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Sound Advice: Santa, I’ve Given You All My Cookies and Now I’m Nothing, by Various Artists

A pop-punk label offers an alternative to the holly-jolly tedium.

By now, most of us are pretty burned out on Christmas music. CHFI has been conducting its campaign of holiday-inspired terror for almost three weeks, while every shopping mall in town plays a muzak version of “White Christmas” on a seemingly infinite loop.

Santa, I’ve Given You All My Cookies and Now I’m Nothing is an antidote to all that forced cheer. Put out by Southern Ontario–based label Pop Punk’s Not Dead, the compilation is part of the longstanding tradition of punk bands making their own tongue-in-cheek Christmas songs. Roughly half of the bands on the album are from Southern Ontario, while the other half hail from places as diverse as Tennessee and Australia. (For those of you who are curious, the compilation’s title is a reference to an album by Philadelphia-based band the Wonder Years.)

While Santa may be put out by a label called Pop Punk’s Not Dead, it actually showcases a fairly broad array of sounds. Sure, there’s loads of snotty skate punk—like Double Lined Minority’s “Ex on Christmas”—and a fair bit of emo-esque melodic-aggressive wailing, best exemplified by It’s Only a Story’s “I’m Coming Home.” (You can listen to “I’m Coming Home” by clicking on the sample above.) But that’s not all there is. Sophomore’s cover of Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time” is fairly synth-heavy and owes as much to New Wave as it does to SoCal pop punk. There’s also a fair bit of punk-influenced acoustic material, most notably Furthest from Fame’s “Caroling for the Broken Hearted.”

Christmas music may be a little grating at times, but Santa, I’ve Given You All My Cookies and Now I’m Nothing proves that it doesn’t have to be.