every year since, he’s made it a listening tradition by singing about a “blue, blue Christmas.”
“Last Christmas” — Wham
The British pop duo Wham released this single in 1984 about a man having his heart broken by the woman he loved during the holidays.
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” — Bing Crosby
This Christmas classic is written from the point of view of an overseas soldier during WWII who’s writing home to his family before Christmas, optimistically telling them to prepare for his homecoming for Christmas “if only in my dreams.” The song still holds up today for the many soldiers who spend their holidays away from home.
“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” — John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Released in 1971 as a protest song to Vietnam, John and Yoko’s song was based on their peace-promoting billboard campaign that had signs reading “WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) Happy Christmas from John and Yoko” around the world. It has since become a standard during Christmas and reminds us of the positive message of the holiday.
“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” — Judy Garland
For have such a hopeful title, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is one of the most melancholy songs of the season. First sung in the film Meet Me in St. Louis by Judy Garland, this song was intended to cheer up a young girl in the movie, but Garland’s haunting vocals just makes us want to sulk next to the Christmas tree.
“Please Come Home For Christmas” — The Eagles
Covering Charles Brown’s original 1960 recording, The Eagles released their cover version in 1978 as a single, which reached #18 on the charts. The song was about spending Christmas alone and pleading for a lover to spend the holiday together.
“Do They Know It’s Christmas” — Band-Aid
A charity single written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984-85, dozens of musicians banded together to sing on this song to raise awareness and relief surrounding the famine in Ethiopia.
“Merry Christmas Darling” — The Carpenters
Released as a single in 1970, The Carpenters’ No.1 hit was about spending the holiday apart and dreaming of being together on Christmas.
“Christmastime Is Here” — Theme from Charlie Brown
The opening theme song to the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, this song’s sad melody is made even sadder with images of a depressed Charlie Brown and his brown Christmas tree.
“It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way” — Jim Croce
Filled with wintery images and a Christmas theme, Jim Croce’s 1973 single is about a relationship that’s ended and the man feeling sad and lonely during Christmas. To make it even more depressing, this was the second single released after Jim’s death.