Music can make or break any party. But the stakes are even higher at a holiday party.

Now, conventional wisdom suggests that a purely holiday-song-filled playlist is doomed from the start—that there’s some unspoken need for generic party jams to keep things moving.

We’re here to disagree. That’s not how you win the holidays.

You win the holidays by playing a wintry mix of soul, rock, synthesized ballads and rap. At some point, just about every musician worth their salt has done a holiday song—if not an entire album. Pick any artist you might regularly throw into a party mix and there’s a good chance they’ve sung about their winter escapades. James Brown, for instance, has an entire double album—albeit, it sounds like he ad-libbed and good-God!-ed through the whole thing at 4am on Christmas Eve (rest assured: James Brown loves you), but there are definitely a few gems in there.

In that vein, we picked the brains of our most festive and music-savvy editors to make the ultimate holiday party playlist—all holiday-themed, all merriment-inducing. (Naturally, we held on to a few of the old standbys.) And we’ve put all 25 songs together on Spotify.

In no particular order and for your holiday party consumption: Kempt’s Holiday Party Playlist. Enjoy.

—N.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Najib Benouar