The Rival’s “Dirty Devil” staff teamed up with a new music publication at Duke, Medley (launching next semester at medleyduke.com–check em out!) to give you some of our all-time favorite holiday songs. Whether you’re looking for a nostalgic classic, a hipster cover, or a guiltily mainstream hit, we’ve got you covered.
“White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes
This is a perfect addition to anyone’s “Hiking in a Snowy Forest” playlist. A Fleet Foxes classic, this folksy tune will help you soothe your fried post-finals brain and get you ready for the holidaze. Wow, two birds/1 stone. Speaking of birds, Birdy and Pentatonix both released covers of this song recently, so maybe you’ve heard those versions; but there’s nothing like the original– instrumentals are essential.
“Happy XMas (War is Over) by John Lennon
I’m not gonna lie–I definitely listen to this track year round (and then end up wishing it were December). I almost chose “Feliz Navidad,” but John Lennon just really gets those holiday feels goin’.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Michael Buble
The lyrics of this song remind me that yes, indeed, I will be home for Christmas. It makes me super excited to spend time with friends and family. Also, Michael Buble, as my jazz professor has stated “owes Frank Sinatra all his money” and I’m a huge Sinatra fan, so Buble’s vocals are a huge plus as well.
“Chanuka Song” by Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler’s original Hanukkah song would honestly probably be my favorite Christmas song. Kind of cheating but it’s still so funny and accurate can’t forget it during the Christmas/ Chanukah/ holiday season. But if it actually has to be a Christmas song, who doesn’t love singing some Mariah Carey in the car?
“8 Days of Christmas” by Destiny’s Child
Are you too divalicous for traditional holiday music?? Never fear, you can strut as fiercely as the skies will let you to this track, a task that is just not as fun with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.
“Last Christmas (Glee Cast Version”) by Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album (MAKE SURE IT’S VOLUME 1)
The combination of Lea Michelle and Cory Monteith(<3)’s vocals is so beautiful and will tug at anyone’s heart strings. The background vocals gives this instrumental track a peppy a cappella-esque feel to it.
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Sam Smith & “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Buble
While I was tempted to fill my whole holiday playlist with only Frank Sinatra songs, this year I decided to give some newer artists a chance. Only Sam Smith and Michael Buble have that rich, velvety voice that bring good old holiday nostalgia into modern day.
“Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande
Not a lot of recent, original Christmas songs have made it into the holiday canon, which (give or take an “All I Want for Christmas Is You”) seems to be stuck in the 1950s. I don’t know if “Santa Tell Me” is going to make the jump into timelessness, but it’s a pretty killer pop single even without the holiday stuff going for it. Call her a donut-licking, America-hating, Mariah Carey imitator if you want, but Ariana Grande’s songwriters know how to craft a great hook any time of the year.
“Frosty the Snowman” by Fiona Apple
If you’re looking to add some indie cred to your holiday playlist, this acoustic cover is a great pick. Fiona Apple’s soulful voice and her spare guitar arrangement suit the children’s tune perfectly, and she preserves the jaunty spirit of the original song while adding a subtle layer of melancholy.
“All I want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey [Live at the 2014 Rockefeller Center]
This is pretty much guaranteed to get the Christmas laughs rolling, and we all know the holidays are more jolly with laughter. I just… I really don’t know what to say… just watch the video and you’ll know what I mean.
“Sleigh Ride” by TLC
I like this one because they are one of my favorite girl groups, and I listen to the song even when it isn’t holiday season.
“Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt
This song makes me want to be Santa…aha ha…
It’s great song to listen to while sipping delicious hot cocoa and eating some piping hot chestnuts.
“Do you hear what I hear” by Destiny’s Child
Listening to Kelly Rolland’s underappreciated vocals as you take the ginger snaps [insert any cultural cookie or biscuit here] out of the oven and pour a glass full the Nog.