For one, there isn’t just one type of emo Christmas song. Firstly, there’s the straight covers, which make some sense: it’s easy to take a song and cover it in your own, 'alternative' style – see A Day to Remember’s cover of Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone. A lot of bands have tried it: for their Christmas EP, A GC Christmas, Pt. 1, Good Charlotte covered Last Christmas to go alongside two original songs. Bright Eyes covered Little Drummer Boy and Blue Christmas among others on A Christmas Album, and My Chemical Romance covered All I Want For Christmas, to name a few. It’s this type of Christmas song that maybe makes the most sense – covering other people’s songs in a semi-ironic tone is an emo and pop punk tradition. See Punk Goes Crunk, which is full of hip-hop covers by pop-punk bands, or Punk Goes Pop. Pop-punk loves to mock other genres, and while this might not be the motivation behind every Christmas cover, it definitely plays a role.
The other type is perhaps more sincere: bands writing their own Christmas songs. This is where we get some of the best: Fall Out Boy’s Yule Shoot Your Eye Out is, naturally, a vengeful and cruel twist on a holiday song. The Used’s Alone This Holiday is a breakup song exploring the loneliness that comes hand in hand with a season oriented around family and love. Good Charlotte’s Christmas By the Phone, which is about their dad leaving them on Christmas Eve, also explores the disappointment and loneliness of the season. New Found Glory’s Nothing For Christmas, is a slightly sweeter original song, while blink-182’s Happy Holidays, You Bastard and I Won’t Be Home For Christmas are a more, well, blink-182 take on Christmas cheer. Most original emo or pop-punk Christmas songs aren’t the most cheerful, but perhaps that’s just why they exist: not to be ironic or mocking about Christmas music or the season generally, but in an attempt to tackle some of the lonelier emotions that come hand in hand with such a relentlessly cheery time of year. Of course, that isn’t to say that mainstream Christmas music never has a sadder edge, but with lyrics like, 'All I want this year is for you to dedicate your last breath to me,' emo Christmas songs are just a little more visceral and on the nose.