Look, if you want to hate Christmas music, that’s fine. I’m sure your blackened soul will make it to January reputation intact. But I’m a holiday song connoisseur, and no, I don’t care what you think.
During the holidays we’re subjected to hours of astonishingly bad renditions of O Holy Night and campy ballads about mistletoe, as in, rhymes with snow! (Yeah, I’m looking at you, Bieber.) But, at the core of this musical merchandising vehicle is a wonderful yearly tradition that connects us with genres and artists that might be otherwise lost to us. I discovered some of my favorite artists, like Brenda Lee, through listening to their greatest holiday hits as a kid. And like wine, the stuff only seems to get better with age. This means I’ll gladly take a vintage Burl over a Biebs any day.
This season, we’ve put our favorite holiday classics (new and old) into one 40-song playlist. Otis Redding, The Ronettes, Chuck Berry mix it up with the likes of Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and Elvis, while still making room for newcomers like Sufjan Stevens and The Waitresses. We’ve even added our two favorite Hanukkah tracks. If you’ve got any other suggestions, please drop them in the comments.
Head over to TIME’s Spotify page for the yuletide cheer – even you Grinches. It’s never too late to embrace your inner holly jolly.