By Emily Hanson | | Layout Assistant
It’s terrible that finals season and the beginning of the true Christmas season fall at the same time. We need something to relieve our stress, send us home as the semester ends, and generally get everyone in high spirits, and what better way to do that than with holiday music? I’ve chosen a song a day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas Eve, starting on December 13 (and don’t worry, they’re not in order of preference!). I hope you enjoy my picks, and Merry Christmas!
December 13: It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Michael Bublé
We have to start with the perfect song from one of the best Christmas artists, Michael Bublé, to kick off the holiday celebration. His album has been a staple in December since it came out in 2011, and “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” encompasses everything that makes the holiday season bright.
December 14: Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
The next song is an absolute classic—“Santa Baby,” in its original version sung by Eartha Kitt. A lot of artists have covered this since its release in 1953 (including an iconic rendition by Madonna in 1987), but the slow throwback is definitely the go-to option. It’s absolutely perfect for nostalgia right at the beginning of your Christmas listening.
December 15: You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch – Thurl Ravenscroft
Another incredible way to spend the holidays is with many movie binges, and the top of everyone’s list should be How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (the original special, from 1966) where this song derives. The singer is Thurl Ravenscroft, whose funny rendition and well-known deep voice push “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” to number three.
December 16: Mele Kalikimaka – Ingrid Michaelson, Allie Moss, Bess Rogers
Too many of these songs have been slow, so let’s kick it up a notch with “Mele Kalikimaka” from Ingrid Michaelson’s 2021 Christmas album. She confessed to loving Christmas in an interview with Apple Music, and the spirit comes across here, alongside Allie Moss and Bess Rogers. This tropical Hawaiian Christmas song provides incredible vibes for stress-free relaxation.
December 17: Winter Wonderland – Brad Paisley
This pick might be controversial, but it can’t be Christmas without a little bit of country, and the perfect artist is Brad Paisley. “Winter Wonderland” was released with eleven other Christmas tracks on “Brad Paisley Christmas” in 2011. This version puts a twist on the classic song, with instrumental breaks and some slight lyric changes.
December 18: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Jackson 5
I had to go back to classics for pick number six—halfway done! I’ve seen this rendition on every Christmas playlist for years, but rightfully so. The Jackson 5 “Christmas Album,” released in 1970, never fails to bring holiday cheer, and Michael Jackson’s voice makes “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” hilarious and so fun when singing along.
December 19: The Christmas Can-Can – Straight No Chaser
Straight No Chaser is an a capella group most known around Christmastime for their hit twist on “The 12 Days of Christmas,” but their 2009 “Christmas Cheers” album also features the criminally underrated “The Christmas Can-Can” perfect to remind your friends and family of why they shouldn’t play Christmas songs before Halloween, and to appreciate Hanukkah just a little bit (and Kwanzaa, of course!).
December 20: Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry
Throwing in another classic with what might be the most enjoyable, upbeat song on the list. Chuck Berry defined the 80s, even in Christmas music. “Run Rudolph Run” is another that has been redone over the years after 1986, most notably by Kelly Clarkson, but this original has guitar solos that get everybody dancing and playing air guitar each time it comes on.
December 21: Santa, Can’t You Hear Me – Kelly Clarkson, Ariana Grande
Kelly Clarkson earns her own spot, number nine, with this beautiful original she wrote herself for her 15-track Christmas album that dropped in 2021. It features Ariana Grande, and their vocals are so amazing together! Their friendship has also been amazing to see this year, particularly as judges on the singing reality show The Voice.
December 22: Last Christmas – Taylor Swift
We’ve all seen the Taylor Swift buzz lately with her re-recorded Red album, so it’s a perfect time to return to her holiday EP, “The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection,” from 2007. In “Last Christmas,” Taylor’s country side shines, and her youthful voice takes this well known Wham! song in a new direction (besides, you can’t lose Whamageddon with a cover!).
December 23: Feliz Navidad – José Feliciano
One final classic Christmas tune to round our list out is “Feliz Navidad.” José Feliciano released his Christmas album entitled “Feliz Navidad” in 1970, and every radio station plays it twice an hour in December, but you can’t help but dance to it. Not only is the song bilingual, but its arrangement is a great change of pace before the finale.
December 24: All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
Ah, yes, every Christmas lover will perk up with the opening notes of “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” wherever they may hear it. So it’s perfect for the last day before Christmas, to get you in the mood and dance your pants off. Mariah Carey’s “Merry Christmas” album dropped in 1994, and this one jumps to the top of the charts every year.
If you’re interested, I’ve compiled this list into a Spotify playlist you can find here! Good luck with finals, have fun, and merry listening!
First-year Emily Hanson is a Layout Assistant. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.