Last year, we put together our first ever holiday playlist. But the party won’t stop, and we’re still feeling festive. So, here’s a continuation from last year’s already epic playlist. It’s about to get fa-la-la-la-LIT. 🎄🎅🏿🕎
Did we miss your favorite? Tweet us @thepromptmag with your picks.
Picked by Zach Straus
Welcome to Christmas, our annual, national bout with forced nostalgia.
For some, the nostalgia is pleasant—gentle childhood memories of tradition and warmth. For others, the nostalgia is bitter—a constantly compounding reminder of lost youth and hope.
“River” embraces that bitterness.
Christmas is here again, and with it, all the sadness of no longer having someone by your side you used to love.
Been there, Joni. Been there.
Picked by special guest writer Dan Copozzi
I conclude that this is the greatest Christmas song. Christmas and the winter solstice are a celebration of despondence, the feeling that there is no hope, while at the same time, knowing that this a cycle, that the light will return, that people have been doing this for tens of thousands of years and the world keeps turning (tilted on its axis).
The real world sucks, and thats what’s so great about it. So meditate to this for 6 minutes.
Happy winter solstice. The darkest day of the year.
Picked by Josh Bard
This is a great Christmas song because I think about it outside of the holidays, whenever I am at an airport, running to a gate. Thanks to the scene in Home Alone, where the McCallister family rushes to their flight—SPOILER ALERT: sans Kevin—”Run Run Rudolph” is permanently associated with airport rushing. Then, my brain usually thinks about how the McAllister parents are terrible parents, even if they would give up their dangly earrings for their children. Then my brain usually thinks about how text messaging would have saved the McCallisters a lot of trouble, but also a U-Haul ride with John Candy’s polka band. And then basically my brain devolves into thinking about all the movie plots that would be ruined with the advent of the iPhone. Merry Christmas everyone!
Picked by N. Alysha Lewis
Bob’s Burgers has given us so many musical gems, not just of the holiday variety. I frequently refer to myself as a Linda Belcher in training, but I really have to give it up for Mr. Fisch, voiced pitch perfectly by Kevin Kline, and his Christmas classic about getting hammered. Of note is how the end of the song is just him repeatedly singing the word “bourbon.” I love bourbon, so this is absolutely the holiday song for me.
Picked by Meg Kearns
A good holiday song should: invoke the holiday(s) (obviously); be catchy, memorable, and easy to sing along to; make you happy whenever you hear it. “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-D.M.C. absolutely checks all these boxes, and has been my favorite Christmas song for as long as I can remember. To me growing up, it was simply a standout track on the always-in-rotation album A Very Special Christmas. Later I learned more about Run-D.M.C., the song’s pedigree (produced by Rick Rubin!), and the amazing music video for it (which also inspired this perfect Chance the Rapper SNL spoof), and my love for it has only grown. Forget “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”—it’s all about “Rap so loud and proud you hear it/It’s Christmastime and we got the spirit.”
Picked by Brian McGackin
I don’t have a favorite holiday song, because it’s impossible to pick only one song off of a perfect holiday album: Celine Dion’s 1998 seasonal masterpiece, These Are The Special Times. She’s got covers, she’s got originals, she’s got features—including an ill-advised duet with R. Kelly we’re not gonna talk about—AND THEY’RE ALL BANGERS. The writing credits on this album are insane: Bryan Adams, Dianne Warren, Johannes Brahms, Carole Bayer Sager, John Lennon/Yoko Ono, Dee Snider, Franz Schubert. Celine brought out all the heavy hitters.
This is the album Jesus listens to on Christmas.
Picked by Erin Vail
I love Christmas, but the meaning of Christmas changes as you get older. Only one song captures both the joy and bittersweet nature of the holiday season:”Last Christmas,” by Wham!
I am a big 80’s music fan, thanks to my Gen X parents, so this was in constant rotation with the older Christmas classics growing up. “Last Christmas” encompasses the sadness of Christmas pasts and the joy of Christmas present. It’s also super angsty, so it’s perfect to listen to when you have a crush. I have a separate Christmas playlist of just “Last Christmas” covers; it’s a Christmas banger.
Picked by Dennis William
I fucking love Christmas. It’s the shit. Jesus isn’t/wasn’t real, but I get down on his fake birthday. I decorate. I buy a real tree. I get fancy ass wrapping paper and I fucking love the songs. I love the standards like “We Three Kings” and “Jingle Bells.”
But my favorite is “Silver Bells.” I sing that shit in the summer. I used to work at a Goodwill pricing wicker and knick knacks. It was great and awful all at once. People would donate used air fresheners and then demand a tax receipt. One July, when there was a line of cars (WITH PEOPLE JUST GETTING OUT OF THEIR CARS TO BRING SHIT TO THE DONATION DOOR BECAUSE FUCK WAITING THEIR TURN) I was moving boxes with sweat pouring down my face.
I started singing “Silver Bells.” Ring-a-ling. Hear them ring. It’s Christmas time in the city.
A younger coworker thought I had snapped.
But it was that beautiful song that I associate with the best time of year that was keeping me from snapping.
Picked by Monica McNutt
Your favorite holiday song, singular, they tell us. Mmm pretty much impossible to pick one, so I picked three oldies but goodies. “I Can Hardly Wait Til Christmas” by The O’Jays, because lyrics. “Everything for Christmas” by The Temptations, because Dad is a Tempts guy, and I’m a daddy’s girl; it’s the equivalent of “My Girl” for the holidays, as far as we’re concerned. “My Favorite Things,” the Luther Vandross version, because I have fond memories of learning and butchering the regular version in a concert choir class with my high school basketball team. Also it may be the coolest, most PC holiday track—there’s something in it for everybody!
Picked by Jay Kasten
Tinsel, Santa, latkes, chocolate, doughnuts, presents, joy, family togetherness, peace on earth, cheer, Frosty the Snowman, dreidels, love.
This is a list of things that pale in comparison to the literally awesome experience of what would be traveling through time into the distant future. It’s unimaginable. And yet, here are the JoBros, dedicated scientists they are, to imagine it for you. Any and all drummer boys can go die.