TINSELITIS: Musts For Your Holiday Mix

Ah, yes. December, the month of sweet, sweet holiday jam redemption. I have been waiting for today ever since March, when everyone was groaning with disgust and wanting to kill me for still listening to Christmas With The Rat Pack. Is it so wrong that I think Frank Sinatra’s “I Believe” is a really cute and inspirational song? Sheesh. Luckily, my time has come and it is once again socially acceptable to get cracked out on carols and rock around the ‘ole Christmas tree.

In my personal opinion, there is nothing more fun than crafting your personal seasonal soundtrack.

Christmas is a sentimental soiree, a fine balance between fun and family. I find the best Christmas songs are simultaneously comforting and exciting. They stir favorite childhood memories and remind us of the simpler times before auto-tuning, all the while promoting an upbeat and social environment. Basically the kind of records you’d hear on rotation at the Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce holiday office party.

“Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee

This is the perfect song to start your Christmas playlist because everyone is still up and suddenly, strolling becomes sashaying. Glasses start clinking and girls start laughing. Men are obviously snapping their fingers and grinning handsomely. It’s a flawless formula of innocent 1950’s pop, rockabilly-inspired beats and the playful spirit of Kevin McCallister.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” by Dean Martin

One of the first times we saw our girl Zooey sing was in the movie Elf. She did a phenomenal version of this song, which is actually a lot nicer to listen to than this one. But the reason I love this one, is because the girl singing in it has a voice that is easily over powered by your own. Growing up, I would sing this in the mirror and pretend that it was in fact my duo with old Dino. I never got to make 1960’s Dean Martin’s acquaintance, but when we’re singing together I like to pretend that he’s a real gentleman. And that he’s in love with me. Although, don’t think about the lyrics too hard. After enough Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, it starts to sound like he’s going to drug her at any second.

I revealed so much about myself in that paragraph.

“White Christmas” by The Drifters

I realize we’re only three songs in and it looks like I’m just writing down the Home Alone track list. I swear I’m not just copying from Amazon, but it would be remiss of me to feature this song without tipping my hat to one of the most iconic moments in cinema.

(Or, alternatively this.)

Oh, John Hughes.
You had me at Sixteen Candles.

I digress. Anyway, the Drifters have this whole doo-wop thing down pat. I love the minimal instrumentation paired with a sinewy ensemble. It’s warm and toe-tapping.

“Here Comes Santa Claus” by Elvis Presley

Can we just take a minute to listen to how swoonable Elvis is? His voice is like velvet and his signature style is enchanting. He sings like he is flirting with you.

“Linus & Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi

You’re probably like, “You should have picked that one where all they say is ‘Christmas time is here…'”. yeah, I get that, but hear me out: this one is better. I say this because it immediately makes people smile and want to do a goofy Charlie Brown dance. This was like the first documented dance party. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a very good video on YouTube of it, so someone in the infinite internet with some extra time on their hands should take care of that.

“Winter Wonderland” by Bing Crosby

This will come on and your grandparent will be thankful you didn’t forget about Bing, like you’re some ignorant Christmas noob. Bing has a stockpile of yuletide hits, but this one is a little more upbeat while still a classic. I’ll want to put on my sweats if I listen to too much cozy crooning.

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love

This tune is catchy while still stirring a very serious sentiment: being without your number one on Christmas is a bummer. Even the brokest of us want someone to shower with presents and love during the holidays. You just really feel for Darlene here because we’ve all been there but it moves along fast enough so that you’re not moping in the corner.

“Sleigh Ride” by Ella Fitzgerald

This song is so relaxing yet still voluptuously jazzy. This is the part of the party where maybe you’ve snuck off to a corner with a cutie, chatting about how you guys have the same favorite movie. You probably coyly smile and let out a carefree giggle, eyes sparkling. It’s all very magical.

“Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt

I’m sure we can spin this song a thousand different ways but I just think Eartha Kitt is a woman who knows what’s up in this song. She’s charmingly demanding and entitled. I think you’re lying to yourself if you’ve never wanted to get everything you ask for in life. She asks for a fur coat, jewelry, cars and just flat out checks. Even if it’s like he only gets her one thing off her list, she’s chilling. Hard.

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” by the Beach Boys

This is just one of those songs you listen to and you realize, “Oh, wow, that is the most beautiful harmonizing possibly ever.”

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” by Frank Sinatra

Oh, Frank. So robust and so calming. The night is winding down, the couches are clearing and the conversations quieting. People have finished their hot toddies and have started hugging a lot. This is a song for huggers, just pulling someone in close and being grateful for their presence in your life.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey

Ha! I bet you thought I forgot. Hell no I didn’t! If you do not have this on your list– no matter the theme– you are basically committing crimes against Christmas. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is arguably the best Christmas song of all time, and maybe even just one of the best songs of all time. Everyone loves this song. Every single one of our moms had this and had it on blast. You could not be alive in the nineties and not love this song. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” has everything you want. It has an infectious beat, wonderful orchestration, remarkable lyrics and Mariah. You just don’t get songs like this any more. Cherish it, my friends. You only have it for a good month, maybe two, before you have to go a whole year without it.

