The holiday season is in full swing and whether you’re hitting stores for last-minute gifts or hanging around home baking cookies, here are 25 songs to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Our Spotify playlist is at the bottom.
1. “What Christmas Means to Me” — Stevie Wonder
A legendary singer brings an absolutely joyful expression of Christmas cheer, with some Motown flair.
2. “El Burrito Sabanero” — Los Niños Cantores de Prado
This is Miami, so no playlist would be complete without this bona fide Spanish-language Christmas banger. Tuki tuki tukituki …
3. “A Christmas Duel” — The Hives and Cyndi Lauper
Not everyone sees the holidays as the most wonderful time of the year. But despite the horrible things this feuding couple have done to each other (Warning: This song, rife with naughty words, is definitely not family-friendly), they still resolve to stick together for Christmas.
4. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” — The Jackson 5
What better way to spoil a childhood Christmas tradition than with a cute song from the Jackson 5?
5. “Back Door Santa” — Clarence Carter
A different kind of Christmas song … definitely more for adults than the kids. A great dose of suggestive yuletide soul.
6. “All I Want for Christmas is a Real Good Tan” — Kenny Chesney
A country star captures what we in Miami take for granted — warm and sunny holidays where we can still hit the beach. Forget the snow and sweaters. We’ve got sand and sunshine.
7. “Christmas Wrapping” — The Waitresses
One of the best examples of dressing up a song with sad lyrics in an upbeat melody. The song is about spending Christmas alone, but you’ll probably still be tapping your foot with a smile.
8. “Christmas in Hollis” — Run-DMC
This track samples Clarence Carter’s funky Christmas song and turns it into the gold standard for holiday hip-hop songs.
9. “Christmas in Harlem” — Kanye West featuring CyHi da Prynce and Teyana Taylor
Takes the formula of Run-DMC’s 1980s hit and takes it to Manhattan for a lighthearted track from the often polarizing rapper.
10. “Ain’t no Chimneys in the Projects” — Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
The late, great singer and her all-star band create a new soulful Christmas standard that plays off older tunes like James Brown’s “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto.”
11. “Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas” — Carla Thomas
A classic party tune that even South Floridians can enjoy if you just replace “by the way it’s snowing” with raining!
12. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” — Darlene Love
A soaring track that showcases Love’s talent and builds to the climactic last note that so many have tried to mimic.
13. “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” — Thurl Ravenscroft
Probably the most disrespectful song ever created about a fictional character but also a landmark song in an iconic movie.
14. “River” — Joni Mitchell
Not a textbook holiday song but Mitchell sets it at Christmastime and offers sympathy to the lonely hearts looking to sail away from the yuletide cheer.
15. “Wizards in Winter” — Trans-Siberian Orchestra
The song was immortalized in a series of Miller Lite commercials in the mid-2000s and is a frantic and energetic song to mix in with the holiday standards.
16. “Christmas Treat” — Julian Casablancas
The singer for the Strokes turned this jokey SNL tune into a pretty legit indie song. Hey, hipsters like the holidays, too.
17. “This Christmas” — Donny Hathaway
Bursting with energy from the first few notes, this song is a celebration of love and an appeal to “shake a hand” and offer a little humanity as you fight for a parking spot at the mall.
18. “Christmas Time is Here (Instrumental or Vocal version)” — Vince Guaraldi Trio
Whatever version you prefer, this holiday standard is comforting and warm even in 80 degree weather.
19. “Run Rudolph Run” — Chuck Berry
We’re not sure if Santa would want to take the freeway down in Miami traffic but this classic track is a rocking take on the tale of Santa’s favorite reindeer.
20. “Silent Night” — The Temptations
The group puts its own Motown style on this holiday standard by allowing multiple members to shine before Melvin Franklin wishes listeners a Merry Christmas with his booming bass voice.
21. “The Christmas Song” — Nat King Cole
Classic. Nothing more to really say about this one. Kids from 1 to 92 can still appreciate it.
22. “All I Want for Christmas is You” — Mariah Carey
This song is only 23 years old but feels like it’s been a Christmas standard for even longer. It’s bright, perfectly poppy and a showcase for Carey’s vocals.
23. “Feliz Navidad” — Jose Feliciano
Another classic and a game changer for Latin artists because of its long-standing crossover appeal.
24. “Merry Christmas Baby” — Otis Redding
When Otis begins to croon about Santa coming down the chimney, you can almost picture yourself in the sleigh. It’s a testament to Redding’s voice that the upbeat horns never overshadow his soulful sound.
25. “What You Want for Christmas” — Quad City DJs ft. The 69 Boyz and K-Nock
Couldn’t make a holiday playlist for South Florida without a little Miami bass. If your Christmas party needs a dance break, here’s your jam.