There are a few key things you need in order to throw a truly great holiday party. Food and drinks are certainly at the top of the list, you’ll need a certain element of decoration and festive spirit, but the most important thing for a holiday party to have, is a killer soundtrack. It’d be easy to just throw on a Christmas album or hit shuffle on a Spotify playlist, but if you want to show that you’re truly dedicated to the holiday spirit, then it’s in your best interest to make a playlist of your own.
The most important thing to consider is your audience. Do you have a more chill group of friends who are just getting together for a few drinks and some conversation? Instrumentals are always a good option. Play them at a low volume to create a festive atmosphere while also not drowning out friendly conversation, but if you’re anything like me, your friends are loud and here to have a good time.
A good holiday party playlist will start off slow. Don’t start with the hits, keep it slow and subtle while people trickle in. For this, I’d recommend some choice instrumentals interspersed with the old classics, I’m talking, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby. Songs like Silver Bells, Let It Snow and Little Drummer Boy. These songs will create the ambience to kick-off the party but won’t get things going too fast. Start the playlist off with about a half hour of these songs, then you can get yourself into some of the more upbeat and modern hits. (Sidenote, make sure you build up to the hits, don’t put Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas next to Dean Martin’s Silver Bell’s).
Now that you’ve established a partying mood, which should take up 15-20 minutes of your playlist, you can have some fun. Pretty much anything goes from here on in. Throw your favourite holiday tracks in the mix with some more upbeat classics. Be careful not to go too somber and kill the mood, but in general, have some fun with this section of your playlist, it should probably be the longest. This will depend on how long you’re planning to be entertaining for, but a solid few hours of these songs is a good rule of thumb.
The last thing you need to consider is the end of the party. The last few songs you play can be a great way to say “This was fun, but please get out now”. There’s nothing worse than a party that drags on too long because a few people don’t know when to call it a night. The music you play can be a subtle way to hint to them that the night is coming to an end. My favourite way to end a Holiday Party playlist (and this is just me), is with What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve, it adds a sense of closure to the party, but with the promise that you’ll be getting together again soon.
Ultimately, no two people are going to have the same holiday party playlist. What works for your party is largely going to depend on who you invite and what they like to listen to, but in general, if you follow this guide, you’ll have a playlist to set the mood and keep your guests occupied for hours.