Nothing can ruin a Christmas music buzz like eight consecutive years of working in holiday retail. I have consequently become notoriously picky with my seasonal tunes. Here's a sampling of some songs I can still tolerate:
1. Christmas Wrapping The Waitresses
The horns make me need to dance. And the rest comes close to (rhythmically and lyrically) mimicking the madness of the season, which is sometimes such a whirlwind you can barely enjoy it.
2. Do They Know It’s Christmas? Band Aid
Those first few dramatic notes chime in, and I still get giddy. This song taught me to appreciate the indulgent Western culture I was lucky enough to be born into, and also about how a group of UK-based musicians will always PWN a group from the US (e.g. the god-awful We are the World).
3. O Holy Night Sufjan Stevens
This song first captured my heart during a redemptive scene in Home Alone. In search of the definitive version, I stumbled upon Mr. Stevens, and fell in love all over again. His rendition is so true to the spirit of the tradition; lush and operatic enough to catch me off guard and deliver the chills I was after.
4. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Christmas Time Is Here Vince Guaraldi
Trio It sounds as comforting as the first soft snowfall of the season, when your bed is warm, the sky is gray, and you can go back to sleep.
5. Let Me Sleep (It’s Christmas Time) Pearl Jam
Maybe it’s my obsessive history with this band, but I think they have managed to transcend the insincerity of so much 90s Christmas rock. The sparse, distant-sounding instrumentation screams of past emotions; the kind that Christmas always promised to soothe as a kid, but turned out to only intensify with age. It's actually much more enjoyable than I just made it sound.