15 best Christmas playlists for retailers & department stores

Switch up your retail Christmas playlists with songs from different decades and genres. Your staff and shoppers will thank you.

Christmas Department Store

Playing Christmas music has been proven to help shoppers spend more money, so it’s no wonder that department stores and retail shops set popular songs on repeat. However, Christmas music in retail stores can also be notoriously repetitive.  

But with great rewards come some risks.

It can be frustrating and tedious for shoppers (and your staff) to hear the same Christmas songs over again. 

Fortunately, we’ve got the solution for you. We’ve hand-curated over a dozen Christmas music playlists with classics, new, and even some unexpected tracks so you can play the perfect holiday mix for your department store or retail boutique. 

Plus, we offer pro music scheduling tips to help avoid repetition. 

What’s in this article:

  • 5 tips for scheduling Christmas music for your store

  • 15 retail-ready Christmas playlists to mix and match

Posted on October 28, 2022

5 Christmas music scheduling tips for retailers

Whether you run a small shop, a mid-sized retailer, or a department store with multiple locations, you’re going to want to make sure that the Christmas music you play entertains and satisfies your shoppers—instead of creating displeasure. 

Try these tips to curate a great holiday music experience.

1. Cater the type of Christmas music to your audience. 

Make sure that the experience you provide matches your store’s brand—no matter what time of the year it is. While a department store might play pop holiday hits, an upscale boutique might opt for acoustic and instrumental Christmas music.

2. Seek out unique Christmas music. 

Try some out-of-the-box Christmas music so you don’t annoy shoppers with cliché or repetitive  songs again and again. For example, you might try a range of Christmas music across genres such as reggae, soul, latin, or country recording artists.

3. Mix in non-Christmas songs 

For the majority of shoppers, Christmas music sparks positive memories and a happy mood, increasing transaction averages. Although, for shoppers who dislike Christmas music, you may find the reverse effect (less spending). 

Make sure to mix in non-Christmas songs to keep these shoppers content. With Soundtrack Your Brand, you can drop Christmas and non-Christmas playlists into the same slot, so that every 3rd, or 4th song isn’t holiday-related.

4. Avoid repetitive music fatigue

Adjust your proportion of Christmas songs to reduce customer frustration. Walmart, for example, will begin playing holiday music infrequently in mid-November and then will ramp up the ratio of Christmas songs as the season progresses. 

5. Don’t play Christmas music when the store is closed

When retail staff grow tired of Christmas music, they can feel grumpy and unappreciated. Make sure that you’re playing non-holiday tunes before your store opens and after it closes. This way, employees will get a break from Christmas songs.

Now that you’re armed with tips to make your holiday season a success, let’s move onto the playlists.

15 best Christmas music playlists for stores

Try these Christmas music playlists to inspire holiday cheer and create a delightful shopping experience. 

1. Store Christmas

Store Christmas Playlist

Featuring: Mega popular and lesser-known pop hits

This Christmas retail music playlist is full of well-known hits from the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Beiber. The playlist keeps things interesting with several songs that aren’t as overplayed, such as “Make It to Christmas” by Alessia Cara and “Happy Christmas” by Colbie Caillat. 

Preview this playlist.

2. 80’s Christmas

80s Christmas playlist cover

Featuring: Classic rock and 80s divas

Nostalgic tunes for older shoppers can double as new discoveries for younger shoppers. Enjoy hits from bands like The Temptations, The Kinks, and The Jets as well as beautiful ballads from Dolly Parton, Amy Grant, and Madonna.  

Preview this playlist.

3. Christmas Party

Christmas Party playlist

Featuring: Uptempo classics and modern holiday pop

Kick things up a notch with fun, upbeat Christmas music. You’ll hear dance-ready classics like “Last Christmas” by Wham! alongside newer hits from pop singers Carly Rae Jepsen, Taylor Swift, and Meghan Trainor. This playlist is perfect for any type of retailer because it mixes well-known songs with less popular tunes to prevent holiday music fatigue.

Preview this playlist.

4. Holiday Hits

Holiday Hits

Featuring: Major Christmas hits throughout the decades

As the name suggests, this Christmas retail music playlist is full of hits, classics, and popular covers. But don’t worry about boring your shoppers with overplayed tunes. This playlist also features plenty of surprises, such as “Santa’s Coming For Us” by Sia and “Christmas Valentine,” a duet by Ingrid Michaelson and Jazon Mraz.

Preview this playlist.

5. Christmas Piano

Christmas Piano playlist

Featuring: Lyric-free piano renditions of holiday classics

Piano solos provide a reprieve from the repetitive vocals of popular holiday singers. These lyric-free songs are great for slower-paced shopping environments like bookstores and high-end boutiques. You can also drop this playlist into the same time slot as another Christmas playlist to combine piano solos with other playlists featured here.

Preview this playlist.

