Nat “King” Cole, Bing Crosby and Brenda Lee can rest easy: Their Christmas classics aren’t going anywhere.
But what about the new class of holiday favorites? Here’s my list of 10 Christmas songs from 2000 and beyond that are keeping the holiday tradition alive and deserve a spot on your Xmas playlist.
(Listen to the entire list on Spotify here: New Christmas Favorites)
Britney Spears, “My Only Wish (This Year)”
Sleigh bells and holiday cheer abound on this bouncy teen-pop ditty, which follows in the tradition of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
Kanye West featuring CyHi da Prynce, “Christmas in Harlem”
Many would probably think Kanye West would be a Christmas Grinch, but this warm 2010 Christmas offering finds him easing into the holiday spirit along with CyHi da Prynce, and on a remix with many more of his G.O.O.D. music comrades (including Detroit rapper Big Sean).
R. Kelly, “A Love Letter Christmas”
“This is a Christmas remix,” R. Kelly announces at the opening of this yuletide version of his 2010 hit. ‘Nuff said.
The Raveonettes, “The Christmas Song”
The Danish duo specializes in making everything around them sound pitch black, yet their Phil Spector influences take over on this 2003 Christmas offering, which predates the 2008 Christmas EP, “Wishing You a Rave Christmas.”
Justin Bieber, “Mistletoe”
Biebs’ charming little acoustic Christmas treat, which may mark the first addition of the word “shorty” into the Christmas canon.
Tori Amos, “Pink and Glitter”
Not sure exactly what pink or glitter has to do with the holidays, but listening to this gem from the great Tori Amos’ 2009 holiday album makes us want to decorate Christmas cookies with the red-haired siren for days.
Lady Gaga, “White Christmas”
Leave it to that staunch traditionalist Lady Gaga to take it upon herself to add a whole new verse to the holiday classic, with lyrics about snowmen crying what we can only imagine are tears of glitter.
Julian Casablancas, “I Wish It Was Christmas Today”
The Strokes’ lead singer brings his unflappable cool to the “SNL” chestnut, making it sound even more joyous than Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz ever envisioned.
Scott Weiland, “Happy Christmas and Many More”
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The Stone Temple Pilot must have been drunk on eggnog when he made this inscrutable calypso jam, but the more I listen to it the more obsessed I become. Advantage Weiland!
She & Him, “The Christmas Waltz”
Zooey Deschanel’s cute, unobtrusive vocals melt over her partner M. Ward’s sparse arrangements, making the pair’s Christmas set their best album to date and this song the album’s standout.