For our communities, Christmas is about much more than churchgoing or sweater discounts at your local mall. The holiday represents an opportunity to take refuge from the woes of daily life by feasting and reconnecting with friends and family through the spirit of pachanga. Sure, the arguments over the holiday’s consumerist and colonial overtones are valid. But whether you’re stuffing yourself with tamales, lechón and natilla, or getting lit with cola de mono, coquito or some straight aguardiente shots, Latinos across the continent slay Christmas every year. And not to toot our own corneta navideña, but the music is absolute fire too. Christmas playlist mainstays include Los Hermanos Rosario’s rug-cutting anthem “En Estas Navidades,” the guilty sing-along pleasures of José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad,” and more than a few Mariah Carey whistle tone bangers.
To help fire up your holiday nostalgia, we’ve assembled a list of corny Christmas jams, even if it does take a few drinks before anyone is willing to admit that they love these classics. Put on your finest ugly sweater and plan your posada hopping.
Stream the playlist via Apple Music below, and scroll down for some of our favorites.
El General – "Jingle Belele"
Kick off your mericrismas with this classic by the Panamanian godfather of reggae en español. “Jingle Belele” is a cut off El General’s classic Clubb 555 record and a surefire way to get even your abuelita booty bumping at the function.
Juanito Farias – "Caballo de Palo"
At the end of the night, when things are winding down and all your tíos are feeling tipsy, play Juanito Farias’ “Caballo de Palo.” This children’s talent show classic will kick el amargue into high gear, triggering more than a few teary-eyed hugs in the room.
Los Bukis – "Navidad Sin Ti"
Oh, you want to talk about amargue? Los Bukis’ “Navidad Sin Ti” is the quintessential lonely holiday anthem – perfect for those missing family or feeling the heartbreak blues.
Juanes – "Mi Burrito Sabanero"
“Mi Burrito Sabanero” was originally written by Hugo Blanco in the 1970s, but at this point, we’ve lost count of how many versions there are. Back in 2008, Juanes brought his sly charm to Univision for a performance of this Christmas classic. Backed by his band and a children’s chorus, Juanes gives “Burrito Sabanero” a feel-good Caribbean treatment. Break out the aguardiente.
Luis Miguel – "Santa Claus Llegó A La Ciudad"
This campy big-band take on “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” is off Luis Miguel’s 2006 aptly named holiday album Navidades. Come for the singalong and stay for the video, complete with lingerie-clad dancers and a massive horn section. If you look closely, you’ll notice the real stars of the video are Luismi’s fluorescent, pearly white teeth.
Pandora – "Los Peces en el Río"
Pandora’s spin on this classic villancico is dripping with so much delightfully melodramatic 80s cheese you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a break-up song on first listen. That said, kudos to Pandora on their unmatched sweater and scarf game. Shout out to the year 1986.
Johnny Ventura – "Salsa Pa Tu Lechón"
Every good merengue is built on expert double entendre, and few can top El Caballo Mayor’s mastery of the art form. As far as merengue típico goes, “Salsa Pa Tu Lechón” is the extra crispy centerpiece of the night.
Augie Rios – "Dónde Está Santa Claus"
A true throwback, this Augie Rios classic was recorded in 1958 and perfectly captures every child’s pre-Christmas morning gift jitters. We see you little prim@s!
Serenata Guayanesa – "Corre Caballito"
Serenata Guayanesa are a highly respected folk quartet from Venezuela, and this manger-themed villancico is beautiful and ceremonious. The accompanying videogame-meets-vaporwave video, however, is more unsettling than it is solemn.
Los Mier – "Santa Claus le Dió un Beso a Mamá"
Cumbia vibes, dope hairstyles and a creeping Santa – what else could you ask for this Christmas?