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Our holiday music favorites

Holiday music fills our homes, malls, and minds from just about the moment after Thanksgiving until the end of the year. From choirs and orchestras to rock and pop to soundtracks and carollers, it's everywhere and anywhere many of us go. Here are our favorites!

Ally: When I think of Christmas music, I think of my mom who loves holidays more than anyone I know. I have some great memories growing up of decorating the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, making cookies, and just having coffee or tea on a cold night. Naturally, a lot of the music I grew up listening to, thanks to my mother, has stuck with me. Some of my absolute favorites include songs by Jim Brickman, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Amy Grant, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Others come from movies we grew up watching around the holidays. The following are the songs and albums that are always on standby each and every holiday season in our house:

  • Jim Brickman - The Gift - Download Now (opens in new tab) A Jolly Christmas with Frank Sinatra - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • Christmas / Sarajevo 12/24 - Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • Home Alone Sountrack - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • White Christmas - Bing Crosby - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • The Christmas Collection - Amy Grant - Download Now (opens in new tab)

Derek: Not gonna lie, I have a soft spot for Christmas music. Even though I refuse to listen to it until after Thanksgiving. I'm a man of rules, dammit. What Christmas music, specifically, you ask? Well, inside that soft spot for Christmas music is a soft spot for the likes of Frank Sinatra, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and similar music. Here's a selection of some of my favorite tracks:

  • Angels We Have Heard On High - Aretha Franklin - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Carol of the Bells - Pentatonix - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • A Christmas Festival - Boston Pops Orchestra and Arthur Fiedler - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • The Christmas Song - Frank Sinatra - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • The Christmas Waltz - Frank Sinatra - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Frost the Snowman - Glenn Miller Orchestra - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Greensleeves - Vince Guaraldi Trio - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Mis Deseos / Feliz Nevidad - Michael Bublé - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • O Holy Night - Studio 60 - Download now
  • Jingle Bells - Michael Bublé and the Puppini Sisters - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Sleigh Ride - Glenn Miller Orchestra - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • This Christmas - Pentatonix - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • What Child Is This - Vince Guarldi Trio - Download now (opens in new tab)

Peter: I'm an unabashed fan of rock and pop music, the cheesier the better. I misspent my teenage years in the 1980s, which means I'm squarely fixated on music from that era as well. So when it comes to Christmas music, these are some of my favorites. I've thrown in a few classics to round things out too, and one that one of my coworkers at the store, Annie, suggested (The Pogues).

  • The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You) - Nat King Cole - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Fairytale of New York (featuring Kirsty MacColl) - The Pogues - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas - Gayle Peevey - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Last Christmas - Wham - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney - Download now (opens in new tab)

Rene: Don't hate me. I don't listen to much music during the year — I watch videos at home and listen to podcasts when I drive — and if it were up to me I'd listen to just as little during the holidays. But it's not up to me, it's up to my family. And they drive me next to mad with an almost constant stream of music. (I'll never admit it, but part of me appreciates it.) So, what do I like? The African sounds of my birthplace, the majestic voices of Canada, and anything and everything that's either a true classic, or turns the classics upside down.

  • Season's Greetings - Drakensberg Boys Choir - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Christmas of Love - Isador and the Inquisitors - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • That's Christmas To Me - Pentatonix - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • The Perfect Gift - The Canadian Tenors - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Wintersong - Sarah McLachlan - Download now (opens in new tab)

Ren: My parents' household was a classical music household, which meant lots of instrumental and choral tunes flooding the house from December 1 onward. I have a fondness for my classical roots and traditional 60s tunes, but also a great love for newer, subtly-holiday-themed music. Here's a (small) excerpt from my holiday playlist.

  • Twelve Days of Christmas - Boston Pops - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • I Hear the Bells - Mike Doughty - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • Let it Snow - Dean Martin Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • Linus and Lucy - Vince Guaraldi Trio - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • Hark the Herald Angels Sing - Boston Pops - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • Skating - Vince Guaraldi Trio Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • Christmastime in Tinseltown - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • O Tannenbaum - Vince Guaraldi Trio Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • A Christmas Scherzo - Boston Pops - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • White Christmas - Bing Crosby - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • You're a Mean One, Mr Grinch - Thurl Ravenscroft - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • The Chipmunk Song - The Chipmunks - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • Mr. Heatmiser - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - Download Now (opens in new tab)
  • Dominic the Donkey - Lou Monte - Download Now (opens in new tab)
Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

14 Comments
  • Give Love at Christmas - Temptations.
  • Oh yay. Bring on the cheese. Crappy Beats headphones sold separately.
  • No Presents for Christmas - Single by King Diamond https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/no-presents-for-christmas/id273573645?... Sent from the iMore App
  • David Phelps - One Wintry Night
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/one-wintry-night/id264141353?at=10l3Vy O Holy Night is as close to vocal perfection as it gets. Completely recommend the whole album though. Sent from the iMore App
  • African sounds of your birth place? Rene, where are you from, I'm intrigued. Posted from the amazing whatever device I can afford because I'm a broke college kid.
  • Probably south Africa I'm just saying haha Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • How did not one person mention Mariah Carey?
  • More weird entries from iMore! Hard to believe the whole "Charlie Brown Xmas" soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi isn't on everyone's list, and no Johnny Mathis, and... ...where the heck is "White Christmas" by The Drifters?! Shocking! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddVZOK_9UUI
  • How much is Forbes paying iMore to highjack our mobile browsers each and every time readers click on an article when using a mobile device?
  • 1) Christmas At Ground Zero: Weird Al
    2) Walking 'Round in Women's Underwear: Bob Rivers
    3) Christmas Wrapping: The Donnas
    4) Up on The Rooftop: The Donnas
    5) Winter Wonderland: The Eurythmics
    6) Christmas in Hollis: Run-DMC
    7) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: The Pretenders
    8) Blue Christmas: Porky Pig
    9) Three Drunks from Omaha
    10) The 12 Days of Christmas: Bob & Doug MacKenzie
  • Here's part of my holiday playlist: Mistress for Christmas - AC/DC
    Happy Christmas - John Lennon
    Thank God it’s Christmas - Queen
    Father Christmas - The Kinks
    I Believe in Father Christmas - ELP
    Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas - The Pretenders
    Christmas Blues - Eric Clapton
    Please Home For Christmas - The Eagles (and Bon Jovi)
    Here Comes Santa Claus - Basic
    I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas - Bon Jovi
    Merry Christmas Baby - Bruce Springsteen
    Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Bruce Springsteen
    Christmas Day - Dido
    Something About Christmas Time - Bryan Adams
    I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - John Cougar Mellencamp
    Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney
    Santa Claus - Cheech and Chong
    Hanukah Song - Adam Sandler
    Run Rudolph Run - Sheryl Crow
    Christmas Don’t Be Late - Powder
    Christmas All Over Again - Tom Petty
    Alice’s Restaurant Massacree - Arlo Guthrie (mainly on Thanksgiving)
  • Christmas -bah humbug EXCEPT Silent Night - Temptation from Dec 1st - Jan 1st
  • She & Him holiday album. So good. They sell it at Starbucks.
  • There's a FABULOUS holiday album by the incomparable Loreena McKennitt (a Canadian, for those who care) called A Midwinter Night's Dream. It's currently $5 on iTunes too, so really you have no excuse not to listen to one of the most unbelievably talented singers of our time.