A Guide To The Ultimate Christmas Party Playlist // By Abigail Coale
More Christmas parties are just around the corner, and if you haven’t been binging Christmas music since October like me, I’m here to share some advice for your Christmas party playlist. There are two key rules while making your song selections. Firstly, make sure you have the right balance of fast and slow songs. Nobody wants to listen to Silent Night on loop. The magic is in the mix! You’ll also want to combine old and new. Some of the classics can’t be compared with today’s new renditions, and people can be pretty intense with their traditions – especially at Christmas. Just be sure to throw in some Bing Crosby and Andy Williams. The rest of the playlist is up to you, but here are some must-haves to get you started.
Deck the Halls – Mannheim Steamroller
I am immediately brought back to my childhood when I hear this song. Their entire Christmas album is phenomenal if you’re into instrumental music. Their version of “Carol of the Bells” is also sure to please.
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Dean Martin
Good ol’ Dean. A classic crooner with a classic song. How can you go wrong?
God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen – Bare Naked Ladies
I often wish there were a karaoke version of this song, as it’s one of the only versions I can tolerate. Sarah McLachlan adds her vocal talents to the track, as well.
Carol of the Bells – Trans Siberian Orchestra
With maybe one of the most recognizable instrumental pieces, TSO never disappoints (and they’re even better live!). If you’ve ever seen videos of music-synced Christmas lights, this song was probably the inspiration. Their “Christmas Canon” is also a classic, riffed off of the traditional Pachelbel’s Canon.
Sleigh Ride – Ella Fitzgerald
This is probably my favorite version of this song, and every time I hear it I think of Elf – which is certainly not a bad thing. It also makes a great December alarm tone.
You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Thurl Ravenscroft
This one should be obvious. Everyone struggles to remember what verse goes where, and though it’s a song about a particularly horrible green being, it still has this weird overpowering fun quality.
Santa Clause is Coming to Town – Michael Bublé
A perfect example of a modern twist, Michael Bublé’s entire Christmas album is flawless, but this song is one of my favorites. With a nod to old crooners like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, Bublé’s version of this song is complete with a jazzy rhythm and brass instruments. Talk about a classy Christmas!
O Holy Night – Josh Groban
It’s time to slow things down. And what better way to do that than with Josh Groban? This song is essential to Christmas, and Groban does it best. Just allow yourself to get lost in his rich vocals… (Tied is his song “Believe” from The Polar Express.)
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
Even if you think you’ve never heard this song, you probably have. I didn’t even know the title of this song until I did my research. This is on my list of songs to learn all the lyrics to. This is a faster-paced, toe-tapping song for your guests.
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
And only Brenda Lee! The original from the 50s! Almost everyone knows the lyrics to this one, and it’s another song that will get your guests moving. Let Brenda serenade you as you conga line around the tree.
Little Saint Nick – The Beach Boys
Add some beachy vibes to the party with this Beach Boys classic. Also a favorite is “The Man With All the Toys.”
I’ll Be Home – Meghan Trainor
I love all of the Home for the Holidays/I’ll Be Home For Christmas songs, and Trainor puts a nice spin on the traditional. A Christmasy romantic ballad from Meghan Trainor. What more could you ask for?
Linus & Lucy – Vince Guaraldi Trio (A Charlie Brown Christmas)
An absolute classic from A Charlie Brown Christmas, Linus and Lucy (along with literally any other song from this soundtrack) is a perfect, recognizable instrumental piece for your playlist.
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Pentatonix
This is another great instrumental song. I’m biased because I’m a little obsessed with Pentatonix, but you might as well put Pentatonix’s entire Christmas album on your playlist. Both of them, in fact. “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” “White Winter Hymnal,” and “That’s Christmas To Me” also come highly recommended.
12 Days of Christmas – Straight No Chaser
Following the a capella trend is perhaps my favorite song. They also have great originals such as “Christmas Can Can” and “Nutcracker.” This medley of Christmas favorites (and a nod to Toto’s “Africa”) will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit and give your guests a good laugh.
Enjoy your cookies and eggnog, and a happy new year!