This year, win over every holiday party with the perfect wintry mix of beloved crowd-pleasers and underappreciated gems.
"All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey
We'd be remiss if we didn't put this one right at the front. In fact, this entire playlist would be a complete sham without it. If you're anything like us, there's no limit to how many times you can listen to this jam, or watch the music video, during the holidays. (Young Mariah frolicking on a snowy hill in a sexy Santa Claus outfit? Yes, please.)
"Wonderful Christmastime" by The Shins
The Shins offer up a Beach Boys-esque cover of Paul McCartney's classic holiday hit—but the added electric guitar and synths make it something we'd be OK with listening to year-round.
"The Christmas Waltz" by She & Him
Zooey Deschanel's voice was made for Christmas songs. This was something we all learned when watching Elf for the first time, of course, but this song just reinforces that fact. Warm, smooth, and lovely, this one is best enjoyed while nuzzled next to someone special while sipping a mug of hot cocoa.
"Blue Christmas" by Bright Eyes
Is there anyone more suited to sing a cover of Elvis's "Blue Christmas" than Bright Eyes' Connor Oberst? No, we think not. His signature warbly, maudlin vocals are the perfect modern rendition of what could safely be considered the most emo of all Christmas songs.
"What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" by The Head and the Heart
Trying to figure out how to ask that someone special if they'll be your date on New Year's Eve? Here's an idea: loudly play this song at your holiday party while making meaningful eyes at them from across the room. Trust us on this one.
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Cat Power
Cat Power's rendition of this classic plays like a sweet lullaby. Her dulcet croons sung over piano and a violin make it sound like a private performance. Wouldn't that be the perfect holiday gift?
"Christmastime Is Here" by Au Revoir Simone
Vince Guaraldi's hit, made famous by A Charlie Brown Christmas, is made all the better by Brooklyn trio Au Revoir Simone. Dreamy, sparkling, and wonderfully lethargic, this sounds exactly like how you may feel after a few eggnogs.
"I Wish It Was Christmas Today" by Julian Casablancas
Over sleigh bells, frantic drums, and a chugging guitar that could only belong to him, Julian Casablancas's impatience for December 25th is more than palpable. SNL fans will recognize this cover by The Strokes' front man from the skit with Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan. Those who don't should YouTube it immediately.