We all know the classic holiday songs that play on the radio year after year. We're always hearing showtune-esque songs by Bing Crosby, suave bops by Michael Bublé, and pop hits like "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey.
But if you program a station that adheres to a specific genre, it might be a challenge finding festive music that fits with your programming. Perhaps you've decided to not play holiday tunes at all because there's so few merry tracks within your preferred genre.
However, if you're still looking to play some seasonal songs on your punk rock or reggae station this December, keep reading! We've created this helpful list to give you ideas for yuletide-appropriate tracks you can put on your playlists this year. Make sure to check out each musician or band behind the song, as it could lead you to more holiday discoveries. Find your station's genre and take some notes!
Fortunately, classical music during the holidays isn't too obscure of a thing. Religious music - typically classical - has always been linked to the season. We can also thank Alexandre Dumas Père and Tchaikovsky for adapting "The Nutcracker" into a popular Christmas ballet. But if you're looking for good classical songs outside of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" and "Russian Dance," here are a few suggestions...
- "Good King Wenceslas (arr. P. Breiner)" - Slovak State Philharmonic
- "The Three Kings" - Handel and Haydn Society Chorus
- "A Christmas Festival" - Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops
- "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (arr. P. Breiner)" - Nicholaus Esterhazy Sinfonia
- "Ding Dong" - Stella Chamber Choir
- "Joy to the World" - Worcester Cathedral Choir
- "Adeste Fideles" - St. Paul's Philharmonic
Move over, "Jingle Bell Rock!" Some people don't like the frills and bells of the holidays - they'd prefer to celebrate the season with some hardcore electric guitar and percussion! Whether you're a station that caters to classic rock, heavy metal, or punk rock of the 90s and early 2000s, here are some headbangin' holiday song suggestions for your station...
- "Don't Shoot Me Santa" - The Killers
- "Christmas Eve / Sarajevo" - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- "Thank God It's Christmas" - Queen
- "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" - U2
- "Run Rudolph Run" - Chuck Berry
- "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)" - Ramones
- "Mistress for Christmas" - AC/DC
- "Nothing For Christmas" - New Found Glory
- "Yule Shoot Your Eye Out" - Fall Out Boy
- "Please Come Home For Christmas" - Eagles
- "O Come All Ye Faithful" - Twisted Sister
Besides anything from the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack, there's quite a bit of festive jazz music you can treat your listeners to this season. Here's a list of our favorites...
- "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Kenny G
- "Cool Yule" - Kurt Elling
- "We Three Kings" - Ramsey Lewis
- "Jingle Bells" - Wynton Marsalis & Friends
- "Christmas Don't Be Late" - Norah Jones
- "Christmas Cheer" - Abbey Lincoln & Roy Hargrove
- "The First Noel Jazz" - Richard Freeman
Rappers can spit some holiday bars, too! You don't typically think of hip hop songs when you think of Christmas music, but holiday raps do exist. They're fun, dance-worthy, and will definitely put you in the spirit. Give the songs below more love with a listen!
- "Christmas In Harlem" - Kanye West
- "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" - Tyler, the Creator
- "Christmas In Hollis" - Run DMC
- "Holiday" - Lil Nas X
- "A Pimp's Christmas Song" - Snoop Dogg
- "Deck da Club" - Ying Yang Twins
- "St. Brick Intro" - Gucci Mane
- "Christmas Rappin'" - Kurtis Blow
- "Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto (FEAT. Daz Dillinger, Nate Dogg, Tray Deee, & Bad Azz)" - Snoop Dogg
- "A Christmas F---ing Miracle" - Run The Jewels
With the plethora of holiday albums that have been released by country artists in recent years, this genre has no shortage of festive songs! Grab your Christmas cowboy hat and a beer...here are some country songs that will fill you with cheer.
- "Where Are You Christmas" - Faith Hill
- "Hard Candy Christmas" - Dolly Parton
- "Run Run Rudolph" - Luke Bryan
- "Christmas Makes Me Cry" - Kacey Musgraves
- "The Christmas Guest" - Johnny Cash
- "Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy" - Brad Paisley
- "Put a Little Holiday In Your Heart" - LeAnn Rimes
- "Let There Be Peace" - Carrie Underwood
- "I'll Be Home For Christmas" - Lady A
- "Take Me Home For Christmas" - Dan + Shay
Need something a bit warmer in feel this cold, snowy season? Bring the Caribbean heat and peace with some holiday reggae! John Holt and Jacob Miller have done a lot for holiday reggae music, but we've included additional artists for your listening pleasure.
- "White Christmas" - Bob Marley
- "We Wish You a Reggae Christmas" - Yellowman
- "All I Want For Ismas (feat. Ray I & Inner Circle)" - Jacob Miller
- "Lonely This Christmas" - John Holt
- "Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - Johnny Clarke
- "The Night Before Christmas" - Eek-A-Mouse
- "Rich Man For Christmas" - Lady Saw
- "Warm Jamaican Christmas" - Wayne Wonder
- "Everyday Is Christmas Day" - Freddie McGregor
Yes - there are more holiday R&B songs than just Mariah Carey tracks from her 1994 album Merry Christmas. Below are some old and new R&B holiday hits.
- "Merry Christmas Baby" - Otis Redding
- "What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas?" - The Emotions
- "8 Days of Christmas" - Destiny's Child
- "Mary Did You Know" - Mary J. Blige
- "Someday At Christmas" - Stevie Wonder & Andra Day
- "One Wish (For Christmas)" - Whitney Houston
- "Little Drummer Boy" - Lauryn Hill
- "Every Year, Every Christmas" - Luther Vandross
- "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear/The First Noel" - Babyface
If you're looking to party hard this holiday season, these dance and electronic songs will make you light up like a Christmas tree. It's definitely an unconventional genre for the holidays, but it will still put you in the spirit!
- "Smash the House (Deck the Halls)" - rrotik
- "Still Still Still" - Kaskade
- "Carol Von Holz" - SOFI TUKKER & Holzbläser
- "Lover for the Holidays" - Lee Wilson & John Paul Lakes
- "Come On Christmas" - MGMT
- "Carnival (feat. Bunji Garlin) [Xmas Edition]" - 4B
- "Jingle Bells" - Mellodees
Latin holiday music is much more than just "Feliz Navidad." Check out these other Latin yuletide songs that have done well on the charts over the years!
- “Me Gustan las Navidades” - Gilberto Santa Rosa
- “Mis Deseos/Feliz Navidad” - Michael Buble & Thalia
- “Aires de Navidad” - N'Klabe
- “Feliz Navidad” - Tito "El Bambino"
- “Navidad Sin Ti" - Los Bukis
- "Ay Ay Ay It's Christmas" - Ricky Martin
- “Santa Claus Llegó a La Ciudad” - Luis Miguel
- “Todavía es Navidad” - Danny Rivera
For more holiday song suggestions and lists, check out the holiday and Christmas tags on the Live365 blog. And if you're looking for more holiday music, head to Live365.com for a selection of holiday stations. Happy broadcasting!