* Joey Ramone - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)
In which the late Ramone gives a more realistic portrayal of Christmas than any other Christmas song.
* Chuck Berry - Run, Run Rudolph
Manic and joyful, as only Chuck can do it. The Keith Richards cover is great as well.
* The Pretenders - 2000 Miles
Chrissie Hynde tones it down for a bittersweet song about distance and longing.
* Joni Mitchell - The River
Breakup, escape and the difference between California and Canada in December. Stellar.
* John Prine - Christmas in Prison
A sympathetic tale of incarceration over the holidays, featuring one of the single best lines ever written: "She reminds me of a chess game with someone I admire." Sad, funny and sweet.