The Unauthorized Holiday Mix

Do you hear what I hear? … that same, tried-and-true playlist. Add some flavor to your next party with these unique yuletide tunes.

Sufjan Stevens

“Only At Christmas Time”
Reverent and reflective, this tune is taken from Hark!: Songs For Christmas, Vol. II, one of 10 different Christmas-themed albums and EPs Stevens recorded between 2001 and 2010.

Low

“Blue Christmas”
If you’re going to cover this song, you might as well go all in. Half the tempo of Elvis’ version with twice the melancholy, this one will have you reaching for extra helpings of nog.

The Ventures

“Frosty The Snowman”

An epic, surf-rock twist to a kids’ classic that manages to weave in The Beatles’ “I Feel Fine.” Just one of the many great songs off The Ventures’ Christmas Album.

Louis Armstrong

“’Zat You, Santa Claus?”
Few did Christmas better than Louis Armstrong. This song will go over just as well with the grandparents as it will with the little ones. Big-band brilliance.

The Ronettes

“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
Phil Spector helped define the ‘60s, and his wall of sound production made Christmas standards edgy but somehow more accessible.

No Doubt

“Oi To The World”
Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t be punk rock. Originally recorded by The Vandals, this one will get you hipster points at the next office party.

John Denver

“Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)”

Brilliantly awkward, which is how all holidays should be. Also a cautionary tale for all those crazy uncles and aunts who might be contemplating another round of mulled wine.

Kenny Burrell

“Merry Christmas, Baby”
An American jazz legend, Burrell knows how to make his guitar croon. The warm tones in this instrumental make for pure yuletide bliss. Snuggle up.

Julian Casablancas

“I Wish It Was Christmas Today”
Leave it to The Strokes’ lead singer—who also collaborated with Andy Samberg on the brilliant “Boombox”—to turn a SNL skit into a catchy Christmas tune.

Jack Johnson

“In The Morning”
Nothing says the beach like Jack Johnson, and his Brushfire Holiday compilations are must-haves for people who celebrate the holidays in warm-weather climates.