The Ideal Playlist for Your Holiday Party

With the perfect playlist, you can help ensure your family enjoys the party you're hosting.

Holiday party planning for the whole family has fallen to you, and you're less than enthused. Perhaps you've got that grandparent who's uptight about basically everything, or the particular aunt with some ... questionable statements after two extremely dry martinis. Any variation on the "conflict-prone family member" theme can lead to trouble, and no amount of spiked eggnog makes it bearable.

How do you minimize the chances of a disagreement? Specifics vary by family, but you can often use music as an aid to please the crowd, keep spirits high, or start conversations about music and pop culture that keep folks distracted from more contentious topics. To majorly improve the experience and keep your hands free to wrangle your aunt away from her third martini, take refuge with this playlist and the Polk Assist smart speaker. 

Songs to include

You don't have to limit yourself to holiday tunes, but don't overcomplicate things: Make the playlist a blend of reliable crowd-pleasers - classic rock, contemporary hits - and Christmas favorites. First, some general suggestions:

  • Drake, "Hold On, We're Going Home"
  • David Bowie, "Space Oddity"
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Down On The Corner"
  • Stevie Wonder, "Isn't She Lovely"
  • Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody"


Then the holiday essentials:

  • Bruce Springsteen, "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town"
  • Mariah Carey, "All I Want for Christmas"
  • Nat King Cole, "The Christmas Song"
  • John Coltrane, "My Favorite Things"
  • Donny Hathaway, "This Christmas"
  • Kacey Musgraves, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
  • Run-DMC, "Christmas in Hollis"


What to avoid

First, no novelty tunes - "Dominic the Donkey," "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer," the Chipmunks songs, and so on. They're more likely to irritate than amuse. 

Think carefully about including overtly denominational holiday songs, unless you know with certainty that your guests would enjoy them. Finally, avoid problematic or almost-universally-loathed tracks. These make our blood boil:

  • Any version of "Baby It's Cold Outside"
  • Jackson 5, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
  • Paul McCartney, "Wonderful Christmastime" 


Making the most of Polk

Listen to your holiday playlist with the impressive sonic dimension of the Polk Assist - it works with Chromecast-compatible streaming services to support your tunes with elevated voice control. Ask Google to pause, play, skip tracks, adjust volume - its seamless. Search for related music, ask questions about your favorite artist, have Google tell holiday jokes and much more. Even your grandfather can't complain about that. Probably.