the 2013 christmas mix

Well, I finally finished.  It took until 2am last night, but I finally worked out all of the kinks for this year’s Christmas Mix.  You see, the problem was that I was so hooked on last year’s mix that I just couldn’t get in the mindset for this year’s list.  However, I’ve decided to accept that while last year’s mix was awesome, this year’s mix is also wonderful in its own right.

I am also considering the possibility of having next year’s mix be a favorite songs through the years CD.  We’ll see what happens next year, and who releases albums.

Now, without further ado, let me introduce to you The 2013 Christmas Mix.

Christmas Mix 2013

If you’re interested, here’s my ramble about The Mix in no particular order.  My favorite song on the mix is One Wish This Christmas by Nikki Yanofsky.  Please don’t tell Pentatonix.  Also, I know that PTX’s Little Drummer Boy made it really big this year, but they also released another Christmas song this year, and I liked it even a little bit better.  I was really excited that I found a New Years song to end the album with, the first words are “two minutes ’til it’s midnight, we’ve been drinking since the sun went down, everyone’s been kissing, throwing love around” (to everybody who knows me IRL, you know how ridiculous it is that I just quoted song lyrics).  I was glad I was able to fit in some Disney stars on the mix – shout out to Bridgit Mendler and Shane Harper.  I saw Talain Rayne in concert two years ago when I saw Dinner and a Suit.  He posted that song on Facebook WEEKS ago and it’s been on the list ever since.  Also, Barlowgirl is one of the only repeat artist from last year, I kind of fell in love with those harmonies.  Oh, and Anthem Light’s All I Want for Christmas is the only thing that even comes close to Mariah’s and the one from Love Actually if you ask me (yes, I know Big Time Rush was on the mix next year, and while I love them, I maybe shouldn’t have done that).  Andrew Ripp’s Joy to the World and Molly Jenson’s O Come, O Come Emmanuel almost made last year’s mix but I ran ou tof room.  And everything else in between is pretty wonderful.  And I’m VERY glad the search is over until next year.

I was able to find all but two songs on Spotify.  But I highly recommend also watching numbers EIGHTEEN and NINETEEN.  Enjoy the playlist and Merry Christmas to everyone!!

- – - – - – - – - -

my christmas song mission

I have a confession, I’ve been on a Christmas song mission since the beginning of November, I just figured with all of the Christmas song controversy in the world it would be better not to mention it until December.  I’ve actually been listening to Christmas music all year because good music is good music, no questions asked.  And if you can’t listen to your Christmas music all year you’re not doing it right.

That’s a little bit of the thought process that goes into my creative process of making a Christmas Mix CD.  Here is a sampling of the 2011 and 2012 mixes:

Here are some of my tips about how to find Christmas songs for your mix CDs.

1. Pandora
Pandora actually has a bunch of holiday genre stations that are already created with descriptions of the type of music that would play on the station.  You can find Today’s Christmas, Family Christmas, Swingin’ Christmas, Jazz Holidays, Christian Contemporary Holidays, Indie Holidays and more.  You can find the full list here.

Pandora Holiday Playlists

2. iTunes
My favorite feature of iTunes is the “Preview All” button.  So you can search your favorite artists Christmas albums and just listen to about 45 seconds of every song.  It’s brilliant, because usually you can tell in that time whether or not a song is worth of making the mix.

iTunes Preview All Button

My second favorite feature is the “Listeners Also Bought” box at the bottom of every album.  That takes a little more time because you can’t “Preview All”, but you never know what artists you’ll discover.

iTunes Listeners Also Bought

3. Spotify
Honestly, the results on Spotify are endless.  If you type in the word Christmas into the search bar there are literally an infinite number of options – already created playlists, albums, songs, artists – anything at all.

Spotify Christmas Search

4. Amazon
My favorite way to utilize Amazon is by going to the section called MP3 music and typing in one of my favorite Christmas songs.  Then every artist who has ever recorded that Christmas song pops up and you can listen to them all.  I usually resort to this when I’m getting close to the end of my mix and realize I’m missing one of my favorite songs or that there aren’t enough traditional songs on the mix.

Amazon Song Search

5. Google
I mean, Google is really the answer to everything, isn’t it?  Top Christmas Songs.  Best Christmas Songs of the 90s.  Christmas Duets.  You can really search anything and get a list.

Google Doodle

Here are some other things that I consider when putting together the album.

  • I put special effort into picking out an opening and closing song.  For instance, last year I decided that it should end with a New Years song since Christmas leads up to New Years.  I also like to make sure that the opening song is exciting enough to get people pumped up for the rest of the album.
  • The past two years I have put one instrumental song on the mix to add a little bit of variety.  I have chosen two pieces from my favorite holiday movies so far – Love Actually and The Holiday.  It’ll be interesting to see what I come up with for this year.
  • The reason I started making a mix CD was to give to my aunts for Christmas.  Because of this, I like to make sure that there is a good mix of traditional songs to modern songs.
  • Finally, after I choose all the songs I spend a while putting them in an interesting order to make sure that the pace varies throughout the album.

Do you have any tips for finding new Christmas songs?  Or what about any favorites?  Any that I might be able to add to the list?

bringing back mix cds: one for Christmas and one for a cappella

I have made two mix CDs in the past few months that I’ve really fallen in love with – my annual Christmas Mix CD and an a cappella mix in honor of Pitch Perfect coming out.

I was really nervous about making the 2012 Christmas Mix because I LOVED my 2011 mix.  When I listened to it at the beginning of the season to get inspired, I thought to myself “oh crap, how am I going to beat this?”  Well, I don’t think that I beat it per se, but I do think I created a different vibe this year.   Also, to make the CD booklet more fun, I printed it on striped yellow paper.  (And of course I forgot to take a picture.)

Christmas Mix 2012 copy


The other mix CD that I made, as I said, was in honor of Pitch Perfect coming out.  Overall, I’ve got to tell you – I gave the movie a 4/10 – we can get into that more later if you want – the movie, not the music, the music was pretty good – sure, there was no way in heck that Riff Off would have actually happened in reality, but it was good.  However, it was something worth celebrating.  Please note that the Folgers Coffee Commercial by Rockapella makes it on the CD not once, but twice.  Also, I forgot to take a picture of this final product too.

2013, 01 07 a cappella mix


One of my favorite things about these mix CDs is putting all of the songs in the best order.  I think I spent 2 hours putting the Christmas mix in order and 90 minutes putting the a cappella mix in order.  This was after spending 5 weeks searching for songs for the Christmas mix and a week and a half looking for songs for the a cappella mix.

Unfortunately I was not able to find enough of any of these songs on any website – from Grooveshark, to Spotify, to YouTube, to iTunes.  So I’m pretty much just teasing you.  I bought 90% of it on iTunes though, so you should be able to find it there.

homemade christmas mix “tape”

A few years ago I was looking for a gift to give to my aunts that was thoughtful, but decently cheap (hey!  I was a college student with THREE aunts, what do you want from me?), and I finally came up with an idea that I thought was worthy of executing – a Christmas “mix tape” with a compilation of my favorite songs of the season.  I spend the entire month of December searching for songs that are out of the ordinary, that give me chills or are just epically awesome and I put it together on a CD.  Take a look at this year’s creation, I’m pretty excited about it: