By Ayse Hunt
Choosing what music to play when you are trying to please a diverse group of musical tastes can be difficult. Take a look at the songs below for some ideas.
1. “Winter Wonderland”: You may have heard the RHS marching band perform an arrangement of this song earlier this year, but I think Dean Martin’s rendition is worth listening to regardless.
2. “Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy)”: This might be because I’m a total classical music nerd, but I think it’s really fun to listen to Tchaikovsky’s original Nutcracker suite and compare it with Duke Ellington’s jazz Nutcracker and look for similarities. The Sugar Rum Cherry is a fun mix of Tchaikovsky’s original music and Duke Ellington’s jazz.
3. “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)”: It’s sweet, simple and perfect for getting into a sentimental holiday mood. Nat King Cole’s version is my favorite. For any reggae lovers, there is this super cool performance by Gregory Isaacs.
4. “Jingle Bell Rock”: I will forever associate this song with Regina George and the Plastics, but it is pretty catchy in its own right.
5. “Carol of the Bells”: This song is in every car commercial this time of year and it always struck me as a bit overly dramatic. But this video of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing it is worth watching just to see the facial expressions of people ringing all the different bells.
6. “It’s Cold Outside”: There are about a million versions of this song. The Bing Crosby/ Doris Day version is classic, but one of the most interesting covers I’ve seen is this Lady Gaga/Joseph Gordon-Levitt version. Lady Gaga sings part that is traditionally sung by the man. It forces us to take a hard look at the lyrics of this song and their implications about gender.
7. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: This song is so cheery—it’s hard to listen to it and be in a bad mood.
8. “Nutcracker Suite, March”: The entire Tchaikovsky Nutcracker suite is awesome, but this one in particular is one of the most well-known.
10. “Silent Night”: A Christmas carol with a simple but beautiful melody.
11. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”: No list can be complete without some Frank Sinatra. Fun fact–this song was originally from the musical Meet Me in St. Louis, and Frank Sinatra slightly altered the lyrics. Sam Smith’s rendition is a nice update on a classic.
12. “All I Want for Christmas is You”: Mariah Carey’s popular holiday hit never fails to disappoint. I highly recommend watching the official music video for a throwback.
13. “The Hanukkah Song”: Adam Sandler’s musical masterpiece was first performed on SNL, and its light-hearted lyrics and endearing melody are refreshing.
14. “River”: This Joni Mitchell song has a lonesome sound to it and the songwriting is beautiful.
15. “All is Well”: Country fans, rejoice! Carrie Underwood and Michael W. Smith’s duet may have just debuted on the CMA’s Christmas special, but the power vocals and sweet melody are sure to stand the test of time.
17. “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”: This one was my favorite when I was younger—it’s sure to be a hit with kids.
18. “Christmas in Harlem”: I was determined to try to find holiday songs from as many genres as I could, and while finding a rap song proved difficult, but this Kanye West/Cam’ron/Jim Jones collab proved that it can be done successfully.
19. “Santa Claws is Coming to Town”: This Alice Cooper song is much darker than the traditional version of “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”. It’s not quite my cup of tea, but for any metal lovers this song will be much appreciated.
20. “Auld Lang Syne”: This is a song is usually played on New Year’s Eve. I happen to love this version by Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis.