How to build the perfect Christmas playlist

The Jonas Brothers dropped their holiday single "Like It's Christmas" in early November. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons).

Right now, college students are working through arguably the most hectic time of the school year. After only six quick days of post-Thanksgiving classes, we now enter the dreaded finals crunch time. Beyond the academic chaos, December is a time of year packed with holiday preparations. This can easily become a huge source of anxiety, especially when balancing school responsibilities before leaving for winter break. Luckily, there is one simple way to help yourself through this season.

Christmas music is a blessing. With lighthearted songs about caroling, decorating, baking and spending time with loved ones, it is an incredible distraction from any negativity. No matter what holidays you celebrate, the ideas of kindness and cheer give you something to be excited about. Christmas music will keep you merry despite finals and stress easily drowning out the holiday spirit.

So to make your December a success, a quality Christmas playlist is absolutely essential. With a proper mix of classic albums and new hits, your playlist can get you through studying, cheer up walks to class or make a quality Christmas party. Here are some holiday necessities to build your own perfect playlist.

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Classic albums serve as the backbone. This obviously includes Michael Bublé’s Christmas, which no holiday season is complete without. For a more classic sound, Frank Sinatra’s Christmas Songs by Sinatra and Bing Crosby’s White Christmas are my go-tos. A few more recent releases like Another Kind of Christmas by Ne-Yo and John Legend’s A Legendary Christmas will give you hours of cheer.

Besides songs by popular artists, holiday movie soundtracks are an often overlooked place to find some classic Christmas hits. They immediately knock out any stressful thoughts and replace them with memories of watching movies while drinking hot chocolate. Elf and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are perfect, calming choices.

While I never listen to classical music, December is the one exception. A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio or music from The Nutcracker are perfect study fuel for the end of the semester.

Polar opposite to a ballet soundtrack, remember Kanye West, Run-D.M.C and Tyler, The Creator have great Christmas hits that will take your playlist to the next level. The sound of Christmas music can easily get repetitive, especially if you listen to it on repeat for over a month. Luckily these artists have a less stereotypical holiday sound, which will save you from an overload on classics. Destiny’s Child’s 8 Days of Christmas is another can’t-miss. This one is packed with so many songs that may even tempt you to listen in March.

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It is surprising how many artists and groups have Christmas music hidden in their discographies. If you take the time to dig, you may find some hidden gems. To make your holiday playlist like no other, Big Time Rush’s “All I Want for Christmas,” Sean Kingston’s “The Little Drummer Boy” and Britney Spears’ “My Only Wish (This Year)” will take it to the next level.

Of course, artists release new holiday albums and singles every year. Check their new releases to take advantage of this, and keep your playlist fresh for Christmas seasons to come. This year, I have happily added “Like It’s Christmas” by the Jonas Brothers and “Christmas Tree Farm” by Taylor Swift.

To provide the finishing touches to your playlist, you need some timeless hits. From Ariana Grande’s “Santa Tell Me” to Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” and even NSYNC’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,” these will keep every kind of listener happy. Lastly — no matter how overplayed it is — do not forget Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

While this only scratches the surface of holiday hits, these will start a playlist that will keep you rocking toward winter break and into 2020.

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