After an extended week-long Thanksgiving break and moving back home from campus, it seems extra difficult to drum up any motivation to finish the next two weeks until finals. But we have got you covered. The one thing that makes fall semester finals better than the spring: you can listen to endless holiday music to try to create some extra holiday-inspired encouragement. If there’s anything that lefts your spirit, it’s gotta be jingle bells, right?
Now, we know that you probably have already been listening to all your favorite holiday tunes since Thanksgiving ended, but we can’t help put recommend some of our own favorite holiday tunes to add to your playlist. After all, there’s no such thing as too much holiday music…
- “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses
If you have seen Fred Claus (2007), you may be familiar with this upbeat holiday pop song written by guitarist and songwriter Christ Butler of The Waitresses in 1981, taking inspiration from Kurtis Blow’s song “Christmas Rappin.’” Singer (and former waitress) Patty O’Donahue sings this Christmas jingle, which tells the story of a busy single woman who would prefer to face the holidays alone. The song is the band’s highest-charting song in the UK, reaching 45 in 1982 and 96 in 2016. Many feel it isn’t the holiday season without listening to this hit, and I agree as the song doesn’t gloss over the stress and absurdity of the holiday season. In fact, The Waitresses are recognized for their pop songs written on taboo subjects and from a female POV. Their Christmas hit talks about the truth of the winter season from the perspective of a single woman who, no, didn’t fall in love with a stranger under the mistletoe, but just wants to pour a glass of spiked eggnog and wake up in late January. For some, the song may give off Scrooge-vibes, but for me it makes me want to get up and dance.
– Elizabeth Berry, ’21
- “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber
For the past few years, I have shamelessly been listening to “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber on repeat during the entire holiday season, and I plan to do the same this holiday season. Although some may argue that this song selection is a bit cringe-y or cheesy, I find it nostalgic and cheerful (which is the epitome of a holiday song in my opinion). Whenever I hear this song, I know that it is finally the holiday season and I can’t help but sing along and dance around. I love to listen to “Mistletoe” while decorating my house, baking Christmas cookies, and wrapping presents. I highly recommend listening to this iconic Christmas song this holiday season!
– Sarah Hennig, ’24
- “Puppy for Hanukkah” by Daveed Diggs
Unfortunately, Hanukkah music doesn’t quite cover the same range that Christmas music does, but luckily the latest track from Daveed Diggs is here to save us this holiday season. I don’t know why this song exists, but I’m sure glad it does. The title pretty much captures the premise of this song—wanting a puppy as a Hanukkah present—which is very endearing and definitely captures the experience of having a perhaps unrealistic Hanukkah wishlist as a child. While most Hanukkah songs are either a parody of a popular song or a cover of a traditional Jewish tune, “Puppy for Hanukkah,” actually adds something different to the very limited genre of Hanukkah songs, but with all the markings of a quintessentially Hanukkah song: a Klezmer-inspired backing track, counting all the eight nights, and of course, rhyming “Hanukkah” with “harmonica.”
– Samantha Barth, ’21
- “Mary, Did You Know?” by Pentatonix
If you haven’t heard of Pentatonix, you need to look them up immediately. Pentatonix is a five-person a cappella group, and after winning season 3 of NBC’s show Sing-Off (which has since been cancelled) in 2011, they become one of the most well-known and successful a cappella groups of all time. Most of their songs, though not all, are covers of major hits, which has really allowed them to capitalize on holiday music. They have released six Christmas albums, including this year’s We Need a Little Christmas and the song “Carol of the Bells” from the soundtrack for the 2017 animated movie, The Star: The Story of the First Christmas.
My all-time favorite Christmas song of theirs is “Mary, Did You Know?” from their That’s Christms to Me album. This song showcases the strength and power of each of their members’ amazing voices. Maybe it’s because this Christmas song isn’t on every holiday album ever, like “O Holy Night,” but Pentatonix’s version of this song will always be the first holiday song I listen to at the start of the holiday season.
– Elizabeth Vinson, ’21
- “25th” by Tori Kelly
Coming off her 2019 Grammy win for her Gospel album, Hiding Place, Tori Kelly just released her holiday album A Tori Kelly Christmas. I am a sucker for an upbeat, singalong holiday pop love song. Unapologetically, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” and, like Sarah, Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe,” have a permanent spot on my holiday playlist. Tori Kelly’s new original Christmas song “25th” captures all of those holiday vibes. Plus, her vocal range and power is just stellar—you might recall her voice from last week’s Masked Singer episode when she was unmasked as the Seahorse. This one is definitely on its way to becoming one of my staple holiday love song
– Elizabeth Vinson, ’21