The Twelve Days of Christmas Classics is on! Starting with “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” EW is putting the best versions of the most-covered Christmas songs up to a daily vote to compile the ultimate holiday playlist. If your favorite singer isn’t in the list below, you better not pout: Each artist will only appear once throughout the next 12 days. Listen to our top six, vote for your favorite, and let us know why you made your pick in the comments below.
UPDATE: The polls are closed, and we have our winners! Listen to YOUR ultimate holiday playlist here.
The 1944 movie musical Meet Me in St. Louis might not be associated with the holidays like White Christmas or A Christmas Carol are, but it did spawn one of the most famous Christmas songs of all time: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Judy Garland’s Esther sings the song to comfort her little sister, promising that next year all their “troubles will be miles away.”
Of course Garland’s original take is a classic, but is it the best version ever? Gather near to us, and place your vote below:
Judy Garland (1944)
Our little Dorothy is all grown up in Meet Me in St. Louis, but her trademark vibrato is exactly the same. How could Garland’s movie sister not be comforted by that soothing voice?
Frank Sinatra (1957)
Speaking of soothing, here’s Frank! The ultimate crooner put his spin on plenty of Christmas classics, but none matches his mastery of this one. He truly made the song his own, asking lyricist Hugh Martin to “jolly up” the bleak line “Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow,” and Martin replaced it with this now-ubiquitous (and much more hopeful) lyric: “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.”
The Pretenders (1987)
The Chrissie Hynde-led rockers might not be the first group you think of when it comes to Christmas music, but they got into the holiday spirit for the first in a long line of A Very Special Christmas compilation albums, benefiting the Special Olympics. Christmas music AND the spirit of giving? It’s a yuletide twofer.
Chris Martin’s delicate piano arrangement and festive falsetto give the classic a simple-but-effective makeover. He also takes some subtle liberties with the melody that go a long way.
Ariana Grande (2010)
The diva-in-training was clearly taught at the Christina Aguilera School of Christmas Covers: Grande hits all the money notes and leaves no vocal run unsung. Could the mini-Mariah soon surprise us with her very own “All I Want for Christmas Is You”-level holiday hit?
She & Him (2011)
A Very She & Him Christmas is an instant Christmas classic, with its indie-rock-plus-retro vibe, and this understated cover is one of its many highlights. Zooey Deschanel’s voice is a perfect fit for holiday music, not to mention M. Ward’s echoing guitar line floating in the background.
How did you pick your favorite, PopWatchers? Make your case in the comments below! And hurry up: Voting closes daily at midnight ET.