Best New Australian Christmas Songs: The Wiggles, TISM & More

14 December 2023 | 8:00 am | Ellie RobinsonMary Varvaris

From TISM to The Wiggles, it's an eclectic Christmas soirée Down Under!

The Wiggles, Gang Of Youths, TISM

The Wiggles, Gang Of Youths, TISM (Source: Supplied)

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And so, it’s that time of year again, when people either love the festive season or absolutely hate it, and will likely hate this article too (we’re unsure if people ever feel indifferent towards Christmas).

As it stands, it’ll be Christmas before we know it, and already, Christmas songs have made their way onto the ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart. There’s Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You at #15, Wham!’s Last Christmas at #30 and Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree at #42.

Here’s the thing: all of those songs have been around for what feels like forever. Where are the new Christmas songs? Or, better yet, the new Australian Christmas songs?

The Music has rounded up the best new festive songs by Australian artists, from The Wiggles to TISM (yep, This Is Serious, Mum) to Gang Of Youths. Time for the Aussie Santa Claus to come to town.

The Wiggles – Last Christmas (Wham! cover)

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Ever since Wham! hit a festive goldmine with their 1984 hit Last Christmas, artists from every corner of the world – and every genre – have been keen to grab a slice of that melancholic pie. The latest act to put their spin on Last Christmas is none other than The Wiggles, putting an upbeat twist on a song we'd usually associate with the yuletide blues. It comes from the iconic kiddy band's just-released album The Sound Of Christmas, which also features such holiday classics as Winter Wonderland, Feliz Navidad and Run Rudolph Run (as well as some originals like Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas! and It's A Christmas Party, On The Goodship Feathersword!).

Gang Of Youths – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is an all-time classic among holiday hits, with 2023 marking its 80th anniversary. Judy Garland was the first artist to perform the Hugh Martin- and Ralph Blane-penned number, but dozens of other contemporary hitmakers have made it staples in their own catalogues (ie. Michael Bublé, Christina Aguilera and Sam Smith). Gang Of Youths dropped their own take just last week, and with Dave Le’aupepe’s smoky swagger at the forefront, it may well be our favourite version yet.

TISM – The ‘C’ Word

Okay, so The ‘C’ Word isn’t actually out yet – it drops tomorrow (December 15) – but the timing of its release lets us know that for TISM’s first release in almost 20 years, we’re in for one hell of a holiday treat. The EP is said to deliver “caterwauling commentary and a cracking chorus”, taking listeners “up crap creek in the colloquial canoe”. Thus far, TISM have previewed The ‘C’ Word with lead single I’ve Gone Hillsong, which can only be described as “quintessential TISM”... We’ll let you decide if that’s a compliment or an insult.

Formidable Vegetable – All I Want For Christmas Is Used

Winners of the MMMA Music Award for Best Album, Formidable Vegetable – a “family funk-swing permaculture band” from WA – have parodied Mariah Carey with “a 'silly season' song with a difference”, imploring listeners to embrace waste-free gifting this Christmas.

Budjerah – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Budjerah’s take on the Darlene Love classic Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – which also celebrates a milestone anniversary in 2023, turning 60 – was recorded alongside the Amazon Playmakers and their late campaign ambassador Johnny Ruffo. The Playmakers initiative saw Amazon link up with the Starlight Children’s Foundation to give seven kids the arduous task of “testing” Amazon’s top 100 toys.

Budjerah said of his involvement in the initiative: “The opportunity to work with the Playmakers is so important to me as I am a family man and can see everything Starlight does to support families and bring children happiness. Being able to work alongside Johnny Ruffo was very special and we got to create a beautiful video clip. The day with Johnny and the other children was one of the best days I’ve ever had, the kids had so much fun and had huge smiles on their faces the whole time.”

Samantha Jade – Christmas Kiss

X Factor alumnus Samantha Jade returned to her bubblegum pop roots for this festive bop, perfectly primed to soundtrack the ritual tearing open of presents on Christmas morning.

Jimmy Barnes – O Holy Night/If Santa Forgets

Jimmy Barnes’ two latest holiday songs – recorded with his family band The Tin Lids – come as part of a deluxe reissue of last year’s Blue Christmas album. If Santa Forgets is particularly special, as Barnesy explained upon its release: “It always made me very emotional. Singing with my children when they were so small seemed to pluck the heartstrings even more than usual. Now I have some of my grandchildren singing too and it has gone to the next level.”

As for his rendition of O Holy Night, Barnes said it’s “a song that I know from an amazing version by Mahalia Jackson”. He added: “As a few of you probably know, I named my daughter after [Jackson]. The reason I did that was because Mahalia Jackson’s voice had a huge impact on me as a young fellow. She is powerful and full of love. So is this song. I love it and can’t wait to sing it around the tree at Christmas.” 

Paul Kelly – White Wine In The Sun (Tim Minchin cover)

Paul Kelly also covered a classic for a new version of his holiday album, Paul Kelly’s Christmas Train (which initially landed in 2021), taking on Tim Minchin’s White Wine In The Sun. Describing it as “an Australian classic with great lyrics”, Kelly said of his choice to put his own spin on it: “I love the way it’s both pro- and anti-Christmas, a kind of argument with a big, beating heart. I thought it would work well recited as a poem so I did just that. I checked with Tim and he said, ‘OK by me.’ Thank you, Tim.”

Amy Shark – Christmas Lights (Coldplay cover)

And last but certainly not least, Amy Shark showed her Coldplay fandom with this riveting cover of Christmas Lights. “This feels like the song to play at the end of the night when everyone is full and sleepy on the sofa,” she said of the cozy tune – the perfect song to send out a magical Christmas with the family.