How to Organize the Perfect Christmas Party Playlist

It’s been established, I love Christmas music. It’s just so fun and festive and Perry Como gets me everytime. While I love the classics, I’m also a sucker for what the cool kids listen too (aka adults WAY younger than me). So I’ve listed my perfect playlist below, keeping in mind that this is for a party and parties usually have three stages:

Mellow (Approximately 45 minutes)

This is for the beginning of the party when everybody is still acting classy and like adults.  “Let me take your coat.” “Do enjoy some brie.”  “We have a great wine from Napa.” Blah, blah, blah. Not that social convention doesn’t dictate this behavior but the mood right now is decidedly mellow. I would say plan the beginning of your playlist for about 30-45 minutes of purely chill music. Most guests will have arrived by then and have had a couple of drinks and for the guests who come later… well we all know they are the real partiers. My suggestions for mellow Christmas music include:

  1. Merry Christmas – Bryan Adams
  2. Merry Christmas Darling – Christina Perri (or The Carpenters)
  3. Carol of the Bells aka Opera of the Bells – Destiny’s Child
  4. Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
  5. Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Glee Cast
  6. Extraordinary Merry Christmas – Glee Cast
  7. White Christmas Live – Lady Gaga
  8. Winter Wonderland – Louis Armstrong
  9. It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas – Michael Bublé
  10. Mis Deseos/Feliz Navidad – Michael Bublé, Thalia
  11. Christmas Wish – She & Him
  12. The Christmas Song – Whitney Houston


Let’s Get This Party Going (Approximately 2.5 hours)12-17-16-playlist-band

Also known as the alcohol has kicked in! This should really be the bulk of your party music and should last between 2-3 hours. I always think of the scene in Home Alone and that’s pretty much how it should look if you were standing outside your house (dancing auntie on the record player and all). This is also the point when people start singing along so having good old classics is always a good idea. While the list below is not exhaustive, here are my favorite amp up songs:

  1. Last Christmas – Wham!
  2. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  3. Shake up Christmas (Cole Xmas Anthem) – Train
  4. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Thurl Ravenscroft
  5. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – She & Him
  6. Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Pentatonix
  7. Winter Wonderland – Neil Diamond
  8. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Mariah Carey
  9. All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey
  10. ‘Zat You, Santa Clause? – Louis Armstrong
  11. Christmas Time in New Orleans – Louis Armstrong
  12. Wonderful Christmas Time – Paul McCartney
  13. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman/We Three Kings – Barenaked Ladies (with Sarah McLachlan)


The Wind Down (Approximately 45 minutes)

This is the point in the party where the non-partiers start to leave and those that are left start getting sappy. While the mood may not be melancholy, the music should be. While you reminisce about past parties and college days, these songs will help ease your guests out the door in a beautiful and thankful way:

  1. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
  2. Christmas Lights – Coldplay
  3. I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Elvis Presley
  4. River – Joni Mitchell
  5. The Christmas Waltz – She & Him
  6. Last Christmas – Findlay Brown (I know this is on the list but this is WAY more forlorn)
  7. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – Holley Maher
  8. What Child Is This – Gardiner Sisters
  9. Please Come Home for Christmas – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
  10. Merry Christmas Darling (Take 2) – Hop Wilson
  11. The Christmas Blues – Bob Dylan
  12. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? – Ella Fitzgerald

If you’re wondering about how to build this playlist without spending a bunch of money on music – don’t worry! I use Spotify and love it.  If you need to take this playlist mobile (aka off your computer where Spotify allows you to build playlists with only a few commercial interruptions), then you can sign up for Spotify Premium. There is an app that goes right onto your smartphone or tablet so you can connect it to almost any speaker system. Right now people who haven’t tried Spotify Premium can get it for 99 cents for three months! 99 cents – that’s crazy! It’s 9.99 per month after that but you can cancel pretty much any time.  That being said you probably won’t. Spotify has become my primary way to get music on the go and I love to build my own playlists. Plus all of these songs came from Spotify so their music library is incredible!

What are some of your favorite holiday party songs? Comment below!

Trying to figure out how to connect your iPhone to that ’80s speaker set your uncle still has? I can answer questions like that and other organization conundrums here!