A Christmas Gift For You


A Christmas Gift For You by Daniel van Voorhis

Making a playlist is an art. I'm not saying I'm the best artist, but it's harder than I used to think. A playlist has to take you from a jolt to something familiar to something soothing, at least most of mine try to, unless they are super specific.  So I collected 40 songs (top 40 sounded right), I excluded orchestral or choir pieces (they might have another list, but don't fit here), and broke those 40 into 4 top tens.

The top ten lists were roughly: modern rock, classic rock (from the 80's primarily), traditional, and "time for bed".  None of this is in descending order, but rather in mixtape list.  That is, a list that takes you as seamlessly from one to the next and genre to genre.

You might say, "where is..." to which I respond, "it isn't here". It may have been floating around and cut from the top ten in its genre or it may be a deep enough cut (or too obvious) to not make the list.  Secondly, you might think "so-and-so's version of ______ is better than _____. I might agree, but this is a playlist that catches 4 different styles (broadly) and doesn't repeat any song or artist.  Of course, I may have missed some, but eventually a playlist becomes just a "song dump". All of these songs are from own library, and some might be unavailable. Sorry. So some music services make getting all 40 impossible. Nevertheless, there is a Spotify playlist below.

40. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ – Darlene Love

39. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ – Brenda Lee

38. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer- The Crystals

37. Run Rodulph Run- Chuck Berry

36. Sleigh Ride- The Ronettes

35. Christmas Waltz- Nancy Wilson

34. Baby It’s Cold Outside- Pearl Bailey and Hot Lips Page

33. White Christmas- Otis Redding

32. The Christmas Song- Nat King Cole

31. The Nutcracker Suite- Les Brown and his Band of Renown


30. ‘The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth’
 – Bing Crosby and David Bowie

29. ‘2000 Miles’ – KT Tunstall‘

28. Merry Xmas Everybody’ – Slade

27. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ – Wizzard

26. ‘Santa Claus’ – The Sonics

25. Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)’- The Ramones

24. ‘Fairytale of New York’ – The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl

23. Do They Know It’s Christmas- Band Aid

22. ‘Christmas Wrapping’ – The Waitresses

21. ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ – Mariah Carey


20. ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’ –Shins

19. A Great Big Sled- The Killers

18. Candy Cane Children- The White Stripes

17. Hark the Herald Angels Sing- Weezer

16. XMAS time is here again- My Morning Jacket

15. Carol of the Bells- the Bird and the Bee

14. Darlin’ (Christmas is Coming)- Over the Rhine

13. Why Can’t it Be Christmas all year- Rosie Thomas

12. ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’- Sufjan Stevens

11. ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ Polyphonic Spree


10.What Child is This- Vince Guaraldi

9. Oh Holy Night- Tipitinas

8. Ave Maria- Harry Connick Jr. 

7. Winter Song- Sarah Bareilles

6. I’ll Be Home For Christmas- Nickel Creek

5. ‘Christmas Time is Here’ – Mark Kozelek

4. Gift X-Change- Calexico

3. Silent Night- Alexi Murdoch

2. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day- Sarah McLachlan

1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas James Taylor


Dan is the director of The League of Faithful Masks which produces the Virtue in the Wasteland podcast.  He received his PhD in 2008 from the University of St. Andrews and was recently a professor of history and political thought as well as Assistant Dean at Concordia University, Irvine.  He is the author of Monsters: Addiction, Hope, Ex-Girlfriends and Other Dangerous Things.

An Apple Playlist can be found here:




Daniel van Voorhis