Happy holidays! ~ Team EnVi is back with another music roundup that we have curated especially for you. We hope to make your season merrier than ever and warm your heart with these eight festive songs, and many more, in our 2023 holiday playlist!

“Be There For Me” – NCT 127

NCT 127 have given their fans an early gift this year with their latest record, Be There For Me – Winter Special Single. The EP features a total of three new tracks — “Be There For Me,” “Home Alone,” and “White Lie.” Well-known for their experimental sound that can be heard in many of their title tracks, such as “Sticker” and “2 Baddies,” “Be There For Me” taps into the smooth R&B genre that thrives within the group’s B-sides. 

With gospel organ melodies, rhythmic blues piano, and an array of brass sounds, “Be There For Me” exudes an uplifting energy. This sentimental track reads like a romantic letter written for a loved one who is far away, with lyrics such as, “Run, come to me here / Hold me gently in your arms.” NCT 127 bring out the heartwarming nature of the season with “Be There For Me,” and we’re sure it’ll lift your spirits up in no time!

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“Christmas Dreaming” – Laufey

Have a very Laufey holiday with the Icelandic-Chinese artist, in her single full of Christmas cheer! Short but sweet, A Very Laufey Holiday! encapsulates the traditional Christmas spirit while still keeping the artist’s prominent jazz-inflected melody and harmony. The single’s first track, “Christmas Dreaming,” opens up with a gentle playing of chordophones, and the singer’s gentle voice following suit. From start to finish, Laufey immerses listeners in a joyous atmosphere, through the track’s auditory imagery that evokes Christmas.

Paired with the soft melody, Laufey sings about the early coming of the Christmas spirit, expressing her anticipation for the holiday season: “Your promise / Must be the reason / The happy season is here / So I’m doing / My Christmas dreaming / A little early this year.” The outro showcases spirited yet calm piano, decorating the gentle tune of the song and complimenting the singer’s tone.

The audio is accompanied by a looped home video of Laufey and her twin sister Júnia dolled up in their holiday outfits, twirling in front of their Christmas tree: a simple yet heartwarming family clip full of love and Christmas spirit.

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“Christmas Tree Farm” – Taylor Swift

Romanticism seems to always sneak its way into global pop star Taylor Swift’s music, and her 2019 holiday single “Christmas Tree Farm” is no different. Opening with swelling strings, Swift transforms the stressful nature of holidays into a cheery daydream, based off her own childhood memories (see: the “Christmas Tree Farm” music video). Chock-full of all the classic sounds of festive tracks — we’re talking a big chorus, jingle bells, and twinkly piano — “Christmas Tree Farm” is perfect to create new memories to, while reminiscing about your favorite ones, too.

From happy moments that tend to be experienced throughout the yuletide season, to overcoming homesickness, Swift captures it all in this uplifting single. She wraps up the tender message of the song as she sings, “Just bein’ in your arms / Takes me back to that little farm / Where every wish comes true.” This holiday season, we hope this song helps you cherish all the memories you’ve made, and will make, with your loved ones!

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“Someday at Christmas” – The Jackson 5

The Jackson 5 inject a burst of energy into Stevie Wonder’s 1967 Motown Christmas classic, “Someday at Christmas.” With the vibrant lead vocals of young Michael and Jermaine Jackson, complemented by the harmonious voices of their siblings, the track transforms into a spirited anthem radiating youthful optimism. The rendition’s upbeat instrumentals create an uplifting atmosphere that invites listeners to smile and dance along, despite the somber topic. 

Beneath the lively melody, the timeless plea of world peace in “Someday at Christmas” takes center stage, resonating profoundly, with the lyrics “Someday at Christmas, men won’t be boys / Playing with bombs like kids play with toys” echoing the original release’s context of the Vietnam War. The earnest youthful voices singing, “Someday at Christmas, there’ll be no wars / When we have learned what Christmas is for / When we have found what life’s really worth / There’ll be peace on earth” adds a profound emotional depth to the song. Despite their tender years, these children bear the weight of a heartfelt desire for a world unburdened by conflict. 

The Jackson 5 capture the essence of the holiday spirit, infusing “Someday at Christmas” with a vibrant, renewed sense of hope that transcends generations. 

