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Your soundtrack for the season

THERE’S FINALLY SNOW on the ground, exams are starting to wind down, and Starbucks’ eggnog latte has returned at last. This can mean only one thing: The holidays are upon us. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or prefer to curl up with a steamy mug of spite and watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: The need for cheesy winter tunes. Here are 10 of the best songs to include on a seasonal soundtrack.

10) “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey
Attention prepubescent boys: Mariah Carey wants you. No, not actually–she’s got Nick Cannon. Though the love-sick pop staple may be enough to make any single squirm, couples everywhere can cuddle together while listening, drenched in Carey’s eight-octave holiday ballad.

9) “Jingle Bell Rock”
Around the holidays, “rocks” are what keep my whisky company, but rocks can also be in the form of jingle bells. Originally recorded in 1957 by Bobby Helms, this raucous tune continues to provide bushels of fun for carolers.

8) “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”
You’d better watch out! No, seriously. Lock your doors and windows: Santa Claus knows when you’re sleeping and he knows when you’re awake. Screw being good—be prepared. If you spot Jolly St. Creep, hightail it out of town.

7) “I’ll be Home for Christmas”
Remember Jonathan Taylor Thomas? Neither do I. The ‘90s heartthrob starred in a much-loathed holiday film by the same name—a film about the long and winding travel home. Though a cinematic flop, the film and song still manage to strike a chord: Every student counts down the days in December, visions of home dancing in their heads.

6) “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
What’s Christmas without a little kink?

5) “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”
You’d be hard-pressed to find a six year old this side of the North Pole who hasn’t shouted this during the entire drive to, well, grandma’s.

4) “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”
This song, originally recorded in 16th-century England, depicts an old English tradition wherein the rich bestowed delightful treats on passing carollers–but if you’re thinking Turtles and Baileys, think again. As the song reveals, the “delights” included figgy puddings–two words I refuse to Google together.
3) “Winter Wonderland”
The classic imagery of the song’s winter wonderland is all too common for those of us who have been around Ottawa more than a year. Originally recorded in 1934, the song remains a must-listen at least once a year–though hopefully from a Caribbean-bound airplane.

2) “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” covered by She and Him
It seems anything Zooey Deschanel and her giant puppy-dog eyes touch turns to pure indie gold. Deschanel and bandmate M. Ward prove this to be true with their cover of this rocking holiday favourite.

1) “Cowboys’ Christmas Ball” by The Killers
I’m not normally a Killers fan—because, well, I have ears—but this song provides a much-needed break from the overwrought power ballads so often heard in mainstream holiday music.

        —Jessie Willms