The Quintessential Christmas Playlist

Our unscientific top-ten list of the best Christmas songs ever!

Christmas is coming--a time for holiday get-togethers filled, Christmas cookies, candy canes, spiked eggnog and lots of laughter. If you're hosting a party this year, you will also need the quintessential Christmas playlist.

Wondering what songs to include? Don't worry: we have assembled the quintessential Christmas songs playlist, to put everyone in the spirit of this joyous holiday.

There’s a mix of soul, classical and even blues tunes in there to meet everyone's musical tastes.

10. It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas, Perry Como— Does this not remind you of shopping in a department store during Christmas? You remember those days, making your way inside of Macy’s from a fresh blizzard only to meet a flurry of people inside the store doing their last minute shopping. Perry Como’s voice on this song truly is quintessential Christmas.

9. Handel’s Messiah, Robert Shaw, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir— The lush blend of melodies on this song are enough to give you chills. The repetitive chorus of “Hallelujah” (Praise God!) is so rousing, it reminds us all of the true point of Christmas.

8. Let it Snow, Boys II Men— Ah, the 90s… Boys II Men hit a high note with this Christmas album, and this song became an instant hit! Not only did it make snow seem sexy, it inspired you to whip up some hot chocolate, grab a warm blanket and settle in close with the one you loved most.

7. Christmas Time is Here, Vince Guaraldi Trio— This song undoubtedly will evoke memories of watching “Charlie Brown’s Christmas." Poor Charlie Brown: Despite the jokes and laughter of his friends, he love his skinny, bare Christmas tree. This theme song, played beautifully by a single piano and one drum, always brought you back to the original feeling of love, closeness and the importance of caring for all living things.

6. All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey— Since its release in the early 90s, Mariah Carey's Christmas album remains one of the biggest-selling Christmas compilations of all time. And this song is one of the most popular off of that album. Love her or hate her, Mariah Carey and her rendition of this song has become an irrevocable part of Christmas for the last two decades.

5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, The Jackson Five— This has got to be one of radio’s favorite fun tunes for Christmas. I don’t recall a single Christmas when this song wasn’t played ad nauseum. Yet every time, you managed to smile from ear to ear! R.I.P. Michael, you gave us countless gems, and this is certainly one of them!

4. Silver Bells, Johnny Mathis with Percy Faith— Johnny Mathis’s Christmas album is another true gem. Actually, it was a toss up between this version of "Silver Bells" and Bing Crosby's rendition, which is also an indisputable classic.

3. The Nutcracker Suite: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky— Really, this entire album is a living classic, and this song is the definition of Christmas music. You never really slept on Christmas Eve… you just sort of tiptoed through an artificial dream state as you waited for the moment to open your presents. “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” defines that delicate and excitable moment.

2. This Christmas, Donny Hathaway— You hear it at every party, on every radio station and in every mall during this holiday. I even heard this song playing in an outdoor courtyard in Florence, Italy one Christmas. You can be in the sourest of moods, but when “This Christmas” plays, it is guaranteed to lift your spirits every time! 

1. The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole— All I can say is, this album is the classic of all classics. From the violin intro before Nat even utters the first words, the feeling of Christmas has filled the room. Even if you've never had a chestnut roasted on an open fire, you trust it's something really good, simply because Nat said so!


Honorable Mention:

White Christmas, Otis Redding— If you have not heard this version of “White Christmas," get ready to jettison any old versions, as this rendition will tug on your heartstrings like never before.

owen joyner December 23, 2012 at 06:06 PM
boy - are you a troublemaker - i wont take the bait except to say that the list shouldnt include anything written or recorded after about 1960


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