Everyone loves holiday music. Personally, I start listening to Mariah Carey belting All I Want For Christmas sometime in early October and I dont stop until my New Years Eve hangover wears off. Holiday tunes are sweet, sentimental, and fun, but even I have to admit that theres one place they fall short; the workout playlist. To really get my sweat on I need a playlist full of power-hooks and bass-drops and unfortunately The Holy and the Ivy, my favorite Georgian-era folk carol, just doesnt cut it.
To correct this grave injustice weve cooked up a list of Christmas hits with enough punch to keep you on your grind during these last few days before the holiday break.
“All I Want for Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey
Whether youre hitting the elliptical or taking a chilly run through the park the soaring vocals of the O.G. pop diva will give you the boost you need.
“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” – Miley Cyrus
Im not gonna lie to you. The original version of this song is a bop, but theres something about Mileys pop-rock vocals that make her version a legitimate jam ideal for working off those post-Thanksgiving pounds before you hit Christmas dinner.
“Linus and Lucy” – Vince Guaraldi Trio
Yes, the song from A Charlie Brown Christmas. First of all, this song is perfect under any circumstances, but hear me out on its workout value. Its a peppy up-tempo number with no lyrics. In short, its the best song for getting in the spirit while youre warming up.
“December Love” – New Kids On the Block
I was born in the 90s so this one has a special place in my heart. Some would say its a little gauche to make Christmas sexy, but I think Joey, Jordan and the boys are just what I need to get me in the mood for a double-session of Barre.
Last Christmas – Carly Rae Jepsen
The Call Me Maybe chanteuse took some time out from creating some of the most underrated pop albums of all time to put out this cover of Wham!s Christmas classic. This is another case where the original is good but Carly Raes breathy synth-pop style make you want to get up and dance, or at least power through your morning reps.
“You Make It Feel Like Christmas” – Gwen Stefani feat. Blake Shelton
While Im still on the fence about this celebrity couple I have to hand it to Queen Gwen. This one is sweet and sentimental but the erstwhile princess of Ska-punk has managed to put out a Christmas song with just enough country twang to get you out of bed on a frosty morning.
“Christmas in Harlem – Kanye West
Winter runners will appreciate Kanyes reference to 40-degree windchill whether youre spending the holidays in Harlem or Hartford.
One more sleep – Leona Lewis
When Leona wrote this song it was about anticipation. Shes counting down the days until she can be with her baby again, but she could just as well be counting down the miles until cool-down. Just one more sleep until its Christmas, just one more mile until you can hit the shower.
Wrapped in Red – Kelly Clarkson
Honestly, this whole album is flawless and it was hard to pick just one track. The Since Youve Been Gone singer has an all-American talent for power ballads and this holiday confection is no exception.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays – Nsync
I know my inner 90s kid is showing but I cant end this list without imploring you to check out this holiday boyband classic. Plenty of pop-groups have produced Christmas singles but this one has enough R&B hooks to get your body moving.
Run Run Rudolph – Chuck Berry
When Chuck Berry says run, you run.
Let it Go – Idina Menzel
If youre spending any time around kids this holiday season youre bound to hear this one anyway, but thats not a bad thing. This breakaway hit from the Frozen soundtrack features Broadway star Idina Menzels incredible pipes hitting the kind of soaring high-notes you cant ignore. Its also an affirmational power ballad about taking control of your life and being your best self, perfect for when youre leveling up and need a little bit of extra endurance.