Well, those are my favorites, I hope they’re some of yours too. If you’d like, you can even listen to the mix in its entirety on 8Tracks.com.

What are your Christmas playlist musts? Tell us in the comments so we can all have the best holiday mixes this year.

[Photo via Life As A Thrifter]

  • http://www.facebook.com/kcostantini Katherine Costantini

    This list is invalid with Wham-“Last Christmas”! Also, She & Him does a really great cover of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by reversing the roles in the song

    • http://www.facebook.com/kcostantini Katherine Costantini

      Harry Connick Jr also does some great holiday classics, “I Saw Three Ships” is probably my favorite.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kinseystout Kinsey Stout

    Go to Pandora. Create a station based on Vince Guaraldi Trio (Holiday), and it will generate for you the most delicious combination of jazz standard Christmas music (Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald are my personal favorites all year long), fun Peanuts stuff, and general Christmas merriment (classical guitar, pianos, and all sorts of vintage favorites.) It feels like the best possible martini-doused Christmas soiree. Bring on the hors d’ouvres!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.cummings1 Lauren Cummings

    Nice one, I was pretty worried when I clicked on the topic that it would be full of some really terrible stuff. There is almost as much bad Christmas music as there is good. I love Billie Holiday’s Have My Love to Keep me Warm, I prefer the Elf version of Baby It’s Cold Outside, Frosty the Snowman by Fiona Apple (A MUST), Etta James’ Please Come Home for Christmas, then Merry Little Christmas by The Pretenders/Ella Fitzgerald/Judy Garland (cant decide which I love more), Christmas Time is Here by Shawn Colvin, and Fariytale of New York by KT Tunstall (I know it’s not the original but it’s KT come on)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1104960065 Ashley Centola

    All of those songs perfectly (and I mean down to a T) describe my Christmas playlist! I’ve also added “A Very She and Him Christmas,” which has become, of course, a staple! Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Vince Guaraldi Trio (I absolutely love the Peanuts around the Holidays… nothing like it!) I love Christmas time :)

  • Anonymous

    oh MAriassa what an awesome list full of classics that never get old.

  • http://www.facebook.com/meghanrother Meghan Rother

    can’t forget merry christmas, happy holidays – *//\\//sync

    or any track from the john and the muppets christmas album…my mom had that on repeat!

    • http://www.facebook.com/meghanrother Meghan Rother

      oops, meant john DENVER and the muppets

  • http://www.facebook.com/mrlanier Meaghan Lanier

    Celine Dion’s version of “O Holy Night” is phenomenal (well, if you’re in the mood for something diva-ish) and Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” is a great classic in my book.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maryshutes Mary Frances Shutes

    Let me add a couple more songs to all these great ones already mentioned… God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman/We Three Kings by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan, Little Drummer Boy Bing Crosby and David Bowie, It’s Beginning To Look Alot Like Christmas by Johnny Mathis. Alos, for a little fun check out I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas by Gayla Peevey.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mc8nine Maria Cacayan

    amazing! I love your Christmas Playlist. I hope this month goes by slow so I can listen to these songs over & over before my friends stop me & say you can’t listen to this its not Christmas! Thanks for the share :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/shugapayhanibants Sugar Agbones

    cool! How about Elvis’ “Merry Christmas Baby”? Nice song to soak up in the tub. :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/SilviaJuncaC Sílvia Juncà

    Have yourself a merry little Christmas is my favourite, and Frank Sinatra just nails it! looove! :) I actually discovered this song when I was a child, sang by Judy Garland in “Meet me in St Louis” (1944). This song brings me some sweet memories from home… *

  • http://www.facebook.com/madelinekircher Mädi Kay

    Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1246213907 Marissa A. Ross

    EEE! I love all your suggestions– it was so hard narrowing it down to a reasonable amount because my personal xmas playlist on my computer has six hours worth. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/brittany.woodell Brittany Woodell

    I have to say that my favorite part of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is the pie. If you listen, it doesn’t sound like “pumpkin” pie – it sounds like a curse word… and it’s awesome. She is serious about that pie!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000627691307 Christina Boucher

    Nat King Cole’s Christmas album is just the best.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kwuyscik Kelly Wuyscik

    The only thing I would add is Bing’s “White Christmas” because it is literally, the bestest version ever. It’s the whole reason I watch “Holiday Inn” and “White Christmas” every year. That man is simply amazing.

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