"If We Make It Through December" (1973)
This wistful ode to escaping to a warmer climate, and perhaps a better life, was one of Haggard's biggest hits and a popular cover choice for everyone from Alan Jackson to Joey + Rory. Although it is not a Christmas song, per se — it was originally released on his album Christmas Present and revived years later for his seasonal outing with Willie Nelson, Pancho, Lefty and Rudolph — it does reference the holiday as a father apologizes to his daughter that there will be no presents or trimmings. Why? Daddy got laid off down at the factory. Perhaps the incongruously peppy tempo is the narrator's way of convincing his daughter, and himself, that if they make it through this cruel month they will indeed be fine. S.R.