Christmas Crackers 2021

Santa in headphones

Every year, from October onwards we start receiving Christmas songs, and every year we collect all these into a playlist that we put out on Christmas Eve, like a musical tin of Quality Street. This year we received a record 52 such submissions!

Here Marina Florance and Del Osei-Owusu unwrap some of these treats and let you know what’s inside.

I hate mince pies. And Christmas pudding. I mean… WHO PUTS FRUIT IN CA- okay, okay I like apple pies so that’s my alternative. So to go with my cup of tea, I have an apple pie, and with my tea and apple pie I give you the Christmas Crackers. Oh before I go…

What kind of motorbike does Santa ride?
A Holly Davidson…


Tough crowd….

Cold Christmas by The Legendary Hearts is a different offering from their previous tracks – anthemic in that this is what you’d expect to be playing on Christmas morning in the background while bribing your little sister to do your wrapping because the only rapping you know is by Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Jay Z… This is melancholic, but then there’s been nothing to be cheery about of recent years. It’s melancholic. But I like it. They now have a new fan.

One of the things I like about Amber Schmidt’s Christmas Lullaby is the way that the kick drum rolls – I need to learn that trick… Great Christmas song here! I love the melody, loving the progressions that are not really present in pop music today…

Roll On May by Attendant caught my ear too, nice rocky get punky track! Just makes you want to jump in the air very melodic and epic in style.

Ooh… Christmas Day by Bisola has a nice soulful flavour, I love that synth bass in the chorus, and Bisola’s voice is sweeeeeettttttttt! Drum rolls on the snare too…. Yeah you caught my ear for sure! This is my favourite of the list!

Full disclosure I’m one of the Harmonix, on Helefonix and The Harmonix’ We’re Gonna Have Some Fun. This was a one-off that Helen drew together with friends from all over the social media sphere, including myself and our Neil… this was fun to make! Spinning in the middle of my road at about 9pm I don’t know what my neighbours thought I was doing, but they’re used to my eccentricities now, and the funds from this are going to Help Musicians UK!

I love the strum along feel on December by Ison Boy, you could imagine this being the song you’d sing with your family after Christmas dinner and the Queen’s speech is done, just before the big movie. Makes me feel all warm and toasty inside.

Kelp’s Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas — B3 Hammond organ so – oh wait, that’s not a B3, that just morphed into something else. NICE!!! There are some expensive chords in there with some really solid percussion in there. Love it.

Honourable mentions go to The Kintners from Marina’s list by the way!

All in all, a very enjoyable listen, this represents how the FOTN inbox is varied and how artists who have submitted through the year can morph their writing talents.

I think all that’s left for me to say is thank you so much each and every one of you for submitting through the last year, I can’t wait to hear what you have for us in 2022.

Oh you want one more bad joke? Really??? Are you su-?

Oh since you asked nicely…

Who is Santa’s favourite singer?
Elf-is Presley

I love listening to the FOTN Christmas submissions, who knows what gems await. This year I’m sharing my seasonal delight with co-moderator, Del Osei-Owusu, he’s doing the first half, me the other half. The tracks I’ve mentioned are my choices, no other mod’s Bah Humbug was harmed in the penning of this blog, just so you know. Here goes…

Any one of these submissions could be a Christmas fave for years to come, find one that works for you, play on repeat, soon you’ll be humming along to your new festive earworm.

A few of the original tracks that pulled me in are tinged with sadness, including a heart-breaking track by The Kinters – Rain On Christmas, who say they need a little rain to wash away their fears, here’s hoping 2022 provides at least some relief.

The Subway Choir’s No Kiss Under The Mistletoe, a nostalgic track that longs for Christmases past where the protagonist in the song isn’t living in a cardboard box.

Thank goodness! Some cheery respite from R.J. Archer & The Painful Memories, “Put the one-armed Santa on the Christmas Tree…”, they sing, but wait, why has he only got one arm? Oh, it’s okay, mild peril over, I know now…

The unsettling song All I Want For Christmas by Sourced and songwriter Fred Claridge, reflects upon last year’s cancelled Christmas. I hate to mention it Fred, but you may need to write a sequel.

Two covers worth a mention:

The Gorstey Lea Street Choir’s In The Bleak Midwinter had me yearning for a folky sing around session in a pub with a roaring open fire and a pint, I don’t drink BTW. And Driving Home For Christmas by Sugarcane (Featuring Molly Graham), I found myself tapping my fingers and toes to the snowy samba beat whilst sipping a snowball, oh wait, I already said, I don’t drink.

Last, no way least, I’m now fully in the mood to Ho, ho, ho with Olivia Miceli’s Ho Ho Ho, drape some tinsel around my listening gear, choose a tipple or two or three, did I say I don’t drink? And immerse myself completely in the 2021 FOTN Christmas Playlist. Join me?

