For those of you who take pride in your curated holiday playlists, I have some disappointing news. As COVID cases rise, another potential lockdown looms, and the “powers that be” continue to cap the capacity of our social gatherings, it’s safe to say that your awesome holiday playlist isn’t going to have a very large audience this year.

Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. I’m sure your playlist rocks. But let’s look on the bright side. With fewer friends around to impress this year, there’s no better time to explore some new songs to work into your holiday music rotation.

If you’re surprised that new holiday music even exists, you aren’t the only one. Plenty of new holiday songs are released by the biggest pop stars and most hopeful indie artists on a yearly basis. Yet most of this music gets completely lost, forgotten, and/or disregarded in the formidable shadow cast by the holiday classics we’ve come to know and love.

Don’t get me wrong – in a year defined by unpredictability, the most cliché holiday jingles feel more endearing than ever. But a unique year deserves a unique holiday soundtrack. Instead of songs about jingle bells and frosty the snowman, 2020 deserves songs about watching Home Alone while being home alone. It deserves songs about Christmas’ effect on underprivileged communities. Most of all, it deserves songs about desperately needing the comfort of the holiday season after such a difficult year for so many people.

New listeners beware: it’s very difficult to work contemporary songs into your traditional holiday playlists. The holiday music we listen to year after year virtually never changes. Any new songs that try to breach that bubble of holiday music immortality fail time after time, not because they’re bad, but because they don’t sound familiar to us. You won’t be able to sing along to these new holiday songs. You won’t recognize any of the melodies. But as long as you lean into the fact that these songs have a lot more to offer than meets the eye, you might walk away with some incredible additions to your traditionally cookie cutter holiday playlist.

To the holliest and jolliest of holiday music nerds, there’s plenty more contemporary holiday songs worth exploring for your seasonal playlists. Check out the holiday playlists from the past few year in any of the following posts:

A Very FeenyFresh Christmas 2019

A Very FeenyFresh Christmas 2018

A Very FeenyFresh Christmas 2017

A Very FeenyFresh Christmas 2016