The holiday season brings us many fun traditions, but holiday music might be the only one you can really depend on. After all, latkes and gingerbread cookies can burn; stockings hung by the chimney with care can still end up mysteriously jammed inside your Roomba; and family parties you’ve been looking forward to all year can turn into eggnog-fueled shouting matches about who shoved a Sunsational Malibu Barbie into the garbage disposal in 1981.
But music might be the only truly reliable part of the holiday season.
Holiday music does more than set a seasonal vibe, however. A small 2002 study found that listening to music correlated to a significant decrease in negative menopause symptoms and symptoms of depression among postmenopausal women. So taking the time to listen to Wham!’s “Last Christmas” isn’t only a festive tradition — it’s also actually a form of self-care that could help you cope better with the stresses of the holidays and just feel better in general.
So help yourself to a full serving of our Holiday Rock (and Soul) playlist. It has classic favorites as well as newer indie rock entries into the holiday song canon to accompany wrapping presents, decorating the house, and having guests over for holiday merriment. There’s something for you, your niece, your grandma, and even your one weird uncle (admit it, we all have one).
Most importantly, it pairs perfectly with taking a moment to yourself and remembering that the holidays don’t have to be perfect to be fun. So turn your music up, eat the parts of the gingerbread cookie that didn’t get burned, and enjoy.
Here’s the playlist:
Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) - The Ramones
Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
Alone on Christmas - Phoenix
8 Days of Hanukkah - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
Walk Out to Winter - Aztec Camera
Last Christmas - Wham!
2000 Miles - The Pretenders
Flowers in November - Mazzy Star
Thank God It’s Not Christmas - Sparks
First Christmas in Kokomo - Aretha Franklin
I’ll Be Home for Christmas - Kacey Musgraves and Lana Del Ray
White Christmas - Frank Sinatra
My Dear Acquaintance - Regina Spektor
Fairy Tales of Christmas - The Pogues (featuring Krista MacColl)
Merry Christmas, Baby (Please Don’t Die) - Crocodiles, Dum Dum Girls
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - The Temptations
Stripes Editorial Team (and Naomi!)