The trick or treaters have come and gone, the leaves have fallen, and the temperatures have started to drop. The retail displays are faux-frosted, Mariah Carey has ended her hibernation, and Michael Buble is dusting off his tux. The holidays are upon us.

Now for some people, this is a cause for celebration and it’s time to start hanging the lights. But for others, call them Scrooges or maybe just call them a bit more reasonable, it might be a bit too early for the holiday classics to be blaring out of your speakers. And it’s for those folks that we at Control Play lovingly curate what we call “Holiday (Not Holiday)” music.

Are they holiday related? You bet. Are they your traditional carols? Absolutely NOT. A great Holiday (Not Holiday) song is the perfect way to start dipping your toes into the holiday music waters without running the risk of driving your customers and staff crazy before December’s even started. To give you an even better idea of what we mean, here are 5 of our favorite Holiday (Not Holiday) songs that you should be adding to your playlists:

    1. Cheap Trick – I Want You For Christmas

To start our list off, probably the lowest effort entry, but one that people will immediately enjoy. Why? Because it’s the Cheap Trick song I Want You to Want Me. But Christmas. With conspicuously altered lyrics such as “Didn’t I, didn’t I, say I want you Christmas?” this is probably one of the easier early holiday tunes to swallow. Besides, a classic rock artist sneeringly altering their biggest hit in an attempt to capture some holiday success is one of the main plot points in the movie Love, Actually. Art imitating life, or life imitating art?

  1. Outkast – Player’s Ball

Some of you may be familiar with this song already and are thinking to yourselves “This is a holiday song?”. Well you’d be forgiven for the confusion, because Outkast themselves weren’t too excited about the prospect of making a holiday track. But once upon a time, before Outkast had an album or a label deal, LA Reid asked them to submit a song for a holiday music compilation LaFace Records was planning to release. But subtly snuck into the song are lyrical gems like “Ain’t no chimneys in the ghetto so I won’t be hanging my socks” and “Shut up that nonsense about some ‘Slient Night’/ I gots it crunk/ If it ain’t real, ain’t right”

  1. Kelly Clarkson – Christmas Isn’t Cancelled (Just You)

The most recent song to make it into our list, this track comes off of Kelly Clarkson’s  new album “When Christmas Comes Around…”. And while there are plenty of holiday standards littering this album’s track list, Kelly also mercifully provides us with a classic Holiday (Not Holiday) tune. Christmas Isn’t Cancelled (Just You) is Kelly’s first single released since her divorce. And it sounds like it. For all those determined to enjoy the holidays even if they are alone, this one’s for you.

  1. Carly Rae Jepsen – It’s Not Christmas Till Somebody Cries

Potentially the funniest entry in this list, Carly Rae really nails the dysfunctional family dynamic that can come out all too often during stressful holiday moments. With lines such as “My boyfriend is a vegan, so they fed him fish / My uncle made it worse by talking politics” and “Grandpa ate the gummies that we meant to hide / We tried to play it off like it’s a holiday high”, this song is likely to put a grin on the face of even the biggest holiday humbug.

    1. Blink-182 – I Won’t Be Home for Christmas

To save potentially the best for last, we have a decidedly non-carol sounding Blink-182 song. In definitive Holiday (Not Holiday) fashion, Blink-182 not only avoid classic holiday music tropes, they declare all out war. Following the tale of a man who’s already not in the holiday spirit and is then confronted by a group of jolly carolers, the refrain tells us “You people scare me / Please stay away from my home / If you don’t wanna get beat down / Just leave the presents and then leave me alone”. Ahhh, the true spirit of the season!

Bonus Fun Fact: The drums on this song are played by Blink-182’s original drummer Scott Raynor, just prior to being replaced by Travis Barker. Not such a happy holiday for him!

Andrew with santa HatAs I write this we are 44 days until the 25th. My hope is you have a prosperous holiday season filled with eggnog, good friends and great music!

Andrew Moss

Andrew Moss

Andrew Moss

Andrew Moss is a Playlist Specialist at Control Play, passionate about helping thousands of bars, restaurants, bowling centers, family entertainment centers and more create the ideal music atmosphere for their business. When not working with business owners looking to create a stellar guest atmosphere, Andrew enjoys sipping a cold Alexander Keith’s and listening to Rolling Stones records. Andrew has previously worked as a radio DJ, music reviewer, and band manager.

