Picking our favourite tracks of 2013 might have been a joyful difficulty, but picking our favourite Christmas soundtrack is a little more of a difficult joy. Following our Christmas playlist of last year, we’ve dug even deeper in our attempts to bait a lowest common denominator (looking at you Bublé) to bring you a little selection of tenuously festive songs.

So grab your obligatory Christmas jumper and join us in our alternative celebration of the season, even if some are a little more mournful than merry.

1. Joni Mitchell – “River”

She might be dreaming of Christmas, but it’s far more Blue than white. What better way to kick start your special family day with this tangentially festive cut from one of the most emotionally laden break-up albums ever written?

2. Slow Club – “Christmas TV”

If your Christmas Day is more twee-laden than tension filled, then whip up a mug of cocoa and cuddle up to this one. Irresistibly sweet, this downright lovely little tune is a paean to missing the ones you wish you were with. And even your mum’ll like it.

3. Prince – “Another Lonely Christmas”

I often think, “I wonder what Prince does on Christmas?” According to this belter, it’s a little more lonely than the usual breakfast routine – with the track written in mourning the death of a “close friend” from pneumonia, on Christmas Day itself. Happy holidays one and all.

4. Caitlin Rose and Keegan DeWitt – “You Never Come Home For Christmas”

The Best Fit favourite joins forces with Nashville singer-songwriter DeWitt for a deceptive Christmas ditty. It might overflow with gentle warmth, lush melody and sweet country-folk overtones, but it’s got teeth – never more so on lines like, “You never come home for Christmas – and perhaps it’s better that way”.

5. Neko Case – “Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis”

It’s cheating a little, as we included the Waits original last year, but anybody who deserves to do justice to the majesty of the original deserves a Christmas high five. Or perhaps a cuddle.

6. The Apples In Stereo – “Holiday Mood”

The Elephant Six Collective weren’t really known for their holiday tunes. In anticipation of the grand unveiling of Mangum’s “Jingle Bells” cover, sail away on this subtle gem from their Denver-based buddies.

7. St. Etienne – “I Was Born On Christmas Day”

As we all know, one very important person was born on December 25th. According to this song, that person is Sarah Cracknell of St. Etienne. To celebrate her special day, the band teamed up with Tim Burgess for this track from their 1993 Christmas themed EP.

8. The Raveonettes – “The Christmas Song”

“Santa’s coming to town with sequins in his hair” – not the slogan for the new ASOS advert, but the loveable refrain from ever-excellent Danish duo The Raveonettes!

9. Julian Casablancas – “I Wish It Was Christmas Today”

You think you’re excited for Christmas? You’ve got nothing on the Strokes frontman. Bubbling with joy and laced with sleigh bells, this bouncy tune was (almost) the equal of anything on the solo album, Phrazes for the Young.

10. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Christmas All Over Again”

Sometimes the greats say it the best. This simple slab of Petty’s heartland, FM-freeway rock is an uplifting crowd pleaser for all the family to enjoy. And any film that features in Home Alone 2 escapes having its festive kudos questioned, fact.