I was recently asked for my advice on songs to play for a Christmas party. I know, I know, it’s Not Even Thanksgiving Yet, but to help us prepare for the impending festive season I will now share with you the essential songs for any successful yuletime soiree. Feel free to add, amend, remonstrate with my choices, and share at will.
1. Santa Baby. The Eartha Kitt version. No other versions allowed, ever.
2. Five Pound Box of Money by Pearl Bailey. I love this song. I LOVE THIS SONG.
3. Zat You, Santa Claus? by Louis Armstrong. This one is a little spooky. And actually perfect for the between-Halloween-and-Christmas period, so get your elf shoes on the dance floor.
4. Last Christmas. You have to have Last Christmas at every Christmas party. It’s statutory. Preferably playing whilst everyone looks wistfully at a very sad, wilted bunch of mistletoe that hasn’t seen any action all evening.
5. Jingle Bell Rock. Everyone loves the Jingle Bell Rock.
6. Christmas Night in Harlem, for that Satchmo New York Christmas feeling.
7. Frank Sinatra teaching us to spell Jingle Bells. Due to the suave magnetism of Sinatra’s voice this is the only rendition of Jingle Bells in which every single line sounds like innuendo.
8. Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys. Because if the Beach Boys tell you to believe, who are you to disagree?
9. Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Again, statutory. (Even though as a feminist I object to this song on all kinds of levels. But if we let problematic gender representations ruin everything for us, we’d have a much smaller sandbox to play in.)
10. We Wanna See Santa Do the Mambo by Big John Greer. I personally have always wanted to see Santa do the mambo, and I will call you the Grinch to your face if you don’t agree.
11. For some cross-generational Christmas fun, you can’t go wrong with Bowie and Crosby doing Little Drummer Boy. Well, not exactly fun. Poignant, and moving, and reflective, and many such things, but probably not best described as fun.
12. After Santa mambos, he can Boogie Woogie for me with Mabel Scott. Boogie Woogie Santa Claus.
And finally, no Christmas season is complete without Dominic the Christmas Donkey…
Disagree with my list? Please do enlighten me as to your festive favorites!