holiday music graphic

Thanksgiving is over and the holidays have begun, bringing together bright lights and celebrations amidst winter cheer. From decorating the Christmas tree to playing dreidel or cooking up a delicious Kwanzaa spread, music is the perfect background to any holiday activity. Whether you have a dedicated playlist or you just listen to the classics, we’ve got you covered when it comes to holiday music. 

Myra Bari, Assistant Culture Editor: 

Song: Lights On by Tyler, the Creator, Ryan Beatty and Santigold

After contributing two songs to “The Grinch” soundtrack in 2018, Tyler, the Creator created a six-track roughly 10-minute EP inspired by the film. The EP is unmistakably Christmas music and yet, the album is still Tyler when it comes to the ingenious harmonies and arrangements. My personal favorite on the EP is “Lights On,” simply because of Ryan Beatty’s soft vocals and Santigold’s catchy hook. “Lights On” doesn’t push boundaries, nor does it sound any different from the sound cultivated on “Flower Boy,” but it is nostalgic in the best way. 

Wade Bowman, Assistant Sports Editor:

Song: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love

There’s plenty of great Christmas classics to pick from when it comes to finding the perfect holiday song, but for me, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)'' takes the cake. The upbeat tempo is a nice change of pace from many other popular Christmas tunes, especially ones from a similar time period with many other holiday classics from the 1960s sounding somewhat outdated. This song never fails to put me in the holiday spirit every year around this time.

Bryan Pyrtle, Assistant Sports Editor:

Song: Auld Lang Syne by Guy Lombardo

After the Grinch has carved the roast beef and the presents have all been opened, one winter holiday remains: New Year's Eve. Even though Christmas songs get all the clout and air time, “Auld Lang Syne” is perfect for welcoming a new year with new beginnings and aspirations. Featuring nifty Gaelic-inspired lyrics and a catchy melody, this certified hood classic reigns supreme as the definitive New Year's Eve anthem.

So should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind, let's raise a cup of kindness yet to Auld Lang Syne.

Ann Salman, Design Editor:

Song: Baby It’s Cold Outside ​​by Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé

I love a good duet, and this one is top of the list for me. The back and forth cheeky flirting is really cute to me, and it’s my favorite part in the movie “Elf.” It’s also just a song my mom always referenced when I was growing up so I can’t help but think of her. Though the song isn’t explicitly a Christmas tune, it gets me in that comfy cozy winter spirit. 

Avery Davis, News Editor:

Song: Christmas Tree Farm by Taylor Swift

This is THE quintessential Christmas song. The beautiful violins open up the track then transition into jingle bells giving it that classic Christmas feel. The lyrics encapsulate holiday cheer talking about shopping traffic, apple cider and mistletoe. This song is also incredibly romantic and even though some of us will be single for Christmas (#rip </3), this song will make you feel like you have a significant other to keep you warm.

Mollie Mitchell, Photo Editor:

Song: Mistletoe by Justin Bieber

You can never go wrong with Justin Bieber, especially Bieber at Christmastime. Every single year I listen to “Mistletoe,” and it gives me so much serotonin. This song is the definition of a cheesy romantic song that is Bieber at his best. “Mistletoe” should be the number one song on everyone’s holiday playlist. 

Chloe Allen, Video Editor:

Song: Holly Jolly Christmas by Scotty McCreery

There are so many amazing Christmas songs, but “Holly Jolly Christmas” always seems to add a special sparkle to the most festive time of year. It’s a classic that brings about a very happy, content vibe. As a true Garner native, I am a huge fan of Scotty McCreery, so that’s part of why I prefer his performance of the song. However, I also do think his voice is very well-suited to the song. McCreery’s version of this song stays true to the song’s classic original version while adding a bit of country and a newer, younger voice. I’d recommend this to anyone who is looking for a fresh take of this song that doesn’t drastically change the basics of the sound.

Tristan Tucker, Managing Editor:

Song: Christmas All Over Again by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

When I was a kid, my mom would always play the “A Very Special Christmas” compilation albums to get us in a festive mood. “Christmas All Over Again” was the opening track for the second such collab album, and the memories are immaculate. Add in the fact that Tom Petty is one of my favorite artists of all time, and you have a certified Christmas banger.

Elle Bonet, Assistant Video Editor:

Song: This Christmas by Curt Smith

Growing up, one of my favorite television shows was called Psych. It was about a private detective who pretended to be a psychic and in one of the show’s Christmas episodes, an original track by Curt Smith of Tears For Fears scores the end credits. The song is called “This Is Christmas” and is only available through youtube or soundcloud. Starting off as a barebones tune with just guitar and vocals, the track slowly adds more and more subtle elements to the instrumental until it reaches its chorus. The chorus section lasts to the end of the song, featuring a much grander instrumental as well as vocals from Smith’s children. I’m a little self conscious that I like this song as much as I do but it brings good memories.

Caryl Espinoza Jaen, Managing Editor:

Song: Sadistic Xmas by Keiichi Okabe

As Technician’s resident DJ and most insufferable gamer, I just have to recommend this holiday techno remix from the Tekken Tag Tournament 2 soundtrack. That’s all. 

Sam Overton, Culture Editor:

Song: If We Make It Through December by Phoebe Bridgers

Sad girl winter is officially here, and Phoebe Bridgers’ cover of “If We Make It Through December” is the perfect blend of depression and nostalgia. If you’re driving around your tiny hometown with the windows down in 35-degree weather, this song is for you. Drive safe and don’t forget to take your SSRI’s.

Jaylan Harrington, Editor-in-Chief:

Song: All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey

I cannot believe no one else has brought up the one song which is ubiquitous with Christmas — it’s anti-Black AND racist, if you ask me. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is by far the greatest holiday song in American culture, so it’s good that we end this list with the one song December can’t do without. With catchy lyrics and Carey’s top-tier vocal ability, no holiday playlist is complete without this track.