As dreaded as finals can be, they do signify that the holiday season is finally upon us. Whether you’re cramming for an exam or putting the finishing touches on that important paper, here are some must-have songs to get into the holiday spirit.

“Sleigh Ride” by The Ronettes

If you’re looking for a more classic approach to holiday music, this is one of my personal favorites. The clanking of hooves and jingling bells at the beginning of the song make you feel like you’ve been transported into a winter wonderland.

The song is emblematic of a classic ’60s style, with a jazzy bass echoing through the background of the soulful tune.

“buy me presents” by Sabrina Carpenter

Going from a classic to something a bit more modern, Carpenter recently released her EP fruitcake — featuring light-hearted, sometimes cheeky holiday tracks.

 [Powerful performances took center stage in Kreativity Diversity Troupe’s fall showcase]

Carpenter puts an adult twist on holiday songs with lyrics surrounding the desire for a partner to buy her gifts. My favorite lyric from this track is “If you’re not gonna race here from the North Pole to Beverly Hills/ Just to keep my stockin’ filled/ Well, I know somebody who will.” This gives a welcome PG-13 feel to a more traditional style of song. 

“Hot Chocolate” by Tyler, The Creator (feat. Jerry Paper)

This song is not usually included on holiday playlists, but I think it deserves more recognition. After collaborating with Illumination to make music for a remake of “The Grinch,” Tyler, The Creator released an entire EP of Whoville-inspired music. 

“Hot Chocolate” leans more into R&B than most of its peers on this list, with Tyler’s known synth piano sound and use of horns in the background of the beat. 

“What Christmas Means To Me” by Stevie Wonder

This song is always on my queue during the holiday season. Wonder’s soaring vocals make you feel like you’re in a classic holiday comedy.

The track stays true to his iconic soul style with jazzy trumpets and a harmonica riff, celebrating everything one can experience and be grateful for during the holiday season.

[Basic or pretentious: The anxiety behind Spotify Wrapped perceptions]

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Phoebe Bridgers

Slowing things down a bit, this song is a sentimental classic and has been covered by many iconic artists. But I found Bridgers’ version to be heartfelt and portraying a beautiful kind of melancholy. 

Bridgers uses her light and airy voice accompanied by a strumming guitar to tug at heartstrings. This cover adds a beautiful yet somber mood to the song, reminding us it’s OK for the holidays to not always be the cheeriest time.” 

“The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)” by Nat King Cole

I’m ending this playlist inspiration with one of my all-time favorite holiday songs. Nat King Cole’s smooth voice makes you feel like you’re in the midst of a wholesome family holiday gathering, gathering around the warmth of the fire and twinkling lights of the Christmas tree.

The song feels like a warm blanket wrapped around you, with the rich sound of violins and Cole’s comforting voice evoking the warmth of the holidays.