When we think of the holidays, we think of family traditions, holiday foods, and parties. We also think of the soundtrack that follows us until the new year. Holiday music carries memories and emotions for all of us. While we still play music from CDs, record players, and playlists, the rise of streaming services has changed the game. Now, you can search by theme, style or even artist and music can play for hours. So here are ten of the best holiday music streaming services.
1. YouTube Holiday Playlist 2029
Filtr’s Christmas Songs playlist has 131 songs and growing. Artists range from Elvis and Bing Crosby classics to contemporary hits from Train and Ariana Grande. This playlist will cover all the bases for a night of tree trimming with family or your next get together. YouTube has YouTube accounts for more than half of all music streaming content. Other playlists include a 10-hour hotel jazz mix for the holidays, classical, 80’s, standards and contemporary playlists.
2. YourClassical Holiday Stream
YourClassical.org offers free streaming of classical music from Minnesota Public Radio and Public Radio International. The Holiday Programming Schedule has daily broadcasts for the holiday season. Many playlists on this free streaming site are curated by theme (think Music Inspired by Autumn and Chanticleer Christmas). There are also programs called Classical Kids Storytime and Daily Downloads of music suggestions.
3. Spotify New Music Holiday
For a switch from tradition, try Spotify’s New Music Holidays. It’s a refreshing, modern alternative to past playlists. Stream for free (if you don’t mind the music being shuffled and ads). For $10/month, you can lose the ads and have more control over your music. You will find playlists for Indy, Blues, Jazz and many others — including Parentology’s playlists.
4. A Funky Gospel Christmas on Pandora
Celebrate the “good news” with this 95 song setlist of uplifting music. With Pandora, you can enjoy streaming music for free, with ads. Spend $5/month and you will get to search the extensive database, listen without ads, and skip as many tunes as you’d like. For $10/month, you can also make and share your own playlists. The genres are as diverse as other streaming services.
5. iHeartRadio North Pole Radio
If you are looking for a mix that’s hosted by the man with the bag himself, Santa, this is for you. This playlist is perfect for family tree trimming and singalongs to running errands. This app and streaming service is like having the world’s largest transistor radio. The service has a single iHeartChristmas station but will recommend stations across the country.
6. Today’s R&B Christmas Google Play Music
Christmas music performed by R&B icons for a smooth and groovy holiday. Like most free streaming, there are ads in the playlists. If you already have a Google Account, a premium subscription will eliminate the ads. But with over 40 stations to choose from, you’re going to find a station for every taste.
8. iTunes Holiday Playlist
Is a traditional list of holiday music your jam? iTunes has several playlists. This one is the most straight forward. Everyone at the party will recognize these songs. If you have an Apple computer you have iTunes. There are curated, genre-based playlists form Apple, celebrities, and programmers. Your $25 annual subscription will allow for ad-free tunes.
9. LiveXLive Eclectic Holiday
This mix of jazz, rock and alternative artists will satisfy all the guests at your next holiday party. With more than 40 holiday stations, it’s hard to go wrong with this service. Like most selections on the best holiday music streaming services on this list, a membership level of $4 or $10 will eliminate ads and offer customization and offline listening.
The title says it all. This playlist of 30 tracks harkens back to classic movies. Use this for a holiday cocktail party. 8tracks has hundreds of playlists that are created by the users. The $5/month rate will offer an ad-free, all the hits and deep dives to boot.
Many of these streaming sites have apps that allow you to take the music with you or stream to your Roku, Apple TV, or another home system. If you don’t mind the occasional ad (like to good old days with radios), a free account is a way to go. If you want ad-free music and more custom options, a subscription might be for you. Be sure to read the fine print to make sure the subscription is giving you all the best option for you and works on your devices.