Christmas Music

Tracey Thorn - Tinsel and Lights

It’s that time of year. You might be thinking: “No, Joanna, it’s not, because I don’t listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving,” but listen: Thanksgiving is a full week later this year than it usually is, and I’m not going to be robbed of a couple of weeks of my favorite seasonal tunes just because of a damn calendar. You’re not the boss of me.

Whenever someone (Oprah) tells people that they should make a career out of what they love doing, and follow your bliss, and all of that, the first thing that I think is: “Nobody is ever going to pay me money to listen to Christmas music, that is just straight nonsense.”

Although, to be fair, I do not like most of the Christmas music which is out there.  I have a playlist called “Christmas test” which I dump the new Christmas music in every year, and I listen to all of it (science!), and only about 1% makes the cut. Duck the Halls, for instance, did not make the cut.

Here are my favorites! (All links are to Spotify playlists.)

Dean Martin - A Winter Romance

These are my three playlists, which I add to and prune every year. You might call them my life’s work. (No, wait, please don’t call them that.)

christmas: coffee – a playlist of mellow tunes to listen to while you’re drinking your coffee and watching the lights blink on the tree (or making out, whatever, I’m not judging)
christmas: crafting and cooking – a mix of old and new songs to play in the background while you glue sequins and roll dough, heavy on the indie rock
christmas: cocktail party – upbeat classics, heavy on the crooners

My all-time favorite full albums (all of which were on Spotify as of this posting):

Mariah Carey - Merry Christmas

The Classics

  • Frank Sinatra – A Jolly Christmas
  • Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas
  • Various Artists – A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector
  • Perry Como – A Perry Como Christmas
  • The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys’ Christmas
  • Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas
  • Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Various Artists – A Motown Christmas

A Very She and Him Christmas

Newer Favorites (Traditional)

  • Kelly Clarkson – Wrapped in Red
  • She & Him – A Very She & Him Christmas
  • Mary J. Blige – A Mary Christmas

Newer Favorites (Indie Rock/Indie Pop

  • Tracey Thorn – Tinsel and Lights
  • The Rosebuds – Christmas Tree Island
  • Emmy the Great – This Is Christmas
  • Aimee Mann – One More Drifter in the Snow
  • Low – Christmas

Any of your favorites who you can’t believe I’ve overlooked? (Don’t say Sufjan. I love him, too! But he’s released like a gazillion Christmas songs at this point and I can only tolerate listening to 2 of them.)


Christmas Music — 10 Comments

  1. I love love love your Christmas playlists. I can’t wait to listen through all of them. My Christmas playlists rely very heavily on Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, so I’m looking forward to adding some new favorites. I do enjoy Elvis’ – Blue Christmas, and I’ve also thrown some country into my mix since arriving in Texas, my favorite being Jacob Lyda’s – Tis The Season to be Lonesome. I’m so glad you posted this today. I was waiting to break my playlist out, but that was silly. Christmas has arrived in the Dadap house!

  2. UM. Hanson’s Snowed In. That ish goes on the second Halloween is over- as in, driving home from the bars in my costume. It’s amazing.

  3. My mom has always started playing Christmas music in September! There’s a really crappy Christian station here in Nashville that plays pretty bad Christmas music which is of course the only thing my kids want to listen to the whole season. :) A constant at my house growing up was Bing Crosby Christmas. I used to be able to sing the entire album from memory…as in without the CD playing!

  4. Personally I enjoy the Hawaiian and semi-rockabilly-type Christmas songs, like Mele Kalikimaka by the Andrews Sisters, or Christmas Boogie by the Davis Sisters

    • Solid choices, Kevin. And thanks for reminding me about Christmas Boogie — I searched for it in 2011 and it wasn’t on Spotify yet but it is now.