The Throwback: Holiday music mixtape
An animated Justin Bieber joins Kris Kringle and Topper the penguin from the classic TV special "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town"
December 24th, 2011
11:03 AM ET

The Throwback: Holiday music mixtape

Whether you're Team "stake of holly through his heart" or Team "let your heart be light," there’s no denying that music is a big part of the holiday season ("The holiday season - so hoop-de-doo, and dickory-dock, and don't forget to hang up your sock").

Every year, it seems "new" Christmas music consists of versions of songs we already know, including repackaged, re-mastered versions of old standbys like The Vince Guaraldi Trio's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" soundtrack and Nat King Cole's Christmas album.

Some of this year's selections include Lady Gaga's version of "White Christmas," Scarlett Johansson's "duet" with Dean Martin (talk about Ghosts of Christmas Past!) on "I'll Be Home for Christmas," and Justin Bieber's video for "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," in which the Biebs is given the Rankin-Bass treatment - he's animated in scenes with characters from the television special of the same name.

Playlists come and go, but when it comes to holiday tunes, it seems there are some songs - and even entire albums - that we must hear, or it just isn't 'Tis the Season.

For some it's The Carpenters' "Christmas Portrait" album, for others it's Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" album in its entirety, perhaps Mariah Carey's album "Merry Christmas" or the soundtrack to "Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas."

Here's my proverbial playlist of classic songs that never fails to get me hauling out the holly:

  • "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by Darlene Love: One of the best things about the holiday season. So say David Letterman, so say I. That song never fails to blow the roof off the dump.
  • "Linus and Lucy" by the Vince Guaraldi Trio: Actually it's a toss-up: The whole album is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
  • "The Christmas Song" by Nat King Cole: The first three notes have me melting like Frosty in the greenhouse.
  • "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" by Andy Williams: Like Nat King Cole, Williams will always be a holiday mainstay for me.
  • "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee: Makes me wanna dance like the Charlie Brown kids!
  • "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses: Who would have thought a New Wave song begrudgingly recorded at the behest of a record label would help make this the most wonderful time of the year.
  • "A Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues: Rather than being relegated to December like most Christmas carols, you can listen to it year-round. Walk into any Irish pub any night of the year and you'll likely hear it at some point in the evening.
  • "Christmas is All Around" by Billy Mack: Maybe it's because "Love Actually" is one of my favorite movies, but this parody of The Troggs' "Love is All Around" by a fictional, has-been rocker always puts a smile on my face.
  • "Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney: I'm including this one because writer Mike Kiss recently said online: "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the land of the deaf, the one-eared man will burn off his ear rather than listen to Paul McCartney's 'Wonderful Christmastime.'" But he wasn't done there: "I feel the kind of joy a young child would feel as he opens his first birthday gift and finds the pliers and pine cones he intends to use to torture Paul McCartney for recording 'Wonderful Christmastime.'" Oh, and then: "I wish I'd gone into cosmology and physics like I'd planned! So I could dream of ways to space-drown, space-exile, space-quarantine, and annihilate Paul McCartney's 'Wonderful Christmastime'."

What are your "go to" holiday songs or albums - and why? Conversely, which tunes make you cringe, a la Mike and "Wonderful Christmastime"? Also, feel free to mock my selections mercilessly. I can take it.

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Filed under: Music • The Throwback

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Booo

    Other than Nat King Cole your list is not very good. Anyone notice in the Beiber Santa Claus is Coming to Town video he tears up his face and pumps his arms – 1980s MJ style – as If he's singing about a broken heart? I was forced to watch the video with children. Does the song need that much theatrics? Really? You don't get the
    Emmy for best lip sync!

    December 27, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. lojenk

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTpAOPJM4gE&w=640&h=390]

    December 27, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. LoJenkins

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSKZ9f5Au3k&w=640&h=390]

    December 27, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. my part of the universe

    Very rarely is there a "new" christmas song that has come out, i think the last origianl song was red shoes, hear that song and think of who has left you and this world, even the most cynical mind, will stop for a moment and feel alone!

    December 26, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. L

    Forgot to add that those two above are my favoirtes CD's. I don't really care for Justin Beiber or that Waitresses song. All old school Christmas tunes are ok with me. I like hearing Burl Ives and Jimmy Durante once per year. Its traditional. It is a nice break from the crap on the radio now a days.

    December 25, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. L

    Merry Christmas With love, Clay Aiken and
    Jethro Tull Christmas

    December 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Centurion

    Little drummer boy

    December 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. madhater

    I wouldve thrown it in Karen Carpenter's butt hole. She was such a whure, she is greatly missed.

    December 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. halston lacey

    These are good ideas for holiday music and I would like to see more options listed. I'll probably just end up going to http://ratemusicart.blogspot.com

    December 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Emily

    bahahahahahahha. I love that Mike got called out for this....I am sad Christmas is almost over because I'll have another 11 months to wait for Mike's rants.

    December 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |

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