With the holidays upon us, Christmas music is truly inescapable! Whether we’re wrapping gifts or baking up a sugar cookie storm, classic yuletide anthems are the perfect addition to our festive callings, balancing timelessness and nostalgia.
To get you in the festive mood and bask in all the warmth the holiday season brings, our staff shares some of their favorite Christmas songs from artists new and old.
Jackson Five – “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
Chris Hill: I grew up with so many that it’s pretty hard to pin down just one. Growing up, my mom would play things like Mariah Carey’s Christmas album and Motown Christmas classics while we put up the tree or ate breakfast Christmas morning. However, I’d say that the Jackson 5’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” would be my all-time number 1. To me, the song captures the innocence of the holidays for children and reminds me of the fun holiday times growing up. I can’t imagine that version of the song ever getting old and hope it translates a similar meaning to my son one day.
Jack’s Mannequin – “The Lights and Buzz”
Desi Rottman: I wouldn’t be me if my pick for favorite holiday song was anything but a bit contrarian. The song I find myself listening to ad nauseum year over year is Jack’s Mannequin’s “The Lights and Buzz.” Opening with a dreamy, almost jewelry-box piano riff, lead singer Andrew McMahon references his hardest year: coming back home after being diagnosed and treated for leukemia. In “The Lights and Buzz,” he’s honest about the struggles of a winter holiday in an endless summer, recognizes his struggles, and in the end, declares “it’s good to be alive.”
Michael Bublé – Frosty the Snowman
Alex Keobke: Despite numerous fantastic songs, my favorite holiday song is “Frosty The Snowman.” One of the best parts of the holidays is getting to relax at home and watch Christmas specials, so it is only natural that my favorite song comes from my favorite special. There might be other songs like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” that have won people over, but nothing can ever beat the feeling of nostalgia that I get to feel every time I watch the TV special or hear the famous song.
John Lennon – Happy XMas (The War Is Over)
Meg Quinn: For as allergic as I can be to picking favorites this is one that I don’t seem to have a problem with. The first time I heard this song, which has to be over 10 years ago by now, it instantly became my favorite Christmas song and has yet to be kicked off the throne. It’s simplicity in melody is what first drew me to it but as I’ve gotten older and started paying more attention to lyrics, it’s message is what means the most to me now. It embodies what the Christmas season is and, unfortunately, seems as relevant as ever for this year.
The Killers – “Don’t Shoot Me Santa”
Nicole Drum: I generally don’t like Christmas music. I think that this is largely due to a job in high school that started playing Christmas music nonstop in October. Thanks to that experience I find myself more drawn to nontraditional Christmas songs. My favorite is “Don’t Shoot Me Santa” by The Killers. The song is kind of dark (Santa is somewhat homicidal) and the video is really wacky, but I love Brandon Flowers’ voice and I love The Killers so this song really fits the bill.
Elton John – “Step Into Christmas”
Katherine Hernandez: Though I love many traditional Christmas songs, I tend to enjoy specific artist renditions rather than one song more than another. Robert Downey Jr.’s version of “River” gets a lot of play around the holidays, but it’s not my favorite Christmas song, and as much as I love Neil Diamond’s and The Chipmunks’ Christmas albums, none of them get played year round. “Step Into Christmas,” however, is the only Christmas song I’ll listen to during the holiday season or in the middle of summer. Something about it makes me want to get up and dance and sing along and always puts me in a good mood. Whenever it comes on, no matter what time of year it is, I’ll never press skip, which is why it’s my favorite.
Judy Garland – “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
Elizabeth The: To me, the Christmas song that best encapsulates the meaning of the season is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, immortalized by the incredible Judy Garland in the 1944 musical, Meet Me in St. Louis. Simply put, the song bestows wishes of lightness, love, and the togetherness of one’s faithful companions. As one of the most covered songs of all time, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” evokes wistful memories and strong emotion every time it’s sung, making it a universal classic.
Bing Crosby – “White Christmas”
Tania Hussain: “White Christmas” is truly the heart of the holidays. With Bing Crosby’s smooth and velvety tones, I’ve always considered him the voice of Christmas—well, him and Burl Ives. That said, this track is an evergreen classic and by far one of my favorites for curling up in front of the fireplace with hot cocoa and ugly blankets. It’s also one that holds sentimental value to me and definitely a track that warms me each and every year. In a close second of the Crosby catalog, while his 1936 version of “Adeste Fideles” is beautiful and incredibly soothing, it’s one that also makes me cry every year and is worth a listen.
Dez Duron – “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
Andrew Rogers: Anyone who lives away from their loved ones, whether it’s family or a significant other, understands that feeling of coming home. It relieves all of your stress and is a sure-fire way to get into the spirit fast. For this reason, the song is nostalgic and sad but also gives me the warm and fuzzies. One of my favorite versions has to be the one that The Voice‘s Dez Duron just released.
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What is your favorite song for the holidays? Share with us in the comments below.