Yes, holiday songs can be cheesy and too often come with a side of eye rolls and unenthused groans—but they don’t have to.
Here are five songs that even the grumpiest of Scrooges can appreciate at your holiday office party this year.
“Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects” by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
The late Sharon Jones helped redefine the holiday-album genre with the release of her album, “It’s a Holiday Soul Party,” last year. The song “No Chimneys in the Projects” mixes party-worthy dance vibes with an inspirational ode to Jones’ mother who created holiday magic with little means.
“What Christmas Means to Me” by Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder brings his soulful rhythm and voice to this Motown classic—so good it’s difficult to not stomp your feet along. Written by Allen Story, Anna Gordy Gaye and George Gordy, the song has been recorded by several artists (ahem, Hanson), but it’s tough to live up to Wonder’s quintessential sound.
“(It Must’ve Been Ol’) Santa Claus” by Harry Connick Jr.
Another soulful singer, born and raised in New Orleans, Harry Connick Jr. brings that shoulder-shaking New Orleans jazz rhythm to this holiday jingle about a boy spying on Santa Claus.
“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon & Yoko Ono
Leave it to John Lennon and Yoko Ono to turn a war protest song into a Christmas classic. The song, inspired by the couple’s 1969 ad campaign “War Is Over (If You Want It),” was recorded in 1971 at the height of the Vietnam War. With backup vocals from the Harlem Community Choir, the song not only spreads holiday cheer but a larger global message of peace and love.
“Christmas Time Is Here” by Vince Guaraldi Trio
If a choir of angelic Peanuts characters from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” can’t put you in a good mood, then it’d be difficult to find something that can. The subtle ballad is a reminder that the holidays are about more than presents or your company’s holiday bonus.