It’s finally December! And if you know me, you’ll know that as soon as I flip the calendar page I’ve completely switched to holiday mode. Decorations are put up, festive recipes are found, and most importantly, Christmas music is played all day, every day. And because nothing quite inspires the holiday spirit like the right soundtrack, I’ve put together my perfect Christmas playlist.
All I Want for Christmas Is You — Mariah Carey
We’re starting this playlist on a high with a Christmas party staple. This energetic love song is the perfect tune to belt out dramatically in the shower or hum along to when you’re at work!
Little Saint Nick — The Beach Boys
If you don’t vibe with a white Christmas, then this song is perfect. With its hot rod, 60s-surfer tune, it brings to mind images of palm trees, rather than evergreens but still has that fun Christmas feel that’ll have you tapping your toes along with the beat throughout.
Run Run Rudolph — Luke Bryan
Remember the airport scene from Home Alone? Yeah, this is that song — well, a cover of it anyway. I really like Luke Bryan’s take on this snappy tune. He keeps the high-energy rocking guitar of the Chuck Berry original, while adding a sweet country twang that makes the song all the more fun to listen to!
Sleigh Ride — Ella Fitzgerald
Another holiday classic! After all, sleigh rides are the epitome of Christmas fun — or at least it looks that way in the movies. Plus Ella Fitzgerald’s unmistakable voice always gives me the warm and fuzzies, like a well-worn sweater.
Santa Baby — Eartha Kitt
Christmas is about peace, joy, and family — sure — but it’s also about presents. Lots and lots of shiny presents. And Ms. Eartha Kitt’s letter to Santa is so matter-of-factly ambitious that you can’t help but chuckle to yourself even as you sing along.
Thank God It’s Christmas — Queen
Christmas isn’t all fun and games though, it has a softer side. Thank God It’s Christmas is slower than the usual Queen fare, but it’s a great soundtrack for reflection on the year gone by.
Hang a String of Lights — Great Lakes Swimmers
This isn’t a traditional Christmas song, or even a classic one, but its cute and soft, and captures the little details that makes a holiday celebration special.
The Christmas Waltz — She and Him
Some people get to experience snowy streets and crackling fireplaces in real time, the rest of us make do with sappy Christmas movies and music that bring these little wonders to us. Whether or not you get to enjoy frosted window panes in the real world, you can certainly get into the mood with this sweet and wistful song.
Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) — Savatage/Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Epic is the only word I can use to describe this track. It’s an instrumental medley of sorts that combines ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman’ and ‘Carol of the Bells’, and what starts out as a sweet cello tune evolves into a swelling orchestra mixed with synthesizers and electric guitar. The story behind the music is equally legendary. It is inspired in part by cellist Vedran Smailović who played in the bombed-out ruins of Sarajevo during the Bosnian war, risking life and limb to bring a little beauty into a war-torn city.
Silent Night — Pentatonix
We’ll end the list like we began, with a classic. To me, Silent Night will always be one of the most peaceful and mellow Christmas carols out there, and Pentatonix’s acapella cover makes it all the more hauntingly beautiful.
And that’s it — my complete Christmas soundtrack for every holiday mood! Give this list a listen, and tell me what you think. And please do share your own favorite holiday tunes in the comments!