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How to Choose the Music for a Christmas Party - From Frank Sinatra to Slade

24 Sep 14 By: Lene McGuinness

You can hang the decorations and serve a delicious meal but for some a Christmas Party will only be as good as the music you play. So what will you choose? Will you opt for the rich, dulcet tones of Sinatra, the raucous roars of Slade or will you forego the festive theme altogether?

The choice is yours. Fortunately you don’t have to make it alone. Here are some tips for creating a playlist for your Christmas party which sets the tone and satisfies as many partygoers as possible.

Are you planning a company bash, a charity event or a family gathering? The music you play will likely depend on the tastes of the guests you’re hoping to entertain.

Play Christmas music, or simply music in general, which all guests will enjoy by incorporating a variety of artists, genres and time periods. This is the safest way to cater to all visitors.  It’s also possible to create a more specialist playlist designed to complement the tone or the theme of your event.

Depending on your budget, you may be able to hire a DJ or a Band/Musician to play or both to organise or play the tunes you like, or you may opt for your own Christmas playlist.  Whichever option you go for you’ll need to choose the sort of music before you decide which route you’re going to pursue. 

For a company Christmas party, you will most likely want to create a contemporary soundtrack since people are going to want to let their hair down and have some fun. You could choose the latest floor fillers without compromising on your Christmas theme by incorporating Christmas songs by current artists. Chart favourites like Mariah Carey, Beyonce and Katy Perry have all recorded cover versions of classic Christmas songs and they’ll fit seamlessly alongside the rest of your musical choices.

If, however, the event you’re staging is more formal it might be a good idea to choose classic Christmas music and create an ambient musical background. In addition to a wide variety of classic Christmas carols and pop hits from crooners like Dean Martin, Sinatra and Nat King Cole, there are instrumental versions of instantly recognisable festive favourites, performed by the world’s most prestigious orchestras and symphony groups.

This sort of thing might not go down very well at the office Christmas party but they will be more than welcome at a sophisticated event in picturesque surroundings.

Of course, some of the best Christmas parties take place at home, surrounded by family and friends. With food and drink aplenty, plus the chance to catch up with relatives from far and wide, everybody loves a Christmas do; and there are decades of Christmas hits to soundtrack it. From the sixties and the seventies to the eighties and nineties, bands like The Beatles, The Bee Gees, The Jackson Five and Slade have given us yuletide tunes that we’ll never forget. Why not create a time-hopping, trip down memory lane at your Christmas party by including all of these pop hits on your party playlist?

Top Tips for Making a Christmas Party Playlist

1. Give the people what they want

Who is coming to your party and what are they likely to want to listen to? You should always consider your party guests and their preferences when compiling your party playlist. You could even ask invitees to request their favourite songs in the run up to the event.

2. Get the timing right

How long is your event likely to be? It is important to ensure that your playlist is long enough to last until guests are ready to leave. This will safeguard you from uncomfortable silences during the event.

You should also think about timing your playlist so that the most popular songs play at the right time. The first phase of a party takes place while everybody arrives and the final phase sees various guests make their way home. In between, however, the party will be in full swing and guests will welcome songs that make them want to dance.

3. Consider how you will get hold of the music.

If you are organising your own playlist, there are a number of ways to source the music you need, from purchasing CDs to signing up to music streaming services. For a bit of fun, you could also encourage musically inclined guests to grab a guitar or show off their skills on a keyboard. Everybody loves live music and whether playing or simply listening, this is sure to be a memorable part of the night.

4. Think about the ancilliary equipment required to give the music a real presence to your event

Staging, Lights, the dance floor and Sound Systems are all the things that you need to ensure are co-ordinated at the venue of choice and the parties involved.  Even if you’re just going to connect your IPOD to your in-house PA or stereo system, test it all out and make sure that the speakers are at the required volume to make your party go with a swing.