The holidays are coming, and there’s nothing any of us can do to stop them. But instead of dwelling on the stress or the shopping or the budget (though, in all fairness, you should probably abide by it), bask in the warm, festive glow of our holiday playlist. Now, when you write those cards or bake those cookies or sit in traffic coming out of the mall, you can have a soundtrack. And while you may roll your eyes at the music now, ONE DAY it’ll be the perfect treat.
1. Mariah Carey, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”
Well, obviously. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a throwback to vintage Mariah — or the memory of that scene in “Love, Actually.” Just remember where you were when you realized the little boy who played the drums is now 20 years old.
2. Justin Bieber, “Under The Mistletoe”
Call it a new classic, or just an adult woman falling under the spell of a certain J Bieber (hi). Either way, it IS the most wonderful time of the year, and it got even better thanks to Biebs and his penchant for pop.
3. Michael Buble, “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”
Listen. You can’t go wrong with Michael Buble, regardless of whether various friends have told you that you’re turning into your mother. So what! Who cares! If he can duet with Jon Hamm on “SNL,” he can serenade us come Christmas, too.
4. Hanson, “Merry Christmas, Baby”
It’s a wayback playback! And while we’d like to deny that we all once owned the complete Hanson discography (though why would anybody deny that) (seriously), the holidays are no time to feel shame. Team Taylor for life.
5. N*SYNC, “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays”
And to keep the pop nostalgia going, enter: the album we once owned and still own today (though perhaps digitally). Think of it as a Christmas gift from Justin Timberlake to us, since he seems so hell bent on never giving us music again.
6. Run DMC, “Christmas In Hollis”
And while some of us (hi again) were forced to listen to this song several times a day for two months during eight hour retail shifts five times a week, there’s still something to be said for one of the most original Christmas songs in pop culture. Bonus points — or presents! — if you can rap all the words.
7. The Pogues, “Fairytale In New York”
Provided you don’t mind curse words or general offensiveness, The Pogues’ tribute to Christmas is perfect for anyone with a tumultuous family. And if you’re not? It’s still a classic (and perhaps my personal fave).
8. Summer Camp, “Christmas Wrapping”
And here’s a new(ish) one for the books. Written and performed by the fantastic British pop duo, Summer Camp, the original “Christmas Wrapping” is given a bit of a makeover, retaining its original magic, but now more “put on at your party”-appropriate.
9. Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler, “Marshmallow World”
Just listing the tracks of a full Christmas album defeats the purpose of a playlist, so if you have to choose only ONE Emmy The Great/Tim Wheeler jam, opt for “Marshmallow World” 2.0. Or go old school for “Christmas Moon,” where you’ll find yourself trying to sing along despite none of us (me) (hi) being able to.
10. The Ramones, “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight)”
Christmas is probably the least punk rock thing in the world, but that didn’t stop The Ramones from recording this little ditty for the holiday rush. At the very least, use it to power through the malls when crossing names off your shopping list. (Or justify buying a leather jacket.)