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The Acceptable Christmas Song Playlist

Christmas is awesome. It's legitimately the best time of year, and is the one time of year that your dear columnist is mildly happy.

Everything about Christmas rules, but people need a little help with the music. Frankly, much of it is unlistenable. This wouldn't be a problem, except that you people play Christmas music for an absurd amount of time. You need to wait until at least December 1, you heathens. Anyway, here is a list of proper Christmas music which will help you celebrate in style. We could have done an entire list of Crosby or Cole, but we're trying to limit it to one per artist here. 1. "Adeste Fideles" - Bing Crosby

This record has been a staple of Christmas forever (your dear columnist even had it on cassette tape) and is the best version of "All Come All Ye Faithful" there is, bar none; it may in fact, be the greatest Christmas song ever.

2. "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" - Nat King Cole

This is the best version of a Christmas staple. Too many versions go way over the top and become unlistenable. The greatest Christmas song singer hits this song in under two minutes, which is what you really want.

3. "The Holly and the Ivy" - The Mediaeval Baebes

These chicks are probably awful libs, but their version of this underrated carol is top-top. This is a really old carol, and it's much more traditional than some of the insufferable music we subject our dogged retail stockers to. (Your dear columnist has a particular PTSD-esq relationship with Mariah Carey.)

4. "O Tannenbaum" - Cyrus Chestnut

This song works so much better as a jazz standard than a classical piece, that it's hard to even really call the two the same song, despite their obviously similar tune. Cyrus Chestnut actually did an entire album of Christmas much that is worth checking out.

5. "We Three Kings" - St. Paul's Cathedral Choir

This might be this author's favorite carol. Did you know it has four verses? Neither does anyone else who doesn't go to church on Epiphany Sunday. And what a shame, because this is song is just Christmas enough to be awesome, and just dark enough to remind us that we'll be destroyed if we forget the real meaning of Christmas. It's perfect. <3.

6. "Christmas Wrapping" - The Waitresses

This song is probably more fitting than it was when it came out in the 80s. It's definitely a change of pace from the first part of this list, but not everything needs to be traditional. Just most things. (This one is particularly fun to memorize and begin singing loudly during meetings.)

7. "Silver Bells" - Burl Ives

Getting back to something a little more traditional, we get our Burl Ives entry. Most people remember Burn Ives for that insipid "Holly Jolly Christmas" song, which tries to ruin an otherwise delightful holiday special every year. No, this is the real Ives masterpiece.

8. "I Saw Three Ships" - Mannheim Steamroller

To be clear: There is no such thing as a bad Mannheim Steamroller version of any Christmas Carol. This one gets us a song that otherwise isn't great, however, and gets us into the instrumental without getting too weird for a more mainstreamed playlist. This one even has a fun steamship sound effect.

9. "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" - The Ray Coniff Singers

This song actually fits better as a nursery song, but we have to give credit and can't just put "rando playing a gentle harmony" so this version gets the nod. It has a 90's Christmas movie vibe, despite the song being from well before then. It's a good palate cleanser for our last song.

10. "The Christmas Mouse" - Unknown

Chicago DJ Lin Brehmer can hate this song as much as he wants, it rules. It's sweet and innocent and ridiculous, which is what a Christmas carol should be. Hate it all you want, it won't ruin this columnist's love of the song and the feelings it evokes.

Love and Cheer,



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Mathew Foldi is a Lib