In 15-plus years of curating Christmas playlists for WBEZ’s Sound Opinions, Andy Cirzan has rarely repeated a song from his 2,000 holiday albums. The Jam Productions exec gives his tips for building a wicked party soundtrack. 

Be original.

“The same old Christmas music year in and year out is a bummer. Get off the beaten path and find some obscure vinyl, such as ‘Peppermint Choo Choo’ by Joanie Sommers.”

But wait to get weird.

“If you organize your playlist like an album, what would you want the opening song to be? You can start being goofy around track 4.”

Focus on flow.

“If you’re going superfast, then all of a sudden crashing into dirges, it’s a party killer.”

Have a purpose.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as ‘I’m going to find 10 holiday jazz tracks.’ This year, mine is all Southern hillbilly music, including ‘Christmas Tree’ by Sandy and Patty.”

Cirzan’s Playlist

  • “All I Want For Christmas Is A Go-Go Girl,” Ben Hinds
  • “Christmas Rock ’N Roll,” Sylvia Reid
  • “Christmas Tree,” Sandy and Patty
  • “Christmastime (Is Here),” Cupid!
  • “Here I am, It's Christmas,” Louis Meeks
  • “The Holiday Season,” King Coleman
  • “The Icicle Man,” Precision Plastics Corp
  • “I Know There's a Santa Claus,” Donna & The Dees
  • “Jingle Bells,” Urbie Green And His All-Stars
  • “Menehune Santa,” Larry Rivera
  • “Pancho Claus,” Lalo Guerrero
  • “The Peppermint Choo Choo,” Joanie Sommers
  • “Rudolph Pouts,” Israfel’s Son
  • “Shepherds & Wisemen,” The Free Design
  • “Sleigh Ride,” Herb Geller
  • “Snow Bunny,” Magnus T. Cook & The Oath of Sound
  • “Snowflakes Pt 1,” Betty Lloyd
  • “Snowflakes and Frozen Lakes,” Pac-Man Christmas Album
  • “Space Age Santa,” Gus De Wert Trio
  • “What Would Santa Claus Think If He Knew You'd Been Drinking Again,” Billy Egr