6. Country Christmas

Country Christmas

Featuring: Covers and originals from country greats

Whether you sell country western apparel, run a retail store in an area where country music is popular, or simply want to switch things up with country hits, this playlist is here to help. Enjoy holiday songs from Loretta Lynn, Lady A, George Strait, Carrie Underwood, and Brad Paisley.

Preview this playlist.

7. Jingle Bell Rock

Jingle-bell rock

Featuring: Christmas songs from the 50s and 60s

Inspired by the song “Jingle Bell Rock,” this playlist pulls together rhythm and blues, doo-wop, teddy rock, and mambo to bring you swanky and fun songs. There are some songs you’ve heard, and plenty you haven’t. Elvis Presley, The Moonglows, Patti Page, and The Beach Boys all make an appearance.

Preview this playlist.

8. Holiday Indie

Holiday indie

Featuring: Quirky vocals and unexpected takes on holiday classics

Let’s slow things down a bit. This indie playlist offers vocal performances that are haunting, mysterious, ironic, and quirky. It’s perfect for stores that want to cater to a cooler crowd with more refined tastes in Christmas music. The playlist includes Fiona Apple, Vampire Weekend, Harry Nilsson, and Bright Eyes.

Preview this playlist.

9. Instrumental Christmas

Instrumental Christmas

Featuring: Vocal-free tracks with pianos, guitars, and other instruments

Looking for lyric-free songs? This playlist can help bring the Christmas spirit to your store without annoying shoppers or staff with catchy vocals. “Little Drummer Boy,” “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” and other classics are all played beautifully by a variety of musicians. Try this playlist on its own for 5 hours of music without lyrics, or pre-schedule it in the same slot with another playlist featured here to mix vocal and vocal-free performances.

Preview this playlist.

10. X-mas Pop

X-mas Pop

Featuring: Pop hits and under-the-radar releases

This playlist is perfect for creating a happy shopping experience. You’ll find classic covers from the likes of CeeLo Green and Kelly Clarkson plus some newer pop Christmas tunes that bring a fresh edge, such as “Wrap Me Up” by Jhene Aiko and “Red Dress” by Nova Miller.

Preview this playlist.

11. Acoustic Christmas

Acoustic Christmas

Featuring: Soft and soothing vocals with beautiful instrumentals

Our Acoustic Christmas playlist is the perfect middle ground between fully produced pop and lyric-free tracks. You’ll get the holiday vocals you love, but with a softer, more organic, instrument-forward approach. This playlist features acoustic performances by Sarah McLachlan, Coldplay, and Sufjan Stevens.

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12. Soulful Christmas

Soulful Christmas

Featuring: Soulful holiday tracks from the 60s and 70s

James Brown, Jimmy Reed, Stevie Wonder, The Funk Brothers, and dozens of other artists combine in our Soulful Christmas playlist for over 4 hours of music. These funk and soul tracks give you the nostalgia of Christmas classics but with more energy and style.

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13. Eggnog Reggae

Eggnog Reggae

Featuring: Christmas recordings from reggae greats old and new

This playlist features Christmas music from classic reggae artists like Eddie Lovette and Rueben Anderson as well as from current reggae stars like Gregory Isaacs and Junior Dread. Mellow covers and upbeat originals will not only please reggae fans but also shoppers who appreciate unexpected twists on the holiday season.

Preview this playlist.

14. Feliz Navidad

Feliz Navidad

Featuring: Spanish language Christmas hits

With this playlist, you’ll get 8 hours of upbeat Latin tunes. Adding a Spanish-language playlist to your store music schedule can make the listening experience more inclusive and more fun. Spanish speakers will love the sounds of Fernando Villalona and Ismael Rivera, while non-Spanish speakers will appreciate the break from the classics they’re used to. 

Preview this playlist.

15. Christmas Chill

Christmas Chill

Featuring: Lofi beats for chilled-out shoppers

Create a relaxing, stress-free atmosphere where shoppers can really take their time and explore everything your store has to offer. Lofi renditions of “Where the Treetops Glisten,” “Santa Baby,” and other classics will impress sophisticated listeners. These tracks strip away our expectations for Christmas songs and deliver cool, mellow beats instead.

Preview this playlist.

Non-Christmas music to combine with Christmas tracks

Soundtrack Your Brand has more than 1,000 music playlists for every occasion and business type. If you want to incorporate non-Christmas tracks, just schedule a non-Christmas playlist in the same time slot.

For example, if you have two Christmas playlists and one pop playlist in the same time slot (such as Friday afternoon), Soundtrack Your Brand will stream all three playlists in a round-robin order. Two Christmas songs, one pop song. Two Christmas songs, one pop song. And so on.

If you want to use this strategy, check out these non-Christmas playlists perfect for retailers: Retail Beats, Retail Rock, Sports Wear Mix, and Mall Pop. All of these playlists will pair great with our Christmas ones so you can switch up the listening experience for both customers and staff. 

Whatever your style and brand, you’ve now got plenty of options to help you woo customers into browsing a while longer.

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