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“santa doesn’t know you like i do” – Sabrina Carpenter

Channeling the wistfulness of Wham!’s ‘80s holiday heartbreak ballad, “Last Christmas,” Sabrina Carpenter delivers a hopelessly romantic anthem for the heartbroken this season. Off her latest EP, fruitcake, “santa doesn’t know you like i do” stands out from an abundance of covers that oversaturate the holiday genre. This retro-influenced R&B song features twinkly synths and jingle bells that will leave listeners with an overwhelming nostalgic feeling.

Playing on the idea that Santa Claus knows if you’re good, bad, and everything you’ve been up to, Carpenter argues that she knows her lover better than Old Saint Nick himself. She longingly sings, “I know all of your favorite songs / Pick up each time you call / So why can’t I be the one / To give you everything you want?” Sticking through all of the ups and downs, and fighting the chill of heartbreak during the holidays, Carpenter promises she can support her lover if given the chance. And that kind of hope and love is what this season is all about, isn’t it?

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“Favorite Time” – Eric Bellinger 

Spark some romance this holiday season with new music from Eric Bellinger! The R&B singer-songwriter has released 12 songs for the sweetest and spiciest of moods on his album Eazy Christmas. “Favorite Time” celebrates the sights and sounds of the holidays, and the idea of getting to spend those moments with a special someone. 

A chorus of strings fades into a slow, smooth beat as Bellinger sings “Playin’ out in the snow/ The lights are beautiful / It’s our favorite time of the year.” Beyond the decorations, “Favorite Time” tells us that the love shared between you and another is the “greatest investment / It’s truly a blessin’.” The relatable lyrics and effortless singing from Bellinger invite you to groove and reminisce on your own favorite details of the season. 

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“Greatest Time of Year (A&A Version)” – Aly & AJ

‘00s kids, this one’s for you! If you grew up watching Disney Channel, you probably remember them airing this festive, pop-rock hit by sister musical duo, Aly & AJ, during commercial breaks. Fast forward nearly two decades, and the sisters are still creating music together. As part of their 2023 holiday EP, Lonesome Dove, the pair revisited the nostalgic track and released an updated version that fits the sisters’ current sound. 

Swapping high-energy electric guitars and bell chimes for delicate piano, twangy guitar, and stripped down percussion, “Greatest Time of Year (A&A Version)” is gentle and warm like the holiday season. Aly & AJ shine brightly as their vocals and harmonizations lead the reimagined rendition of the sentimental song. They sweetly sing the heartwarming message, “Joy to the world / Lift up your hearts and feel the love,” capturing the magical air that only comes around this time of year.

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“Salsa Pa’ Tu Lechón” – Johnny Ventura

Bring in the holiday spirit Caribbean style with the late Dominican salsero and merenguero, Johnny Ventura, and his hit holiday classic “Salsa Pa’ Tu Lechón.” In the Dominican Republic, your typical holiday tracks are a slew of upbeat Merengue and Salsa tracks, and “Salsa Pa’ Tu Lechón” is exactly that. Released way back in 1972, the track encapsulates the vibrant energy of the island with the loud brass and drums punctuating the instrumental. Ventura sings about the celebration of the holidays, and all of the pleasures that come with the season.

The title directly translates to “salsa for your lechón,” lechón being a popular pork dish in Latin American cuisine. Throughout the track, Ventura lists the traditional foods and drinks he would enjoy during Christmas, from roasted peanuts to Agua Ardiente – a kind of spicy liquor derived from sugar cane. With his upbeat voice, Ventura urges the listener to forget all of their problems and to dance and enjoy the energy with him; to indulge in the vibe of the season. For many in the Dominican Republic, hearing Johnny Ventura blaring throughout the house is a sign that the holiday season is near, and no holiday playlist is complete without this addictive salsa track. 

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Other tracks featured in our 2023 holiday playlist include “12.24” by OMEGA X, “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande, “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Bublé, and many more. Check out our playlist curated by Team EnVi, just for you!

Can’t get enough of these holiday tunes? Check out our roundup of 10 songs to make your spirit bright here!