December 11, 2020
Joy to the world, Christmastime is here. The kitchen already smells like sweet treats, the presents are starting to pile up under the tree, the anticipation of celebrating a white Christmas in California is bubbling up, and the holiday decorations are already hanging—a festive soundtrack is precisely what we need to get our holly-jolly spirit on.
Almost every artist has produced a Christmas album at some point during his/her career, so there's no shortage of holiday songs to enjoy. From timeless classics to more modern tracks, we just can’t get enough of the seasonal tunes by California musicians. Play this festive holiday playlist on full blast all season long; you'll want to jingle all the way.
The Holiday Music Your Playlist Needs Now
1. “Sleigh Ride” by Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald is the queen of sleigh-ing. The music for “Sleigh Ride” was composed by Leroy Anderson in 1948; the lyrics were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950, and Fitzgerald did a cover on the song one decade later. Her version brings much-needed warmth and love to our homes, making it the No. 1 song on our Christmas playlist.
2. “Little Saint Nick” by The Beach Boys
Find the holiday spirit within you with the help of The Beach Boys. The band released “Little Saint Nick” in 1963—the melody’s rhythm and structure resemble “Little Deuce Group,” a song the band composed a few months prior. This Christmas-themed hot-rod song is a must-add to your holiday music playlist.
3. “Christmas And You” by Los Lobos
“Don’t want no presents from Santa
Don’t need nothing brand new
All I want are those old times
When it was just Christmas and you.”
The first-ever holiday album that Los Lobos released was “Llegó Navidad”—46 years after the band was formed. Our favorite track is “Christmas and You,” and we’re including it on our best Spotify Christmas playlist.
4. “Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto” by Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg
What’s a holiday playlist without a little bit of Snoop Dogg? Death Row Records released a Christmas compilation album in 1996, and the proceeds from the sales went to charity. Every track on “Christmas On Death Row” deserves to be on our best Christmas songs playlist, but “Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto” is undoubtedly our favorite pick.
5. “All Alone On Christmas” by Darlene Love
Darlene Love made a comeback in the industry after “All Alone On Christmas” was featured on Home Alone: Lost In New York’s soundtrack. The hit song is always on every classic Christmas playlist; we listen to it on repeat. Discover more similar songs featured on Christmas films with a little help from a holiday movie guide.
6. “Oi To The World” by No Doubt
We love it when artists give back to the community and spread joy with their music. No Doubt released a series of Christmas-themed compilation albums that were produced to benefit the Special Olympics. We can't stop listening to “Oi To The World”—we've already added it to our best Christmas playlist on Spotify.
7. “A Surfer’s Christmas List” by Surfaris
Santa knows what surfers want for Christmas—a customized surfboard to ride the waves at the best surf spots in California. Instead of writing a letter, Surfaris told Santa what presents were wanted via song. The surfers even promised to stop being naughty and give up the parties. So, every classic Christmas songs playlist needs to include “A Surfer’s Christmas List.”
8. “Shake Up Christmas” by Train
Every time we’re driving to one of California’s Christmas tree farms, we’re blasting Train’s “Shake Up Christmas”—it’s the ultimate feel-good holiday tune. Released in 2010, the song is about spreading love and joy during the holiday season. No wonder it’s always the best Christmas playlists.
9. “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Tyler, The Creator
“You’re as cuddly as a cactus
You’re as charming as an eel
Mr. Grinch, you’re a bad banana
Mr. Grinch, with the greasy black peel.”
We can’t help singing to Tyler, The Creator’s “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” every time we watch The Grinch movie. All of the best Christmas music playlists have this song on it.
10. “California Christmas” by Mary Mary
Mary Mary sums up what California Christmas looks like: no snow cones, no chestnuts roasting, no scarf, no mittens, but maybe a sweater for the evening time—where this duo's from, it’s warm outside.
11. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by John Legend featuring Kelly Clarkson
This John Legend cover is a must-have on your Christmas playlist (Claus all of me, loves all of you…).
12. “Kidnap The Sandy Claws” by Korn
Have yourself a merry little metal Christmas and blast Korn’s cover of “Kidnap The Sandy Claws.” Every holiday playlist needs a bit of unsilent and unholy nights to deck the halls with heavy guitar riffs.
13. “Christmas Time In California” by The Dan Band
Like Mary Mary, The Dan Band is giving us another reality check about Christmas time in the Golden State. Put your sunscreen on, make snow angels in the sand, and take a sleigh ride to the beach.
14. “Holiday” by Capital Cities
Madonna’s “Holiday” is an iconic song, but Capital Cities’ cover is epic. The song brings a new vibe to the holiday season, with a nod to the 80s sounds with synths and harmonies. Add this jam add to your Christmas playlist, and you won’t stop dancing until Santa comes down the chimney.
15. “Deck The Halls” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Once upon a time, Red Hot Chili Peppers released a compilation of rare tracks that included the band’s covers, first demos, and joke songs. One of those songs is “Deck The Halls,” and we’re definitely adding it to our Christmas song playlist.
16. “You Make It Feel Like Christmas” by Gwen Stefani featuring Blake Shelton
“Thought I was done for, thought that love had died
But you came along, I swear you saved my life
And I wanna thank you, baby
‘Cause you make it feel like Christmas.”
Gwen Stefani fell in love, and we’re out here wishing we did, too. We’re calling all the “jingle” ladies to put their hands up.
17. “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas” by Blink-182
Dreading the holidays? Not a fan of Christmas celebrations? Don’t like being nice to people you can’t stand? Unwillingly listening to Christmas playlists on repeat? Fear not, Blink-182 will keep you company during the holiday season.
18. “Please Come Home For Christmas” by The Eagles
“Please Come Home For Christmas” has been covered by many artists. However, the Eagles truly capture the longing to have a special someone by their side on Christmas. As choirs sing “Silent Night,” we’ll be non-stop listening to this holiday playlist.
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