The air is turning colder, the lights are flickering on and I’m pretty sure I faintly smell chestnuts roasting on an open fire. It’s officially Christmas season, and what better way to celebrate than by listening to the magical music of the season? As a person who has over 200 Christmas songs in my playlist, I feel qualified to tell you that there is a Christmas song for every feeling. I desperately had to narrow down 200 songs and cut out some of my favorites (sorry Pentatonix). Here are 12 Christmas songs that perfectly match any emotion you may feel this year.
To get in the Christmas spirit
There is no better way to get into the spirit of the season than with the song “We Need a Little Christmas.” This song has been recorded many times over the last 55 years, but I recommend Idina Menzel’s 2019 version. This song is a great introduction into the season because it’s all about hope and preparing for an exciting holiday. You can even follow the song and decorate your place to match the décor in the lyrics.
For when you’re feeling down
2021 has been a year. We are still in the midst of COVID-19, and the never ending news cycle can get overwhelming. If you feel like you need a little hope in your life “I Need You Christmas” by the Jonas Brothers is sure to make you feel warm inside. With lyrics like “Times have been lonely / And lately, I just feel alone / I need you, Christmas,” it may offer some comfort to hear people feel the same way you do.
For when you are falling in love
Every great Christmas romantic comedy made after 2011 features “Cold December Night” by Michael Bublé (the unofficial King of modern-day Christmas songs). If you want to romanticize your life, turn on this song while you are prancing around in the snow with your significant other or throwing flour at each other while baking cookies. However, it is required that at least one of you lives in the big city and is considered awful because you like your job. I don’t make the rules.
If you are going through a break up
No song is better to sob-sing to than “Last Christmas” by Wham!. It’s the best dramatic song of the season with whispery anecdotes and George Michael’s lamenting voice. The most heartbreaking lyrics include “I'm hiding from you and your soul of ice / My God, I thought you were someone to rely on / Me? I guess I was a shoulder to cry on.” After crying in your bathtub and listening to this song, you’ll forget all about your breakup.
When you are missing home
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas'' is a classic Christmas song that has been done many times. When finals are kicking in and you’re getting homesick, ready to be home for the holidays, play this song or send it to your loved ones. It’s a good reminder of what is just around the corner, but beware, Frank Sinatra’s old school crooner voice may put you in your nostalgic feels.
When you are feeling nostalgic
This list wasn’t going to be complete without a Taylor Swift song. Everyone who celebrates Christmas remembers how it was in their childhood: decorating with loved ones, baking cookies to leave for Santa and the pure anticipation of the jolly man in the red coat leaving presents under your tree. Christmas changes as we get older, but “Christmas Tree Farm” can return you to simpler times with its reminiscent lyrics and upbeat melody.
If you are feeling lonely in quarantine
I never thought I’d say that there is a Christmas song that fully encapsulates what it’s like during a pandemic in the holiday season, but I am saying that. “Quarantine Christmas” by John Lindahl came out in 2020, but a lot of the lyrics still apply to this year. With his smooth R&B voice and plucky guitar, you may forget you’re in quarantine for a blissful three minutes and 21 seconds.
When you’re dreaming of a white Christmas
Even though we live in a wintery state, I cannot remember the last time fresh snow fell on Christmas day. If you hopelessly want a snowy Christmas, “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby will give you all the flurries. You can even listen to it in the 1954 movie of the same name to get really sentimental.
When you feel like dancing
“This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway is the best song for pretending you are headlining your own show. The hook of this 1970 soul song is so catchy you will be singing it long after Christmas. Add fuzzy socks and a fake microphone to really experience all this song has to offer.
When you are in a giving mood
“Someday at Christmas” by Stevie Wonder is the perfect song to inspire change. The 1967 song has uplifting lyrics like “Someday at Christmas man will not fail / Hate will be gone and love will prevail / Someday a new world that we can start / With hope in every heart.” This song will remind you of the true meaning of the season and make you want to give back to your community.
When you are feeling excited for the upcoming holidays
Nothing gets me more excited for Christmas than “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson. The song is what I like to call a modern-day classic. This song is about cherishing your loved ones. I don’t know if it’s Clarkson’s powerful voice or the way the music builds with crescendo, but it is a cheery song that is sure to put you in a good mood.
When you want to belt out a classic
It is absolutely vital that everyone listens to “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey. Is it really Christmas without Mariah’s whistling high notes with jingle bells in the background? This song is for when you want to scream-sing your heart out and dance around your room like no one is watching — no significant other required.