My holiday playlist

And now, a post completely unrelated to horse racing . . .

Over the years, I’ve crafted a holiday playlist I’m proud of and enjoy immensely. Here are some of my seasonal favorites, presented in a very loose ranking but definitely with the choicest songs towards the top.

Enjoy with this poinsettia (an Emeril Lagasse recipe). Ditch the ice and the orange peel and garnish instead with a sprig of rosemary and fresh cranberries. 


Christmas is the Time to Say “I Love You”—Billy Squier

This may be my #1 . . . or it may be tied with the next masterpiece . . . 

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Fairytale of New York—The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl

An amazing piece of writing that will Rip. Your. Heart. Out. Okay--here's racing tie-in after all. If I Should Fall From Grace with God also features one of the coolest songs about racing ever: Bottle of Smoke.


Thank God It’s Christmas—Queen

Seems especially poignant for 2016. 


Merry Christmas from the Family—Robert Earl Keen

This MUST be the Robert Earl Keen version. He wrote it. Do not mess with the Montgomery Gentry version. 

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Christmas Tree—Lady Gaga (featuring Space Cowboy)

I run to hit the skip button when my parents are in the room, and I thought it was totally inappropriate when the junior high cheerleaders danced to just the instrumental intro, but I can’t help loving this tune. 

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All I Want for Christmas is You—Mariah Carey

With changing phones and technology, I bought this ringtone to use for my husband’s calls at least five different times. And it evokes one of the best scenes in my favorite Christmas movie Love Actually. Speaking of Love Actually . . .

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Christmas is All Around—Bill Nighy

Throwing it back to the old school method of purchasing music—I had to buy the entire Love Actually soundtrack for this one song. In 2015. 

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Song for a Winter’s Night—Sarah McLachlan

Another heartbreaker. And if you need Sarah to break your heart some more . . .

River—Sarah McLachlan

I hope you skated away to a happier place, Sarah.

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Little Drummer Boy—Bright Eyes

I purchased A Christmas Album before I was fully immersed in the digital age, and the CD was a little hard to come by. I have enjoyed the fruits of this effort. 

Adam: Cantique De Noel, “O Holy Night”—Luciano Pavarotti

This might be the most beautiful piece on the playlist. 

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Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)—Amy Grant

My stepdaughter sang this at Searcy First United Methodist Church during advent one year.

Carolina Christmas—Squirrel Nut Zippers

I was introduced to the Squirrel Nut Zippers when I learned they played Bill Clinton’s second inaugural ball. Christmas Caravan is a delightful album, and this is one of my favorite tracks. 

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Christmas Song—Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds

I’ve loved Dave since college. Of course this song is on this list. 


Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)—U2

Bono belts out a strong chorus. 

Christmas Canon—Trans-Siberian Orchestra

We went to a TSO holiday show once, and it was an enjoyable one-time experience. However, they are on the playlist every year. 

Hallelujah Chorus—Handel

This portion of The Messiah is not about Christ’s birth, but we can pretend we don’t know that.  

Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy—Bing Crosby and David Bowie

Try to find a version without Crosby and Bowie’s long convo. More from Bing . . . 

Mele Kalikimaka—Bing Crosby

How much fun is this? 

O Tannenbaum—The Vince Guaraldi Trio

Yes, this is the jazzy version from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. 

The Chipmunk Song—The Chipmunks

Yes, it’s silly, but in my experience it IS a crowd-pleaser. 

Last Christmas—Wham!

A song about the most treacherous of days, December 26.  Yes, I know this is a guilty pleasure. 

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Auld Lang Syne—Pink Martini

This is the final track on the Christmas album Joy to the World. I listed this song last ONLY because this is a NYE song, but the whole album is pretty stellar. 

And finally, fare that is pretty standard but solid:

  • Blue Christmas—Elvis Presley
  • Santa Baby—Eartha Kitta
  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside—Dean Martin
  • Happy Xmas (War is Over)—John Lennon
  • Please Come Home for Christmas—The Eagles
  • Wonderful Christmastime—Paul McCartney

What have I missed? Let me know in the comments!