The Best Holiday Songs of All Time

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Jason Speakman/Men’s Health

Because one listen of “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” is too many listens of “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” it’s time to create a tasteful soundtrack with the help of DJ Michael, the music supervisor for Ace Hotels.

This collection of unsung holiday tracks is perfect for putting on in the background of a relaxed (but festive!) party, on a drive over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house, or during those final days of work before a much-needed break.

Although not ever song screams HOLIDAYS, you’ll feel the spirit behind them, one and all.

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1

“Someday at Christmas” by Steve Wonder

Someday at Christmas man will not fail // Hate will be gone love will prevail

2

“Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley

Won’t be the same dear, if you’re not here with me

3

“Snowflake” by Jim Reeves

Ooh, ooh, the change in the weather // Has made it better for me

4

“Imagine” by John Lennon

Imagine no possessions // I wonder if you can

5

“Wild Is the Wind” by Nina Simone

You’re spring to me // All things to me

6

“Self-Portrait in Three Colors” by Charles Mingus

7

“Moonbird” by Roger Webb

(more dreamy jazz with wintry chimes)

8

“Tell Me a Tale” by Michael Kiwanuka

Turn me around so I can be // Everything I was meant to be

9

“Happiness” by Syreeta

My happiness is knowing you are loved

10

“‘S Wonderful” by João Gilberto

Wonderful, marvelous // That you should care for me

11

“Ooo Baby Baby” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

I’m just about at the end of my rope // But I can’t stop trying, I can’t give up hope

12

“Wedding Bell” by Beach House

Oh, but your wish is my command

13

“The Fox in the Snow” by Belle & Sebastian

Don’t let yourself grow hungry now // Don’t let yourself grow cold

14

“Angel in the Snow” by Elliott Smith

I’d say you make a perfect // Angel in the snow

15

“Like Someone In Love” by Chet Baker

Each time I look at you I’m limp as a glove // And feeling like someone in love

16

“Simply Beautiful” by Al Green

You gotta be good to me // I’m gonna be good to you

17

“Baby” by Donnie & Joe Emerson

When we’re out in the moonlight // Looking up on the stars above

18

“This Will Be Our Year” by The Zombies

Now we’re there and we’ve only just begun

19

“Heroes” by David Bowie

We could steal time // Just for one day

20

“Tezeta (Nostalgia)” by Mulatu Astatke

(more smooth sounds of soul-warming jazz)

21

“The Homeless Wanderer” by Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou

22

“Greensleeves” by Vince Guaraldi Trio

23

“My Favorite Things” by John Coltrane

24

“Now My Heart Is Full” by Morrissey

Now my heart is full // Now my heart is full // And I just can’t explain

25

“Remember (Christmas)” by Harry Nilsson

Remember, life is just a memory

26

“Jingle Bells, Pt. 1” by Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth For Christ Choir

One horse open sleigh! // One horse open sleigh!

27

“Stone Soul Christmas” by Binky Griptite

Man, what’s the matter with you? // Don’t you know it’s Christmas?

28

“Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” by James Brown

Leave a toy for Johnny // Leave a doll for Mary // Leave something pretty for Donnie // And don’t forget about Gary

29

“Every Day Is Christmas” by Charles Bradley

Everyone is invited // Come on in and have a good time

30

“I Remember Christmas” by The Stridells

Do you remember your Christmas Day?

31

“Christmas Love” by Rotary Connection

Choir is singing songs of goodwill // Though it’s cold outside, no one feels the chill

32

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love

Pretty lights on the tree // I’m watching them shine // You should be here with me

33

“Please Come Home For Christmas” by Charles Brown

Friends and relations // Send salutations // Sure as the stars shine up above // For this is Christmas

34

“The Tree with the Lights in It” by High Places

A tree inside your eye // A flickering of branches hold your breath and then you sigh

35

“Bells Ring” by Mazzy Star

Bells ring into the night

36

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” by Mason Jennings

37

“Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Neko Case

hey Charley I think I’m happy // for the first time since my accident

38

“Christmas Time Is Here” by Mark Kozelek

Mark, you’re the only person I know who could take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem

39

“Run Run Rudolph” by Cassie Ramone

Santa make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down

40

“Snails Christmas (I Want a New Shell)” by The Snails

41

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Phoebe Bridgers

42

“Big Bag” by Tyler, The Creator

I was wrapping gifts age six with the paper bandanas // Mom was always honest, I ain’t never had a Santa Claus

43

“Christmas in Prison” by Hiss Golden Messenger & Lucinda Williams

It was Christmas in prison // And the food was real good // We had turkey and pistols // Carved out of wood

44

“Just Like Christmas” by Low

On our way from Stockholm // Started to snow // And you said it was like Christmas

45

“Christmas Treat” by Julian Casablancas

All I know is that Santa Claus // Don’t care about breaking or applying laws

46

“Boxing Day Blues” by Courtney Barnett

I love all of your ideas // You love the idea of me

47

“A Change at Christmas (Say It Isn’t So)” by The Flaming Lips

Oh, if I could stop time // It would be a frozen moment just around Christmas

48

“Christmas Island” by Leon Redbone

How’d ya like to stay up late, like the islanders do? // Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe

49

“Christmastime” by The Smashing Pumpkins

I remember dreaming // Wishing, hoping, praying for this day // Now I sit and watch them // The little ones I love

50

“Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas” by Okkervil River

It’s Christmastime and the plane flies me over white hills // To a town in a dream where the sky, it is frozen and still

51

“Christmas in Washington” by Steve Earle

So come back Woody Guthrie // Come back to us now // Tear your eyes from paradise // And rise again somehow

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