Photo credit: Erica Pleasants

It’s time to ditch the fall decorations and bring out the Christmas tree. Beyond the holiday cheer, lights and food, one of the things I enjoy most about Christmas is the music. Recently, Qcitymetro asked readers about their favorite songs that get them into the holiday spirit. Here are the 12 Christmas classics — or modern versions of classics — that should be on everyone’s playlist.

Whitney Houston – Joy to the World (1996)

Whitney Houston takes us to church with her version of Joy to the World, which in my opinion is the best version of this song. It puts the “spirit” in Christmas spirit. The gospel tune appeared on the 1996 soundtrack for her holiday movie, The Preacher’s Wife, co-starring Denzel Washington.

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Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas Is You (1994)

Even though Mariah Carey can’t hit that legendary high note like she used to, it’s not Christmas season without hearing this song playing in every retail store while doing last-minute shopping. Yes, it’s overplayed, but it never gets old.

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The Temptations – Silent Night (1970)

The Temptations blessed us with many classics, and Silent Night is one of them. Every family has probably blasted this song while the kids unwrapped their presents. Only a select few of bass voices have succeeded in matching Melvin Franklin’s renowned low note. This version of Silent Night can rarely be duplicated, showing how timeless it is.

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Jackson 5 – Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (1970)

Before Michael Jackson went solo, he sang numerous songs with his brothers as a member of the Jackson 5. The holiday hit Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town is one of the groups most popular songs. It’s the perfect song to get you in the mood for some pre-Christmas cleaning before decorating.

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Luther Vandross – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (1995)

Is it the holiday season without Luther Vandross’ velvety voice on the radio? Imagine sipping some hot cocoa while cuddled up in front of the fireplace with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas playing in the background. The definition of cozy.

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Quad City DJ’s, The 69 Boyz & K-Nock – What You Want for Christmas (1996)

This version of 12 Days of Christmas may not be the most traditional song for the holidays, but it certainly makes people want to party. It’s a hilarious Christmas song that’s bound to pop up on your radio.

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Chris Brown – This Christmas (2007)

Adding a more modern feel to this playlist is the Chris Brown holiday tune from the film of the same name. Brown’s cover of Donny Hathaway’s 1970 holiday standard resonates with the young and young at heart during this time of year. It’s a great song to sing along and dance to.

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TLC – Sleigh Ride (1992)

Who doesn’t love 90s R&B? TLC’s Sleigh Ride brings an upbeat, funky feel that you can’t help but bop to the beat.

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Boyz II Men feat. Brian McKnight – Let it Snow (1993)

Boyz II Men brought us some of the best slow jams of the 90s and 2000s. In 1993, they teamed up with fellow R&B crooner Brian McKnight on Let it Snow, one of the most romantic songs on this list and a perfect song for slow dancing under the mistletoe with that special someone.

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Fantasia – What Christmas Means to Me (2013)

Fantasia brings this list back to the 2000s, but this rendition of Stevie Wonder’s 1967 song keeps its classic sound. The upbeat jam can bring a smile to your face during the holiday shopping frenzy.

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Eartha Kitt – Santa Baby (1953)

Santa Baby is one of those songs that must be in every Christmas movie soundtrack. The smooth, sexy and jazzy Eartha Kitt was a national treasure. She shined while singing this sensual holiday tune.

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Stevie Wonder – Someday at Christmas (1967)

Stevie Wonder’s Someday at Christmas will tug at your heartstrings as it reminds listeners of the true meaning of Christmas. Wonder wrote the song during the Vietnam War, a time of great divide in the United States. It was one of the first Christmas songs with a social and political message. Someday at Christmas makes a wish for world peace and compassion. Even though it was written more than 50 years ago, its message is still as strong as it was back then.

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What other songs are on your playlist?

Dante Miller is a freelance writer who received her journalism and mass communications degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She loves music, reading novels and watching television.