Playlist: The Tunes of Christmas Past

Last year, I put together a collection of my favorite holiday (read: Christmas) songs of all time, and they ranged from hip-hop to (Mexican) instrumental to Stevie Wonder. But this year, the Holigays are partnered with a strong sense of nostalgia – so I’m going back to basics (and back to the classics.) You should play this playlist at your Holigay party and make everyone wear retro gear. Or, you could light a gingerbread candle and listen to all of them at home – coupled with a fireplace video on loop in the background.

This is a judgement-free zone.


Playlist: The Tunes of Christmas Past


Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Lena Horne
Twinkle Twinkle Little Me – The Supremes
Christmas Ain’t Christmas (Without The One You Love) – The O’Jays
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Four Seasons
Christmas Day With Me – Laura Vane & the Vipertones
Jingle Bells Cha Cha Cha – Pearl Bailey
Merry Christmas All – Denise Montana & The Salsoul Orchestra
The Little Drummer Boy – Johnny Cash
The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle – Burt Bacharach
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Moss
Blue Holiday – The Shirelles
It Snowed – Meaghan Smith
Happy New Year Baby – Jo-Ann Campbell
Winter Wonderland – Peggy Lee
Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry
Sleigh Ride – Ferrante & Teicher
Here Comes Santa Claus – The Mills Brothers
My Little Drum – Vince Guaraldi
Hungover Boxing Day – The Gasoline Brothers
Comfort and Joy – Simon & Garfunkel
Angels We Have Heard On High – Aretha Franklin
Christmas Songs – Dean Martin
The Christmas Song – Smokey Robinson & The Temptations
Happy Holidays – Andy Williams
Jingle Bells – Frank Sinatra
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – The Cadillacs
The Christmas Waltz – Nancy Wilson
Sleigh Ride – Johnny Mathis
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
Merry Christmas Darling – The Carpenters
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – The Melodeers
Twistin’ Bells – Santo & Johnny
If It Doesn’t Snow on Christmas Day – Gene Autry
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Lou Rawls
Kissin’ By The Mistletoe – Aretha Franklin
This Christmas – Gladys Night & the Pips
Let it Snow (Christmas Jazz) – Ella Fitzgerald

Tunes of Christmas Past from Autostraddle on 8tracks Radio.

Want to suggest a playlist theme? Hit Stef up and someone on the team might make it for you.

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. This is the perfect background music for cleaning my apartment and preparing to go home for the holidays! Thanks Carmen!

  2. This is great! My adult students have been asking if we can sing Christmas songs in English this week and there are some nice classic versions here that I might be able to use.

  3. really nice list, Carmen. Brownie points for Gladys’ version of “This Christmas.” I had to go horse and buggy a few years back to get her holiday album “That Special Time of Year” and buy it on CD.

    From your choices I suspect somebody used to play “A Soulful Christmas” in your house during the season…me too. But if you’re going 60/70’s R&B, The Whispers should totally be on this list. Their versions of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “This Christmas” are awesome.

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