Halloween is over, so it’s time to throw away the slowly rotting pumpkins and peel the dew-drenched fake spiderwebs from your front porch. We now slowly inch toward the holiday season, full of festive entrées, nuclear family reunions and streaming platforms shoving Christmas content down our throats. But how can it be acceptable to watch, even peruse through renowned films like “A Bad Mom’s Christmas” and “Christmas With a Prince” without being allowed to listen to Christmas music?
In my opinion, the ongoing argument that Christmas music should only be played after Thanksgiving is uncalled for, and I’m sure there are other highly respectable, ever-so-humble intellectuals, like myself, who agree.
For Californians who are hesitant to indulge in pre-Thanksgiving Christmas tunes, don’t fear. I have curated a masterful playlist for you to slowly join the community of early-Christmas-music-fanatics.
Below is a list of top picks to embrace the holiday season:
Great Pumpkin Waltz – Vince Guaraldi Trio
This one’s for you, anti-pre-Thanksgiving-Christmas-music-listeners. “Great Pumpkin Waltz,” linked with the 1966 Peanuts television special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” is a beloved toast to the late American jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, who composed the score of many Peanuts animated specials. The incorporation of airy flutes, the slow beat of a drum and effortless piano chords provide a melancholic atmosphere. This song can be played as a silent ode to the ever-coming holiday season, as it is both non-lyrical and the harmonies do not allude to Christmas time.
Christmas Time Is Here (Vocal) – Vince Guaraldi Trio
The first legitimate Christmas song on this playlist, “Christmas Time Is Here,” is a slow, warm song that eases listeners into the vibes of the most joyful time of year. Children carol to the song; it’s a sweet reminder of the multitudes of Christmas carolers who will roam throughout the decorated streets of neighborhoods in the season to come.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra
With one of history’s most recognizable voices, Frank Sinatra’s version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is an all-time classic. A choir harmonizes alongside his melodic sound, dominating the tranquil string orchestra. This song embodies the inception of reminiscence, taking listeners, both young and old, back to memories from past holiday seasons.
I’ll Be Home For Christmas (From The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show) – Kacey Musgraves & Lana Del Rey
As someone who is emotionally bound to the original versions of Christmas songs, I was pleasantly taken aback when being introduced to country star Kacey Musgraves’ recording of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” In this version for her 2019 Christmas Show, she invited indie-rock singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey. The pair are each known for singing about being outcasts in their love lives, yet put their troubled romantic pursuits aside to sing this song of the holiday season’s unity. Accompanied by a guitar, Musgraves and Del Rey’s angelic tones harmonize in a calming and warm manner.
The Man With All the Toys – The Beach Boys
This song embodies the sounds of a California Christmas and makes it socially acceptable to wear flip flops to Christmas dinner. Composed of joyful guitar strums and dulcet polyphonies, this upbeat surf pop wouldn’t surprise me if Santa cruised into town on a surfboard rather than a sleigh.
Last Christmas – Wham!
Yes, this song becomes obnoxious once every mall adds it to their holiday playlist, but that makes the perfect excuse to listen to it before the holiday season. Surprisingly enough, “Last Christmas” was written without the intent of being a Christmas song (another reason why it is okay to listen to it year-round). The song is actually about a failed relationship and the encounter that one has with their ex a year later. If you are looking to provoke bittersweet holiday emotions, this ’80s pop song is for you.