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Friday, June 14, 2024

Fun holiday tunes to spice up the season

From Vivaldi to Mariah Carey, this selection is sure to get you through the colder months 


By SARAH HAN — arts@theaggie.org


“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams (1963)

Ringing in the list is Andy Williams’ quintessential song for the holidays. Certainly, the holiday season is one of the most wonderful times of the year, making this song a great way to start (and end) the season. It’s undoubtedly nostalgic and heartwarming, especially with the wholesome lyrics about mistletoes and marshmallows. This tune is perfect for keeping you in the holiday mood through the new year.


“12 Days of Christmas” by Frederic Austin (1909)

If you want to keep in mental shape during the holiday break, this song not only tests your counting skills but also your memorization skills. Several groups have sung covers of this carol, from Straight No Chaser to Pentatonix. This song is a classic holiday tune that never gets old, and although it may not have a steady beat, it’s certainly a more novel tune to add to your holiday playlist.


“Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms (1957)

“Jingle Bell Rock” is a modern twist on the classic “Jingle Bells.” It incorporates a more upbeat tune and features my favorite part, a guitar jingle, at the beginning. This song is perfect for a holiday party where everyone can dance. It’s short, simple and sweet but nonetheless perfectly captures the cheery spirit of the holidays.


“Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano (1970)

There’s such a jolly vibe to this song — whenever I listen to it, I feel like all my worries go away. It’s bright, cheery and lighthearted, which may be what gives it such longevity and worldwide popularity. Much like “Jingle Bell Rock,” it’s a great song to play during a holiday party or when you need to wish someone a merry Christmas (hence the lyrics). 


“Christmas Time Is Here” by Vince Guaraldi (1965)

The nostalgia from this song is unmatched. “Christmas Time is Here” is from the television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and it’s perfect for when you want to sit by the fireplace and drink hot chocolate. It has a very subtle melody, making it suitable for when you need to relax during the holiday season. 


“Winter” by Antonio Vivaldi (1723)

I couldn’t leave out the classical realm of music when making a roundup of holiday tunes. Whenever I listen to “Winter” from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” I imagine wrapping last-minute holiday gifts: the first section represents frantically assembling pieces of wrapping paper, the second section represents the relief of finishing wrapping all gifts and the third section represents the sudden despair of realizing you’ve forgotten to buy a gift entirely. To truly understand what I’m saying, listen to the piece; it’s a perfect tune to encapsulate the holiday vigor.


“The Nutcracker” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1892)

Continuing with the classical music theme, “The Nutcracker” always reminds me of the scene in Chris Columbus’s iconic 1997 flick, “Home Alone,” where all of the family members are frantically getting ready for their flight. There seems to be a running theme of franticness and panic in all these classical pieces, which I think is because these emotions can play a big part during the holiday seasons. Beyond this, Tchaikovsky’s enduring ballet also has many other exciting movements for the holiday season.


“Last Christmas” by Wham! (1984)

Moving on to pop songs, “Last Christmas” captures the unfortunate breakups of the season. Many popular artists such as Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift have produced covers of this song, but I strongly recommend listening to Wham’s version because it has a cozier sound to it. Whether you are going through a breakup or you simply want another holiday jam, this song is the way to go.


“All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey (1994)

The icon, the representative and the spirit of the holidays — it’s Mariah Carey. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is a modern yet classic tune that encapsulates the romantic side of the season. It’s a perfect song to jam to in your car, even if you don’t care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree. Its upbeat rhythm combined with its catchy melody is certain to get you in the holiday spirit. 

Written by: Sarah Han — arts@theaggie.org