Caramoor’s staff rounded up 22 songs to put you in the holiday spirit this season. Read on to see why these songs were chosen and listen to the playlist!
Listen to the playlist on Spotify:
See all of our staff picks below, and share some of your Holiday favorites with us!
Fantasia on Christmas Carols / Ralph Vaughan Williams
I love the winter season and its tradition of choral works, originating from stories from sacred literature. For this choral singer, it has always been a reason to gather and join together in traditional song and bring warmth and community to dark nights. This year’s season, rather void of traditional services and choirs, feels very different and the nostalgia, such a typically joyful marker of Christmas, is now heart-breaking in its palpable presence.
Ralph Vaughan William’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols is one piece that has always brought me so much joy to sing and now, to listen to, yearning to be back in the choir pews. Vaughan Williams, too, motivated by his love and nostalgia for the season collected English carols throughout his life and published them in several anthologies and different larger works throughout his life. This Fantasia, written in 1912 is solemn and exuberant at the same time, a fitting piece for a year so marked by so much tragedy, but also underlined by a sense of hope and love.
-Ellie Gisler Murphy, Senior Artistic Planning Manager
What Are You Doing New Years Eve? / Cover by Ella Fitzgerald (Original song by Frank Loesser, 1947)
Not the most popular song we hear as background music in commercials, or shopping through the aisles of Home Goods, but this rendition of “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” is a favorite of mine. For one, it’s non-denominational, which I don’t mind. But, I just love it for this year because this question is just going to be asked so many times. The lyrics even call it the ‘jackpot question’, knowing it holds weight in its words. More over, I appreciate how laid back she sings this, which is perfect for these lyrics. She wants to ask a big question, but in a subtle and nondescript way, and I think her vocal style on this song captures that. Enjoy!
-Roslyn Wertheimer, Marketing Manager
Do You Hear What I Hear / Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston with a gospel choir, just the most amazing performance of this old hymn. She brought magic to everything she sang.
-Roanne Wilcox, Director of the Rosen House
Ma’oz Tzur (feat. Nicolette Robinson) / Leslie Odom Jr.
What a wonderful rendition of this song! It is different enough to modernize it but still pay homage to a tune I’ve sung since I was a baby! Every night of Chanukah, my family sings this song after lighting the candles, as many others do, so a fresh take is certainly welcome. You can literally hear the love Leslie and Nicolette share, whether you understand the words they are singing or not, and I am so glad he was able to represent his wife’s faith on his new holiday album. It is truly moving to hear such a jazzy and romantic rendition sung by two talented Broadway powerhouse
-Liat Greif, Executive Assistant & Board Liaison
Louisiana Christmas Day / Aaron Neville
My family listens to Aaron Neville’s Christmas album every year…we love Zydeco and all things New Orleans. It adds some spice and tempo to a cold time. Here is one of my favorites.
-Nina Curley, Interim CEO and VP/Chief Development Officer
Fairytale of New York / by Rostam (originally by The Pogues)
I grew up loving Irish music (mostly from St. Patrick’s Day parades), so this has always been one of my favorite holiday songs since it pulls so much from that region. Rostam, who was a member of Vampire Weekend released this cover in 2017 about a year after he formally left Vampire Weekend (though he has still worked with them in other contexts.) The song itself can get a little down at times, but it ends on a hopeful note, which sounds like this year to me.
-Alex Cutrone, Director of Ticketing & Guest Relations
Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow /TENET Vocal Artists
This African-American spiritual was unfamiliar to me until TENET performed it on our Christmas livestream this year. The tune most likely came from slaves on plantations on islands off the coast of Georgia and North Carolina. I see the lyrics as a metaphor for rising up and escaping slavery; it celebrates the birth of Christ but it’s also a song of revolution and liberation. I love the arrangement by Jonathan Woody, who’s also singing in this recording. Though I have nothing to compare it to, I’m sure there’s no better version than this!
-Kathy Schuman, VP, Artistic Director
Christmas Time is Here / Vince Guaraldi Trio
It is feeling like a Vince Guaraldi Trio Holiday Season for the Delfins. I haven’t watched Charlie Brown’s Christmas in a while and this year I am drawn to it. Maybe it’s the way Schultz portrays the “humanness” of his characters. There is something comforting knowing that we have shared experiences especially right now. This being human is messy and thrilling all at the same time. We’ll be chilling this year and this music will be playing at our house.
-Tahra L. Delfin, VP and Chief Marketing Officer
Cool Yule /Louis Armstrong and The Commanders
Louis Armstrong is a voice from my childhood and one of my earliest introductions to music and how it can be filled with fun and energy.
-Karla Stewart, Human Resources Coordinator
White Christmas / Bing Crosby
If there was chicken noodle soup of songs, this would be mine. White Christmas is title song of the iconic Christmas movie “White Christmas” and a movie I watch at least twice a year. Even in the heat of July! No holiday playlist would be complete without this Irving Berlin classic; this single has sold over 50 million copies worldwide!
-Brittany Knapp, Membership Assistant & Donar Concierge
Merry Christmas Darling / The Carpenters
This one hits close to home for many people this year, as its about wanting to see someone for Christmas that you can’t see. This helps me to look forward to future celebrations with those I love.
-Sean Jones, Marketing Coordinator