The Christmas Music Guide for the Successful Playlister

13 Dec

It’s Christmastime.

There’s no getting around it now. Gone are the voices of the men and women who cry, “Christmas comes earlier every year!” They have been replaced by the voices of the Salvation Army Santas, of joyful children and their 100-percent-over-it parents, and, of course, the voices of those on the radio, turning out those same Christmas songs you’ve been listening to annually for the past nine hundred years.

Merry Christmas!

This is my favorite holiday, and as such as it is the celebration of our Savior’s birth, the only time I can wear red and green together, and in this year’s case, a farewell to the Eleventh Doctor, I think it deserves proper treatment.

This includes proper music.

It’s quite likely that at some point in your life, if not this very year, you’ve endeavored to put together a Christmas playlist, be it for your holiday dinner, for driving in the car, or for stringing up lights. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of songs and some well-known(ish) facts about them to help you decide:

Is this song right for my Christmas playlist?

  • Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

This one could be tricky. How far into the Christmas season is it? If it is late December, chances are good that this song has been played enough times to make its listeners briefly consider verbally abusing whoever is responsible for the song being played. On the other hand, it is so traditional at this point that you will be safe if you put it on a playlist. Just once or twice, though, unless hostility is what you’re going for.

  • Santa Baby

Santa Baby is like the Donna Noble of Christmas music. By and large, you either hate it or love it. Unlike Donna Noble, however, this song is absolute trash (especially the later you go into December) and should only be played if you plan to make fun of it mercilessly.

  • Ave Maria

Good choice, especially if you’re holding a Christmas-themed tea party for dignified lords and ladies. No one really dislikes this song, and if performed by the right artist (Josh Groban), can get just about everyone in the festive mood to close their eyes and sway.

  • Christmas Shoes


  • Let It Snow

Classic. Go ahead and put that one near the top of your playlist, to make sure everyone listening is aware that the weather outside is, indeed, frightful (It doesn’t matter if it’s cold or not where you are – it’s the mindset that counts). It is also such an easy song to quote or put other lyrics to that parody opportunities are limitless. If you have cheeky old man relatives who think they’re cute when they say “The weather outside is delightful/but the Christmas dinner is frightful” or something like that, then this song is even more perfect for your needs.

  • Anything Sung by Chipmunks

If you are between the ages of three and nine, then sure, go all out.

  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Dangerous ground, my friend. There have been countless renditions of this bad boy of a Christmas carol, and it’s safe to say that about ninety-seven percent of them are sung by eighty-year-old men and their nineteen-year-old gold-digger girlfriends. If you can find a truly well-done version, then absolutely put it on your playlist. It’s way too fun to sing along to to be completely excluded. However, if you cannot find a decent version and you’re thinking about settling for one of the more legitimately worrying ones, I advise you not to unless your company has a good sense of humor and/or gold-digger girlfriends.

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Of course! Do you like Christmas spirit (with a twinge of bullying and conditional friendship squeezed in)? Go for it.

Christmas only comes once a year, you guys, so make sure to flavor it with proper tunage. Good luck on your playlisting.

What Christmas songs are your favorite?


11 Responses to “The Christmas Music Guide for the Successful Playlister”

  1. HBubbles December 13, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    I, of course, have a penchant for the old classic carols, and Pentatonix does an excellent album remix of those. Toby Mac’s “The First Noel” is an absolute favorite. Honestly. Listen. It’s amazing — and the album it comes off of is fabulous as well. Hurm… Being in a choir, I’m familiar with a bevy of old carols, and I discovered “Hush My Babe” this year and “Coventry Carol” last year. Definitely gorgeous.
    But of course, anything sung by Josh Groban that is vaguely Christmas is a go. Always.

    M’kay, also, thank you for agreeing with me that “Christmas Shoes” is ridiculous and cheesy and an absolute no. Many of my friends were talking about it earlier this week and how it makes them cry and it’s a favorite and blah blah blah. I restrained myself from throwing Legos at them and instead bowed out of the conversation.
    *Bob Smiley voice* ‘Cause I’m a Christian!

    Off to create another playlist using your suggestions! Merry Christmas!

    • Emory December 13, 2013 at 9:44 am #

      *Gasp* The TMac First Noel! I totally forgot about that song! I listened to it like seventy-nine times last year, I love it! What excellent taste you have there! Thank you for reminding me to listen to it seventy-nine more times! 😀
      And Christmas Shoes a favorite? Oh dear. However, I shan’t judge you friends (Because I’m a Christian!). I will, however, shake my head slowly. Good job not throwing legos. It certainly can be tempting at times. A couple weeks ago one of our worship artists actually SUNG that song in CHURCH. My sister had to get up and leave the auditorium for a couple minutes.
      Merry Christmas to you as well, my love!

  2. Merrilee G Lewis December 13, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    Love this!!

    • Emory December 13, 2013 at 10:03 am #

      D’awww thanks, love you!

  3. Shahrazad December 13, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Why is it that there is so much Christmas music that is simply terrible? It is the time of year when one hears bells on the radio and everyone starts shouting, “Change the station! Change the station! CHANGE IT!”

    I will admit that I love Jars of Clay’s Christmas album. And Relient K’s rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas is particurally spectacular.

    I have never heard Christmas Shoes. I want to go against all advise and logic and see if it’s as bad as you say.

    • Emory December 13, 2013 at 10:02 am #

      Christmas music can really be horrific. Relient K’s 12 days of Christmas is right up there in my favorites, though, as is Toby Mac’s First Noel and Hawk Nelson’s Alleluia.
      If you decide to venture into the deep, dark world of Christmas shoes, then
      A) don’t.
      B) really don’t.
      C) you should read the post I linked under Christmas Shoes.

      • HBubbles December 13, 2013 at 11:18 am #


  4. Kire December 15, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    This year, I actually really like “Listen! They’re Singing!” by Evan Wickham and “Awaited King” by Harvest Worship. Not traditional but hey! Good stuff. 🙂 Also, your “Santa Baby” blurp made me laugh. And I am very much a Donna Lover though a Santa Baby Hater… … I think that works… Right?

    • Emory December 15, 2013 at 11:57 am #

      I absolutely think that works, as I am the same way. Great minds, love!

  5. thispersonisfabulous December 18, 2013 at 3:16 am #

    Ah, references, gotta love them. Funnily enough, I hate the ‘Santa Baby’ song, but think Donna Noble is awesome, although a little annoying at times..

    • Emory December 18, 2013 at 8:59 am #

      Ah yay, I love Donna Noble as well! I was nervous I would offend more people by insulting Santa Baby, but apparently more people have good taste than I was afraid of. 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog space!

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