For those who tire of Mariah Carey and Justin Beiber, this list of 15 offers more classic appeal than your typical Songzaa holiday hits playlist. Not that there's anything wrong with some hits – just save them for the end of the night when sufficient eggnog and rum has been consumed that your classy party veneer has been reduced to a drunken kitchen dance party. This playlist will start the night strong (p.s. scroll to the bottom of the page to stream the full thing!). Strong, and classy.
1. Christmas Swing – Django Reinhardt
There are few occasions that a Django soundtrack doesn't fit. This crackly, bohemian guitar is ideal background music for a grown ass mixer.
2. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
Christmas without Bing? Impossible. The original crooner, this man's voice could soothe even the grinchiest of grinches into a Christmas spirit stupor. On that note, if you haven't seen his duet with David Bowie, watch it now and prepare for your heart to grow ten sizes. Add it to the list.
3. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) – Nat King Cole
This song is like the romantic soundtrack of skating in slow motion with a lover. You, him, and the gently falling snow.
4. Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
Elvis brings some maudlin to the holidays with this slow jam. Ideal for a cookie binge after all your guests have left.
5. Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Nat King Cole
Another classic Nat. This song is perhaps the perfect example of an old fashioned Christmas tune.
6. Walking in the Air – Howard Blake
This haunting title track of the 1982 silent film, The Snowman, is both romantic and disturbing. Ideal, also, for a solitary evening walk in the snow.
7. Sleigh Ride – Ella Fitzgerald
Fun fact: This song was actually composed in the middle of a heatwave in July, 1946. Ella Fitzgerald brings the heat in her swinging 1960 version. Her Christmas album, Ella Wishes you a Swinging Christmas, would add loung-ey appeal to any Christmas party.
Charlie Parker was the founding father of bebop, an icon of the hipster subculture back in the 40's when hipster meant something more along the lines of jazz aficionado. (Now you have a bit of banter to engage the object of your affection over eggnog as this song plays.)
9. Christmas In New Orleans – Louis Armstrong w/ the Benny Carter Orchestra
No jazz-oriented playlist would be complete without some Louis. His gravely tone is a unconventional addition to a Christmas playlist.
10. 'Zat You, Santa Claus? – Louis Armstrong
In this one, Louis Armstrong's basin street croon is sinister, borderline angry. A dramatic track for the end of a fantastic holiday party.