When it comes to holiday music, I’m a stubborn devotee to the classics. Out of the thousands of renditions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” to me there’s none better than Judy Garland’s original. The strings and her effortless vibrato instantly transport you in front of a fire, surrounded by family and friends.
The beauty of these classics is that no matter how old you are, you grew up listening to them over the holidays. They’re the soundtrack to classic holiday movies: Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run” always reminds me of the family running through the airport in Home Alone and the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” reminds me of the final scene of Love Actually.
Of course, there are some modern versions of holiday songs that have become classics themselves. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” may be the most popular, but my personal favorite is her “O Holy Night,” which makes you realize the power of both the song and her vocals.
And once in a blue moon, someone manages to do a fresh take on a classic that is even better than the original. I once watched a modern ballet group dance to a curiously jazzy version of “Frosty the Snowman” by Zee Avi. After I went home, I immediately pulled up the track and listened to it on repeat. Since then, this ukulele acoustic rendition of Frosty has been on my holiday playlist alongside Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole.
Though the holidays may look different this year, I hope the songs on this playlist get you in the spirit and bring you back to simpler times.
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