Christmas and the Holidays are a time to spend with family, rejoicing in the moments that have passed and those to come as well. The songs we listen to often come with equal traditional value; they are those we remember as children growing up; having heard them on the radio, in the malls while shopping or at family dinners. Here is a refreshing take on Christmas Songs, both new and old.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Kelly Clarkson is a vocal treat for the ears. Holding notes and stretching the emotion into the next day, the song has a smooth jazz feel to it. Even in regards to tempo, the song is simple, straight forward and fantastic. This song brings to bring warm nights roasting chest nuts on an fire place or traveling to relatives for the holidays through snow covered hills.

Christmas in the Sand is a song that evokes the feeling of a California beach-style Christmas sung by Colbie Caillat. Though lacking the traditional snow, the video for this song none the less features plenty of Holiday cheer with Santa Claus on a surf board and wet suit. Caillat herself is surrounded by beach attired, hat covered elves, and eliciting a “Mrs. Claus” theme. The song itself is light hearted, as most of her music can be, with a good bounce and even ukulele sections. Great for background dinner music or just a walk on the town.

Jingle bell rock by Hot Chelle Rae is the alternative rock music take on this classic Christmas song. Beyond the upbeat tempo, the instrumental and harder rock vocals give this song an edgier flavor. Lending itself to more air guitar than hugs, this song has a faster tempo than the traditional version, a welcome change given how over played several other versions of this song. The tambourines add much needed punch to the song and no Christmas song has every guitar soloed this well.

On this Winter’s Night is a slow and country style Christmas song featuring the smooth combination vocals from Nashville superstars Lady Antebellum. Light hearted and with a sweet melody, the guitar work on this song plucks at the heart strings of all those in love just as the meaningful lyrics pull them into the song. This isn’t your standard issue cheery Christmas song and rather than promoting bright cheerfulness, serves to sooth the soul.

Sleigh Ride by Grammy Nominated Indie Pop group Fun. Having reached worldwide fame with songs from their recent album ‘Some Nights’, Fun played their rendition of the perennial classic “Sleigh Ride” with a unique style that won’t soon be forgotten. The Fun version, pun intended, features the classic sleigh ride lyrics with an excellent bass and drum addition to the arrangement as well as a fun change to the classic instruments already known in that song. Listeners will be treated to an upgraded, immensely welcoming song that is upbeat and pleasing to the ear.

Something About December is sensual in tone and tempo with great piano work, talking about December as a whole and being with family. The message behind this song is powerful, speaking of never being alone so long as “Christmas was in your heart.” When times are rough and gifts are in short supply, treasuring those that you are closest to may be the best gift you get all year. It speaks volumes about the truth behind Christmas; that it’s about spending it with those you love, no matter the distance

Honorable mention goes to Michael Buble for his version of “Santa Claus is coming to town“ from his 2011 Christmas album aptly titled ‘Christmas’. Though it was released last year, many of the songs are classic hits featuring his smooth Sinatra style vocals while giving them a modern twist that is welcome and infectious.