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Bowling Center Playlist
  • RETRO BOWLING PARTY
  • 90S BOWLING PARTY
  • ADRENALINE [13+/18+]
  • OLDIE BUT A GOODIE
  • ENERGY!
  • FEELIN’ GOOD [13+/18+]
  • MILLENIAL THROWBACKS
  • LEAGUE MIX [ALL/13+/18+]
  • COSMIC PARTY [ALL/13+/18+]
  • PATIO
  • ROCK & BOWL
  • COLLEGE BOWLING NIGHT
Christian PACK Playlists
  • CHRISTAIN A/C [ALL]
  • CHRISTIAN ENERGY [ALL]
  • CHRISTIAN HIP-HOP [13+]
  • CHRISTIAN HITS [ALL]
  • CHRISTIAN MIX [ALL]
  • CHRISTIAN MIX [18+]
  • CHRISTIAN ROCK [13+]
DECADES Playlists
  • 1960s MIX
  • 1970s DISCO
  • 1970s MIX
  • 1970s-1990s HITS
  • 1980s MIX
  • 1980s PARTY
  • 1990s MIX
  • 1990s PARTY
  • 2000s MIX
  • 2000s PARTY
  • 2010s MIX
Family PACK Playlists
  • FAMILY MIX [ALL]
  • FAMILY MIX [13+]
  • KIDS MOVIE [ALL]
  • KIDZONE [ALL]
  • KIDZONE BIRTHDAY[ALL]
  • KIDZONE DAYCARE [ALL]
  • TEEN PARTY [13+]
FEC PACK Playlists
  • ADRENALINE [13+/18+]
  • CAFÉ
  • ENERGY! [13+/18+]
  • FEELIN’ GOOD [13+/18+]
  • MILLENIAL THROWBACKS
  • ALL DAY PARTY [ALL/13+/18+]
  • 80s RETRO PARTY
  • 90s PARTY
GAMEDAY PACK PLAYLIST
  • GAMEDAY
  • GAMEDAY-Courtside
  • GAMEDAY-Country
  • GAMEDAY-Retro
  • POST-GAME PARTY
  • TAILGATE
GENRE Playlists
  • A/C
  • A/C HOT
  • A/C URBAN
  • 2K COUNTRY
  • COUNTRY GOLD
  • COUNTRY HITS
  • COUNTRY MIX
  • NEW COUNTRY
  • RED DIRT COUNTRY
  • 1980S-1990S COUNTRY Mix
  • DANCE 90s/00s
  • DANCE CLASSICS
  • DEEP HOUSE
  • EDM
  • LATIN
  • LATIN REGIONAL
  • LATIN URBAN
  • OLDIES
  • BIG BAND
  • HITS CLASSICS
  • HITS
  • MEGA-HITS
  • ONE-HIT WONDERS
  • RHYTHMIC
  • TOP 40 CHART
  • HIP-HOP
  • HIP-HOP 2K
  • HIP-HOP CLASSICS
  • 2K ROCK
  • 70s ROCK
  • 80s HAIRBAND
  • 80s ROCK
  • 90s ROCK
  • ALT 2K
  • ALTERNATIVE
  • CLASSIC ROCK
  • HARD ROCK
  • INDIE
  • INDIE CHILL
  • INDIE MIX
  • ROCK
  • ROCK GOLD
  • TRIPLE-A
  • CLASSIC JAZZ
  • SMOOTH JAZZ
  • R&B
  • R&B CHILL
  • R&B MIX
Holiday Playlists

Holiday Playlists:

  • Family Holiday
  • Holiday Party
  • Kidzone Holiday
  • Traditional Holiday
  • R&B Holiday
  • Country Holiday
  • Holiday Crooners
  • Holiday Pop
  • Retro Holidays
  • Holiday Rock
  • Hip-Hop Holiday
  • Holiday “Not Holiday

Holiday + Playlists

  • Holidays + Bar Day Mix
  • Holidays + Bar Night Mix
  • Holidays + Classic Rock Mix
  • Holidays + Country
  • Holidays + Happy Hour
  • Holidays + Hits
  • Holidays + Party Hits
Jump Parks Playlist
  • ADRENALINE [13+/18+]
  • FAMILY JUMP
  • FEELIN’ GOOD [13+/18+]
  • HIP-HOP JUMP
  • JUMP ENERGY! [13+/18+]
  • JUMP PARTY [13+/18+]
  • MILLENIAL THROWBACKS
  • ROCK SHOW
Restaurant, Bar & Pub Pack Playlist
  • BAR DAY
  • BAR NIGHT
  • CLUB MIX
  • FEELIN’ GOOD [13+/18+]
  • HAPPY HOUR
  • KICKIN’ COUNTRY
  • MUSIC & MIMOSAS
  • ALL DAY PARTY [13+/18+]
  • PATIO
  • PUB MIX
  • PUB ROCK
  • THE CLASSIC RECIPE
  • THE LUNCH CROWD [13+/18+]
  • THE MIX: DAY
  • THE MIX: NIGHT
  • ROCK BAR
Roller Skating Playlists
  • SIP-N-SKATE
  • SK8 ALL-TIME HITS [ALL/13+/18+]
  • SK8 FAMILY NIGHT (3HR] [ALL/13+]
  • SK8 OLD SKOOL
  • 70 DISCO SK8 PARTY
  • 80’S SK8 PARTY
  • 90’S SK8 PARTY
  • ADRENALINE [13+/18+]
  • FAMILY FAST
  • FAMILY SK8 PARTY
  • FEC TOP 100
  • FEELIN’ GOOD [13+/18+]
  • FUNKY & GROOVY SK8 PARTY
  • MILLENIAL THROWBACKS
  • SHUFFLE SK8
  • TINY TOTS SK8 PARTY
  • WEEKEND SK8 PARTY
  • TEEN PARTY SK8
Themed Bar Pack Playlists
  • BEACH BAR
  • BEACH BAR PARTY
  • BLUES JAM
  • BRIT ROCK
  • COCKTAILS & CROONERS
  • LADIES NIGHT
  • PRIDE PARTY
  • SOUL SUNDAY
Themed Playlists
  • CANADA DAY
  • HOLIDAYS
  • HOLIDAYS KIDZONE
  • HOLIDAYS PARTY
  • HOLIDAYS TRADITIONAL
  • CINCO DE MAYO
  • HALLOWEEN
  • 4TH OF JULY
  • MARCH MADNESS MIX
  • MARDI GRAS
  • MOTHER’S DAY
  • OKTOBERFEST
  • PRIDE PARTY
  • ST. PATRICK’S
  • ST. PATRICK’S PARTY
  • CHRISTMAS IN JULY
  • SUMMER RETRO SIZZLER
  • SUMMER SIZZLER
  • ANTI-VALENTINE’S DAY
  • LOVE CLASSICS
  • VALENTINE’S DAY