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Turn off 'Let It Snow': Diversify your holiday playlist with these underrated tracks

Expanding your holiday playlist to include more than just the Christmas classics might seem intimidating, but you can't go wrong with giving yourself the gift of these recommendations.  – Photo by Jason Lei

The holiday season is my favorite time of the year by far. The world gets a little more magical, and it’s nice to have a fitting playlist while you make cookies, drink hot chocolate or celebrate the holidays at a festive party.

While the classic holiday hits are classics for a reason, it can be a little repetitive to listen to the same bunch of songs year after year. This winter, try mixing it up a bit by adding a few of these underrated holiday songs to your playlist.

“If Every Day Was Like Christmas” — Elvis

While "Blue Christmas" is a classic, you might be a little tired of hearing it every year — try this lesser-known Elvis Christmas song instead. "If Every Day Was Like Christmas" really captures the wonder of the holidays and will make you appreciate the season a bit more. This song has such an old-fashioned and nostalgic sound that makes me wonder how it’s not a classic already.

“Christmas All Over Again" — Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

While this song is played a little more than some others on this list, it still gets a lot less air time compared to the other songs we hear during this time of year. Petty's song describes all the traditions we partake in every year but still manage to look forward to. It’s a catchy song, and one of my holiday favorites.

“River” — Joni Mitchell

If you’re looking for a more subtle holiday song this winter, this one might be for you as it's not explicitly about Christmas. While "River" itself isn’t really underrated, it’s rarely on holiday-related playlists or played on the radio during this time of year.

Mitchell’s song takes the perspective of a woman going through a breakup during the holiday season. The song samples from “Jingle Bells” and contemplates the regrets that come with a failed relationship. It’s the perfect song if you’re not up for the holiday cheer this winter.

“‘Zat You, Santa Claus?” — Louis Armstrong

This song has all the ingredients to be an overplayed Christmas song. It’s about Santa, it’s fun and upbeat — and it’s by music legend Louis Armstrong.

Despite that, I never hear this song on the radio, but it’s certainly worth a listen. It's reminiscent of the childhood excitement felt when Santa Claus is on his way, and it's so catchy it’ll still be in your head come New Year’s Eve.

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” — Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald’s voice is magical and the ideal tone for the season. This song has a wistful and romantic feel that makes it truly special to listen to, and it's the perfect song to ring in the new year.

Besides: There aren’t enough New Year’s songs. If you're looking for one, you can’t go wrong with Fitzgerald.

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” — Phoebe Bridgers

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" is probably my favorite Christmas song. Though, I haven't heard this cover much, and it's never on the radio.

Phoebe Bridgers manages to capture the bittersweet feel of the original while adding her own style to it. Of course, her style means adding even more melancholy to the original.

“All Alone on Christmas” — Darlene Love and the E Street Band

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is a classic holiday song for a reason. If you’re like me and listen to it every year, there's another Darlene Love Christmas song to add to your playlist — "All Alone on Christmas."

It may not be the hit that Love’s more famous, well-known classic is, but it has the same feel and deserves more attention. It's also perfect for New Jersey natives, as it features members of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.

“It’s Christmas, But it’s Not White Here in Our Town” — Kishi Bashi

I had never heard of this artist or the song before until it popped up on a playlist — and I instantly fell in love with it. It’s short, sweet and the perfect vibe for the background of an ice skating date or a walk through your neighborhood on Christmas Eve.

While everyone loves listening to holiday hits by Mariah Carey and Nat King Cole every year, it’s nice to mix up your playlist with something new. Turn off the holiday hits stations this year, and take a chance on a few of these underrated holiday songs.


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