I’ve been very carefully building a Christmas playlist for the past few years. I only add one song a year, and I only listen to the songs on the list between Thanksgiving and the Epiphany. There are now eight songs on the list.
- The Fairytale of New York by The Pogues
- Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley
- *New: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland*
- Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! by Dean Martin
- Baby It’s Cold Outside by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan
- Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy by David Bowie & Bing Crosby
- Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade
- *New: Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon*
Bending my “only one new song a year” rule slightly, I’m substituting Judy Garland for Blink-182, and adding John Lennon. I like Blink-182’s I Won’t Be Home for Christmas, but I felt like the list needed more classic songs on it and that the punk song was moving too much to being a list of alternative Christmas songs, rather than just really good Christmas songs that I like, which is my goal. I chose Judy Garland instead of Frank Sinatra for Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas because I prefer the slightly bleaker lyrics which fit in better with the first two songs. (Both versions are good though.)
I’ve moved the order of a few songs around to give it a better flow. The first few songs are darker, and the lists gets lighter as it goes, ending with children cheering at the finale of Happy Xmas. Let It Snow! is the most saccharine of the lot, especially compared to Hallelujah, but I think it works in the middle of the list, and it makes a nice narrative to follow that with Baby It’s Cold Outside.
A final note: I’m always happy to take suggestions for next year’s list.