As we're all trying to power through the final weeks of the semester, it's seeming to become increasingly harder to balance studying for finals with the all consuming holiday spirit that seems to be on everyone's mind. We all know that we just have to get through a few more exams and projects before the light at the end of the tunnel that is winter break, but focusing on assignments is just so hard to do with The 25 Days of Christmas on tv and a batch of cookies in the kitchen waiting to be made (not to mention all of the sales in the mall!)

But one way I find to combine the things that I want to do (celebrate the holiday season 24 hours a day), and the things I need to do (study for an exam, write a 10 page paper, and prepare 2 presentations), is by making a playlist filled with holiday music to inspire my Christmas Spirit and my productivity. And while I'm sure everyone's playlists have the classics, like "All I Want for Christmas is You", "Baby it's Cold Outside", and "Last Christmas", there are great artists making original Christmas music every year, and sometimes I feel like those albums don't the the recognition they deserve. So I wanted to highlight my favorite original contemporary christmas songs to make your finals studying season a little brighter! 

1. "Mistletoe" - Justin Bieber (2011)

Now I confess that I've never been much of a Justin Bieber fan, but I've had a soft spot for this song ever since it came out. It's super catchy and an all around feel good song to kickstart holiday spirit! 

2. "Underneath the Tree" - Kelly Clarkson (2013)

  • Kelly Clarkson has a beautiful voice, and so it was no surprise that when she put this original song on her 2013 Christmas album Wrapped in Red it would immediately be on its way to becoming a classic. It reminds me of all the Christmas songs I loved as a kid, but with a modern flair that's made it one of the hottest holiday songs of the past few years. 


3. "Oh Santa" - Mariah Carey (2010)

We all know Mariah Carey for the number one christmas song of our generation, "All I Want For Christmas is You", but everyone might not know that that wasn't the last time that Carey ventured into the holiday hit category. She released "Oh Santa" in 2010, and it's a much more modern sounding song, but with the same romantic Christmas vibes. 

4. "Christmasses When You Were Mine" - Taylor Swift (2006)

I'm always a sucker for a good sad song, and Christmastime is no exception to that rule. Taylor Swift is an expert when it comes to crafting sentimental love songs, and that's exactly what she did here with this original song from her Christmas EP, The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection, which she released just a few months after her debut self titled album.

5. "One More Sleep" - Leona Lewis (2013)

Love has always been a common theme among Christmas songs, especially over the past few years. It seems that most recent Christmas songs revolve around the idea of being reunited with a significant other who's coming home for the holidays. Leona Lewis's voice perfectly suits this sentimental idea, and makes it perfect for a cozy Christmas playlist!

6. "Fool's Holiday" - All Time Low (2013)

All Time Low released this song in 2013 as a part of the Fearless Records compilation "Punk goes Christmas," and I have to admit I have a soft spot for this original song that is a perfect blend of holiday cheer and pop punk. 

7. "Christmas Must be Something More" - Taylor Swift (2006)

Another Taylor Swift original off of her 2006 country Christmas EP. This song is different from many of the others, because in it Swift chooses to explore her personal religious beliefs and their affiliation with our favorite holiday. 

8. "Nothing for Christmas" - New Found Glory (2013) 

This song, also from the Punk Goes Christmas compilation, is a great example of a Christmas song that comes from a genre other than what is expected from holiday songs on mainstream radio, swapping jingle bells and choirs for a simple acoustic guitar melody. 

9. "Winter Things" - Ariana Grande (2015)

Ariana Grande released a whole original Christmas EP in 2015 titled "Christmas and Chill". This song, off of it, stresses that some people may not be able to participate in all of the cold weather aspects of the holiday season, because in many place, like Grande's native Florida, they never see snow. But despite this, everyone wants to do things like ice skate and drink hot chocolate with someone special during Christmastime. 

10. "All I Can Give You" - Jason Lancaster

One more from Punk Goes Christmas, this song from Jason Lancaster, former frontman of Mayday Parade and Go Radio definitely ranks among all of the classics as one of my favorite Christmas Songs of all time. Lancaster's sincere voice and emotional lyrics make it easy for anyone to relate to the protagonist of the song, who just wants to give his love everything she wants for Christmas, even if the only thing he can afford is the song he is writing. 

lead image credit: Tom Rickhuss via Unsplash