An alternative playlist for the holiday season

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a stream of holiday music. We hear it everywhere — from the speakers in glitzy department stores to our own apartments — as we deck the halls with our roommates.

It’s a constant and audible reminder of sweater weather, peppermint mochas, the beauty of having family and friends and — most importantly — the approach of winter break (let’s disregard the looming burden of finals for now).

But when we unintentionally listen to “Jingle Bells” 10 times per day, only to have it repeatedly ringing in the depths of our heads while studying, we can’t help but throw our hands up in exasperation. For all of us who need a break from these jingles but still want the fuzzy feelings associated with them, here are some suggestions for spicing up those holiday playlists to be as palatable as hot apple cider.

Contemporary covers of holiday songs

While these are still the songs that we know, love and are trying to take a vacation from, pop covers can make these songs seem entirely new — and hopefully counter the widespread versions that we keep hearing on 96.5 KOIT.

A group known for its alternative renditions of all sorts of popular songs is Pentatonix. From its cover of the Christmas song “Little Drummer Boy” to its most recent holiday album A Pentatonix Christmas — which contains a timely cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” —  these a cappella giants do not disappoint.

Songs from our childhoods

A main motif linked with the holidays is joy, and as hard-working and sleep-deprived college students, we haven’t really felt that in a while. Why not evoke the simpler days of yore to feel happy once more?

Listen to the “High School Musical” soundtrack. Sing and dance along as loudly as you can. Feel like a kid again, one who doesn’t have to worry about assignments and grades. Now that’s real joy.

Original holiday-centered songs

The genre of holiday music is dynamic, but there are certain songs that go on to become classics, such as Mariah Carey’s 1994 hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Sure, this isn’t a traditional carol with a long history, but it’s become one of those songs that gets blasted from every street corner.

Why not combat the strangely rapturous nature of these songs with similar ones that somehow, sadly, didn’t make it onto the mainstream radio waves?

A gem of an album with such songs is the legendary Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Snoop Dogg Presents Christmas in tha Dogghouse. (Clearly, his vision of releasing a Christmas album wasn’t just a fiction from “Pitch Perfect 2.”) Released in 2008, this compilation album features many rappers who untraditionally spit some sick beats centered on the traditions of the holiday season.

We hope these playlist suggestions help get you through many holiday dinners, shopping sprees and gift-wrapping sessions!

Contact Ericka Shin at [email protected].

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