In 2011, I winnowed a growing iTunes holiday music catalog into a song-a-day Christmas Playlist. It was a fun project that sustained conversation, debate, and good cheer on Twitter for the month of December. Thanks to @pipcorin, @dhudgins, @seani@dowbiggin@timlauer, @fally@jenfloyd08@mwacker, and @MaggyTheBrave for the camaraderie that year.

I’m doing it again. The only rule is that the 2018 list can’t include any duplicates from the 2011 list. This year, it’s 33 days between the holidays, but I’m staring with a “day zero” bonus tonight: Santa Stole Thanksgiving, Jimmy Buffet — This was a surprise find on my final pass through this year’s possibilities. “Santa, he’s the turkey after all.”

And now, this year’s list, one song shared per day:

  1. Friday, November 23: You’re Mine, Jeremih — Connor and Miles had Chance the Rapper and Jeremih’s Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama on repeat last Christmastime. I fell in love hard with Stranger at the Table. That led to listening to both artists throughout this year and it seemed perfect to start with a fellow Chicagoan, Jeremih today.
  2. Saturday, November 24: Mele Kalikimaka, Kacey Musgraves — I like her voice and the guitar slaps/handclaps that modernize Bing’s classic version.
  3. Sunday, November 25: Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight), Ramones
  4. Monday, November 26: All My Christmases, Jillian Edwards Chapman
  5. Tuesday, November 27: Merry Christmas Darling, Leslie Odom, Jr — Happy birthday to my little sister, Laura! Sing it, Leslie.
  6. Wednesday, November 28: No Te Pongas Triste, Carlos Vives — My favorite sing-a-long the past few years.
  7. Thursday, November 29: Run Run Rudolph, Chuck Berry
  8. Friday, November 30: A Holly Jolly Christmas, Burl Ives
  9. Saturday, December 1: If We Make it Through December, Merle Haggard — Happy December! I love the weight of this song (and the The Hag’s one-of-a-kind voice).
  10. Sunday, December 2: The Chanukah Song, Adam Sandler — Happy Hanukkah
  11. Monday, December 3: Jingle Bells, Wynton Marsalis — Wynton’s young daughter, Oni, is on vocals in this version. She’s fantastic. Brooks Brothers posted a nice video of the set on YouTube.
  12. Tuesday, December 4: Candy Cane Lane, Sia
  13. Wednesday, December 5: Brothers, Paul Williams — Today’s pick is in memory of our mom, who made every Christmas warm, bright, and over the top. Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas was her annual favorite. <3
  14. Thursday, December 6: Man with the Bag, Jessie J — Kay Starr does a great original track of this song, but Connor helped me settle on Jessie J’s recent version after eleventy billion listens on our drive to PDX after Thanksgiving.
  15. Friday, December 7: Winter Wonderland, Allen Toussaint — I remember waking up three years ago to the news that Allen Toussaint had died. I spent the rest of that week listening again to his albums I had purchased over the years (yes, my Allen Touissaint musical crush is as old as “purchasing music”). I originally had Shirley Horn’s Winter Wonderland for today and stumbled on Touissaint’s version as a related listen. It’s 90 seconds of piano bliss. A happy find.
  16. Saturday, December 8: Christmas Fais Do Do, Marcia Ball
  17. Sunday, December 9: Ocho Kandelikas, Pink Martini
  18. Monday, December 10: We Need a Little Christmas, Lucille Ball — I was so very excited to find the original Mame film and broadway versions on Spotify this year.  Lucille Ball’s film rendition made the final cut, with all due respect the legendary Angela Lansbury’s Broadway recording.
  19. Tuesday, December 11: Melancholy Christmas, Amy Grant — For the happy season that can be lonely too, a song that captures the insecurity and isolation….
  20. Wednesday, December 12:
  21. Thursday, December 13:
  22. Friday, December 14:
  23. Saturday, December 15:
  24. Sunday, December 16:
  25. Monday, December 17:
  26. Tuesday, December 18:
  27. Wednesday, December 19:
  28. Thursday, December 20:
  29. Friday, December 21:
  30. Saturday, December 22:
  31. Sunday, December 23:
  32. Monday, December 24:
  33. Tuesday, December 25:

You can hear the full #RachelChristmasPlaylist 2018 on Spotify.