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2016’s Top 20 Non-Holiday Songs fit for the Holiday Season

One of the more challenging aspects of being a Music Supervisor is taking a well-worn music genre and making it new and fresh again. This is often the case with holiday playlists, that are normally filled with traditional Christmas gems by Bing Crosby or Dean Martin sandwiched with modern holiday pop by the likes of Ariana Grande, Colbie Caillat or Train.

A growing trend here at PlayNetwork, with many of our custom in-store retail playlists, is incorporating non-holiday songs into the mix, tracks that were never originally intended to be associated with Christmas, or included on holiday albums, but feature seasonal themes like: travel, home, family, winter, etc. What I like best about these non-holiday songs is that it elevates the experience and gives the playlist a bit more meaning and a human element.

Joni Mitchell’s “The River” and the Fleet Foxes “White Winter Hymnal” are tender acoustic songs evoking a snow covered landscape and an inner peace that we all search for. Madonna’s “Holiday” and Dream Academy’s “Life In A Northern Town” are timeless hits from the 80s that take on a new life surrounded by Christmas classics. Jack Johnson’s “In The Morning” is a sweet song about the peaceful time that two parents experience in the early morning hours, before the kids are awake, and what a gift that quiet time can be, not surprising that this is one of our most played non-holiday songs we feature.

Check out this year’s list of the 20 best non-holiday songs, featured in a holiday playlist right now, in a shopping mall near you.

“My Favorite Things” – Tony Bennett
“I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” – Billie Holiday
“Glad Tidings” – Van Morrison
“In The Morning” – Jack Johnson
“Holiday” – Vampire Weekend
“Holiday” – Madonna
“Holiday” – Green Day
“Life In A Northern Town” – Dream Academy
“Change In The Weather” – Concretes
“Snow Day” – Matt Pond PA
“The River” – Joni Mitchell
“White Winter Hymnal” – The Fleet Foxes
“Winter Falls” – Phenomenal Handclap Band
“Peace” – Los Lobos
“Big Winter Jacket” – Cayucas
“Snow Days” – Real Estate
“After The Snow” – Modern English
“Celebrate” – Mika
“Bells Of Love” – Erasure
“Everyday Is A Holiday (With You)” – Esthero

Dean Sven Carlson

About Dean Sven Carlson

Hey, I am Dean Sven Carlson, manager of music services at PlayNetwork. I have been in the music industry for over 25 years.

I got the music bug early, diving in as a DJ and music director for my high school radio station in Bellevue, WA. Being able to get promo record service and play new artists over the airways at 17 years old—I was hooked!

Not only did I have a successful 15-year radio career (I even launched my own syndicated show heard in over 25 countries), I immersed myself in the live music and festival world including WOMAD, Bumbershoot and the Decibel Festival.

I have been a music supervisor for 10 years and 4 of them right here at PlayNetwork and I love it! Fine-tuning playlists, helping brand partners find their perfect sound, reviewing what is new on the charts—there isn’t a moment when I don’t have the music on in my office.

I am inspired daily by the people I work with at PlayNetwork, either trying to come up with an innovative way to solve a problem, kicking around ideas for a new branded playlist, or just talking about a new artist that everyone is buzzing about. I work with some of the coolest people on the planet.

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