I like Christmas music, I do. Unfortunately the average blather broadcasted over radio waves and in retail establishments from early November through New Year's is mostly pretty terrible. In fact, it has the adverse affect of replacing all would-be merriment with resentment and disdain, souring my affection for the entire musical genre. In an effort to stave off this festering distaste, for the past several years Luke and I have cultivated a highly edited playlist. None of these songs are especially novel and you are probably already familiar with all of them, nevertheless when listened to exclusively they keep me spirited and sane throughout the entirety of the season. Here is an abbreviated assessment of the criteria for their selection:
Songs with kids singing (with the exception of the theme from Home Alone and songs from Charlie Brown's Christmas) are creepy. Songs about children at Christmas time, well that's just cute.
I skipped passed the boy band era as I, raven-haired, was fully entranced in my equally embarrassing emo/pop punk phase. Thus *NSYNC and any of the other teen dreams of yore are out for me.
I hate the idea of listening to any Christmas music from an artist I wouldn't normally listen to (I'm looking at you Colbie Caillat, Celine Dion, or Michael Buble). So this list is comprised primarily of alternative musicians, soul tunes, some folk-country ditties and the addition of a few holiday classics (because I'm not a heartless monster).
The over-abundant use of church bells, jingle bells and chimes are strongly encouraged. French horns and glockenspiels are extra credit.
For the most part, it's pretty hard for a modern rendition to beat an original, so there aren't many Christmas covers on this list. One obvious exception, however, is She and Him's version of The Christmas Waltz - a song so schmaltzy to begin with that the abuntantly amplified level of twee seems only natural.
Over time some songs have appeared only to be swiftly removed after common sense prevails (i.e. Coldplay Christmas Lights, because Coldplay). But these are the ones that consistently remain on the list year after year.