12/23/2013 02:48 pm ET Updated Feb 21, 2014

Embracing the (Music) Spirit of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time of mirth and merry for many of us, and depending on our personal circumstances, it just may take a little extra work to get into the ho-ho-holiday spirit.

The Christmas season is the time of year where humans are pretty much obligated to be happy and find it within themselves to be kinder to one another. But what if you are not happy? Or people in your life are not embracing you? It's the one time you are the most hyperaware of what may be missing, and just how much you miss it.

Personally, music has always been where I summoned my passions. Whatever our holiday or life stresses, there's so much to be grateful and joyful about right now.

The holiday time is the one time of year that everyone around us just pauses and takes stock of the larger picture. It's sadly easy to forget what love and friendship and gratitude should really be about. For me, music has always helped to recapture that magic. It's about pure enjoyment -- and, maybe -- if you need it to be, a distraction. It can generate amazing memories of holidays past and warm even the loneliest of hearts.

I work for myself and I get it. It can be incredibly difficult to slow down from the rapid-fire pace of our life the rest of the year and just enjoy what is around us. The holiday season give us that chance. Sit down, have some mulled wine, and enjoy it.

We all have our favorite holiday songs. Here's some of my top loves -- it'd never be the season without them!

"All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey.
"Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" by Elmo and Patsy.
"Merry Christmas Darling" by The Carpenters.
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" I love Spiraling's take on it!
"Last Christmas" by Wham.
"Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" by Bruce Springsteen.
"The Christmas Shoes" by NewSong.

Sometimes the magic of Christmas is in the discovery. This time of year you can go to myriad spots and find amazing rotations of fun tunes -- many of which you never knew existed, and can now be free to love. Here are some places to find free holiday music.


I've been into Pandora for years, and when it's this time of year, it becomes even more fun. They even display the lyrics as they play the song. It can be your own homemade Karaoke!

There's a ridiculous amount of genre option here, including hundreds of holiday stations. Most stations are free, and you just may be finding yourself listening to Muppets Christmas classics (you know you want to) as you mix pancakes Christmas morning.

I love the random fun you can find here. And you can visit it year-round if you need a jolly pick-me-up! (Who doesn't?)


I learned about Songza at a party recently and was transfixed. This song is mood-based, so it may ask you for a bunch of personality questions -- whether you're in the mood for pop Christmas hits or relaxing instrumentals. If you opt for instrumentals you'll be questioned further-- guitar, jazz or solo piano? But in the end you'll get exactly what you want and it's completely free. Love it!

What are your holiday favorites? Would love if you'd share in the comments below or tweet me at @AlyWalansky!