Are you planning a Christmas party? Are you looking for festive tunes that haven’t been heard a million times before for your Christmas playlist? Or maybe you would just like to expand your Christmas music horizons while you’re cozying up to a fire on a wintry December night.

Some of these finds are vintage and some are modern, but all haven’t gotten the heavy rotation that “Jingle Bells” and “White Christmas” have. They’re also worthwhile knowing about and hearing. Explore and have fun.


1. ONE MORE SLEEP
Leona Lewis

I heard this song for the first time on a Christmas special a couple of years ago. Thought it was really catchy and cute.

2. HYMN
Fleurie

Came across this ambient modern track and liked it immediately. Kind of somber but cool for a change. Maybe for a mellow party.

3. CHRISTMAS WISH
Percy Sledge

Great singers can sing anything and Percy is one of them. So here’s a sweet one.

4. CHRISTMAS IS COMING
Vince Guaraldi Trio

Remember the Charlie Brown music? This is the same guy who penned all those other great piano-based tunes for Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang. Here’s a cool instrumental in his inimitable jazz Vince style.

5. MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY
Otis Redding

The one and only Otis Redding with his soulful delivery. No autotune used or needed. I love the warm, vinyl sound of this record. 

6. LET’S MAKE EVERY DAY A CHRISTMAS DAY
Charles Brown

Great blues artist with a unique soulful sound.

7. RIVER
Joni Mitchell

This is a classic from Joni. It isn’t really about the joy of Christmas, but more of a sad love song that happens around Christmas time.

8. MY CHRISTMAS TREE
The Temptations

Here’s another beautiful record by the Tempts. Once again, the vinyl quality adds such a tremendous warmth and “air’ to the recording.

9. LITTLE CHRISTMAS TREE
Nat King Cole

This is probably my favorite sad Christmas song that I never hear on radio during the season. It’s such a simply done song but the vocals are amazing by the King. Perfect melancholy.

10. EVERY DAY IS CHRISTMAS (When I’m Lovin’ You)
Charles Bradley

 

11. STUCK IN THE CHIMNEY
The Surf Boys

If you like country, you might enjoy this one. This actually happened to a woman recently who was in the news. It wasn’t Christmas time but she got caught trying to break into her boyfriend’s house. Yep – had to be rescued by firemen and then she was arrested for breaking and entering.

12. CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE AGAIN
The Flirtations

 

13. I AM BLESSED
Nina Simone

Beautiful gospel track. The message is the point.

14. BOOGIE WOOGIE SANTA CLAUS
Patti Page

This is fun. You could get your guests jitterbugging to this one.

15. WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME
Stevie Wonder

Anything this guy sings, I say “sign me up”. Here’s one he did back in the 70’s. Dig the key modulation around 3/4 of the way through the tune.

16. 25th OF LAST DECEMBER
Roberta Flack

This one might be for the end of the evening when the guests are gone and you’re chilling by the fire. Velvet vocalizings.

17. DECEMBER
Norah Jones

 

18. DECEMBER
Sara Bareilles

Not the same tune as Norah’s. Sara’s is much more haunted and sad.

19. BABY COME FIND ME AT CHRISTMAS
Rachael Yamagata

I like her smoky voice because it’s different than the waif-like voices most commonly heard from today’s female artists. This song shows a more jazzy side of her songwriting, which I really am fond of.

20. HOME FOR THE HOLIDAY
Sugar & The Hi Lows

I’ve been hearing a lot about this band lately. On my radar. This is a cool throwback tune.

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