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What’s on your Christmas playlist?

Analise Lipari | Sunday, December 7, 2008

Deck the halls with boughs of holly – it’s officially time for Christmas music.

I couldn’t bring myself to play any of my holiday tunes before Thanksgiving. Heck, mid-November, I heard Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” at a local barroom establishment, and that was just too much. Even last week didn’t quite feel right, and songs like “Holly Jolly Christmas” went unplayed on my laptop and iPod, lonely and gathering cyber dust.

But now that the snow has begun to fall (and to accumulate, which is key), my dorm room door is gift-wrapped and both white and multi-colored lights have been hung all over the place, I’m ready to jam to my Christmas playlists and start rockin’ around the Christmas tree.

I always like hearing my friends’ favorite holiday tunes and contrasting them with my own. I’ve discovered new and old classics, like Guster’s “Donde Esta Santa Claus?” and Darlene Love’s original version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” after trading Christmas playlists with my buds and dormmates. I’ve also shared some of my own collection, including some of Bing Crosby’s lesser-known ditties like “Christmas in Killarney.” Over some hot cocoa and frosted sugar cookies, it’s always a good time.

As the dorm rooms and dining halls keep up their steady soundtrack of holiday fare, I’m offering a list of my top Christmas hits to the world. Feel free to add or subtract your own, as there’s no shortage of holiday music out there.

10. “Mele Kalikimaka,” Bing Crosby: If you ever find yourself celebrating Christmas on the white, sandy beaches of Maui, you’ll need this lei and ukelele-tinged hit by one of the business’s best crooners. If you think your celebration is lacking some hula-themed spirit, then look no further.

9. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Judy Garland: I’m kind of a purist when it comes to some of my favorite holiday songs, and this is definitely one of them. The original recording comes from the film “Meet Me In Saint Louis,” and was a favorite among wartime audiences.

8. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Brenda Lee: It may sound similar to “Jingle Bell Rock,” but this classic holds its own. It’s cheery, slightly cheesy, and all around holiday fun. Plus, any song that’s worthy of Kevin McCallister’s Christmas playlist in “Home Alone” is good in my book.

7. “White Christmas,” Otis Redding: Yes, I know that this isn’t the definitive Bing Crosby version, and yes, I realize that to some, that may be nothing short of a holiday sacrilege. But I stand by my choice, because Redding’s version is a soulful delight.

6. “Christmas Don’t Be Late,” the Chipmunks: Because deep down, I just want a hula-hoop. I remember sitting up in the wee hours of Christmas morning with my siblings, waiting until our parents woke up to unwrap our presents, and listening to this song. Nostalgia is a powerful thing.

5. “Little Saint Nick,” the Beach Boys: Totally adorable and definitely loveable, this surfer tune fits perfectly with the rest of the group’s library while still feeling distinctly like a holiday song.

4. “Believe,” Josh Groban: Now hold on, all you Groban-haters. Even if you think his music is nothing short of pure cheese, you’d have to have a heart that’s two sizes too small not to feel a tug at the old heartstrings when this new classic plays. The boy’s voice is beautiful, and the song is, too.

3. “Silver Bells,” Bing Crosby: Another classic, this tune is more relaxed than some of my other, jazzier selections, but here especially, Bing’s smooth vocals are just right

2. “Sleigh Ride,” Amy Grant: I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bad version of “Sleigh Ride,” although the sheer volume of Christmas music out there might suggest otherwise. Instrumental versions are also great, but I have to go with Amy Grant’s classic cover from 1983. We still listen to the cassette tape of her Christmas album at my house and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

1. “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”: I couldn’t keep any Christmas song count down entirely secular, especially as a Catholic girl at a Catholic university. While I have other liturgical Christmas favorites, particularly “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Joy to the World,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” remains at the top of my list. Plus, on a less holy note, it closes one of my all-time favorite holiday specials, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

So what’s on your holiday playlist? Keep those tunes pumping throughout the Christmas season, and have a very merry, music-filled Christmas.