Click here to open the playlist in a new window.


  1. AGENT STARLING – Stockport Polka
  2. AMBER CAVANAUGH – Christmas Lullaby
  3. AMY HOPWOOD – Winter Lights
  4. ATTENDANT – Roll On May
  5. BAZZA & MACH4 – Waiting 4 Santa Claus
  6. BISKEE BRISHT – Christmas Morning
  7. BISOLA – Christmas Day
  8. BRIAN PORRITT – Together This Christmas
  9. CHLOEY ROSE – This Christmas
  10. CREEPJOINT – Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal!
  11. DIVISION ORDER – Christmas On Mars
  12. DIVISION ORDER – Jesus May Love You But I Don’t
  13. ELBROOK COURT – Christmas Lights
  14. EVIL PINK MACHINE – Is It Christmas?
  15. GREENMATTHEWS – Peasants And Pages
  16. GREG TAAFE – It’s Always Christmas Day
  17. HELEFONIX AND THE HARMONIX – We’re Gonna Have Some Fun
  18. ISON BOY – December
  19. JLH – Xmas Blues (2021)
  21. JONNY MELODIC – Office Xmas Party
  22. KELP – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  23. LINDSAY H – Forgive And Forget (this Christmas)
  24. LONGLIGHT – Call Me Up ( This Christmas)
  25. LUCY CHRISTOPHER – Christmas Bells (Let’s Make This A Very Merry Christmas)
  26. MADISON LEIGH – This Christmas
  27. MICHAEL PERRY – All I Want This Christmas
  28. MONDEGREEN – This Christmas Feeling
  29. NB-4 – Here Comes Christmas
  30. OLIVIA MICELI – Ho Ho Ho
  31. PATRICK WRAY – Santa’s Blues
  32. PAUL HENTY – Cold Outside
  33. QUARTER PAST BLUE – Have A Very Merry Rockin Christmas
  35. RHUMBA CLUB – Xmas Eve
  36. ROJOR – Christmas Ghosts
  37. ROLEPLAY – Jingle Bells
  38. SALLY CROSBY – Like Christmas
  39. SOURCED. – All I Want Is A Christmas
  40. STEPHEN G. CLAYTON – Xmas Bunny (feat. Knight-Malciak)
  41. SUGARCANE (FEATURING MOLLY GRAHAM) – Driving Home For Christmas
  42. THE GORSTEY LEA STREET CHOIR – In The Bleak Midwinter
  43. THE KECKS – Lonely This Christmas
  44. THE KINTNERS – Rain On Christmas
  45. THE LEGENDARY HEARTS – Cold Christmas
  46. THE POCKET GODS – Apocalyptic Christmas
  47. THE RUMBLE SKULLS – Shine In The Night
  48. THE SACRED ANGELS – Peace At Christmas Time
  49. THE SEA CADETS – Sailing Home For Christmas
  50. THE SUBWAY CHOIR – No Kiss Under The Mistletoe
  51. TROI PARKER-ROTH – Guided By Christmas Lights
  52. ZACHARY FRIEDERICH – Mistletoe Kisses

Previous Years:

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Team Freshnet

Any artist is welcome to send us one track from Monday morning each week via our inbox. It will be heard by every member of our moderation team that week. Our favourite 25 tracks then appear here on our Listening Post every Friday to Sunday, giving the artists a chance to find out what complete strangers think of their music.


  1. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone, enjoy the music!

  2. Thanks so much for including our ‘Helefonix and the Harmonix’ collaborative Christmas track in this lovely selection Marina! will really enjoy listening to these ‘new classics’. Merry Christmas to one and all!

  3. I see that a thank you to Del Osei-Owusu is also in order. Huge thanks to you both and all the moderators who listen to hundreds of tracks, week in week out, to give a boost to the independent scene! x

  4. Wow, this has to be the longest Christmas Crackers list we have published yet! Good to see a mention for Helefonix & The Harmonix, not because Del & I are on the track but because Helen has done such a great job of pulling over 40 grassroots music folk together along with the likes of Ian McMillan and Jackie Weaver to create a cool, fun track with proceeds going to an organisation that has done so much to support musicians during the COVID crisis and will no doubt continue to do so. And some very good bands and artists supplying Xmas tracks this year. 🙂

  5. … and good job Marina & Del too. 🙂

  6. Many thanks for including us!!!!

    Happy Christmas and New Year to you all and thanks for the great comments and feedback during 2021… it has kept our spirits raised and we have also discovered so many brilliant talented artists via the Freshnet platform!!!

    Russ & Michael @ Gorstey HQ

  7. It was an absolute pleasure to do this! See you all in January.

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