One of the worst topics to research was original holiday songs on television shows. Traditional carols pile up (sung by the stars!), and occasional alt-rock gems get discovered as background music on young peoples’ shows (The CW network). And Thank God for cartoons. I ran searches for individual programs on Youtube (Gunsmoke+Christmas+song) forever and ever. Nobody has their own blog on this topic than i can tell. It’s a lost cause, i tells ya!
Preferring the scripted terrain, i never went so far as to open it up to the late night shows who really go to town on the novelty Christmas song trope. Let’s stretch here…
Darlene Love adds vocals to “Christmas Time for the Jews” on SNL back in 2005, a soul sister testimonial that non-Christians can take over for one day while everything is closed for the observant. Hey now!
Also SNL (the year 2000), a song that scored near endless updates “I Wish It was Christmas Today,” rock nonsense from Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan. Okay fine bye.
Saturday Night Live‘s ugly stepchild MADtv had a couple of bits worth a mention. Canada’s comic folk chroniclers Corky and The Juice Pigs bluesify “Christmas Drunken Alibi.” Didn’t mean it, baby! Actual cool blues from Harry Connick Jr (seriously) as a guest fronting “(It Must’ve been Ol’) Santa Claus.” Nice.
Jimmy Kimmel likes some odd songs, too. He joined The Killers on his show for a wonderful alt-bitofun “Joel, the Lump of Coal.” This time the punishment is the present.
A seriously sad rockblues number from James Cordon wallows in what happens “When Christmas is Over.” Peace out.
Stephen Colbert is also not ascared of musical pieces. He won an 2010 Grammy from his old show’s musical holiday ep, including the song “A Cold, Cold Christmas,” heartbroken country humor of some considerable range. In his new show he tried to contrast jolly “Jingle Jingle (Santa Party)” silly pop singing with the angry rap of political topicality. More recently he penned supposedly the worst Xmas song of all time. “Christmas is Now” (feat. Norah Jones) soft pops repetition to madness.
Finally, let’s allow for the most tangential of topics–British holiday commercials, sung about by Adam Buxton (Dr. Buckles) in “Television Ads at Christmas” to the tune of ‘Rudolph.’ A bit esoteric, but fun.